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The Ebb and Flow of SEO
Like some many things around us, SEO follows a certain organic (if you’ll pardon the pun) ebb and flow. Support for SEO programs hinges on often fickle politics, in some cases, and in all cases, it happens at the pace resources allow. In today’s globally depressed economy, how do you manage your program to ensure it’s seen as viable and mindful of the times?
Pick your battles
Everyone is concerned about ROI these days. Everyone wants more done with fewer resources. While this might sound like a familiar refrain, it’s worth taking the time to really think about what this means. When you’re ready, get past the “Am I going to be working 20 hour days now?” point of view. No company expects one employee to carry them through lean times.
What it really means is this it the time for you to get extremely accurate about what your program can deliver, when it can deliver it, when the results will appear and based on your own resources, the scope of the effort.
If you know a particular group in your organization is bullish on SEO, make sure you align with them. You need to ensure the battles you pick see you partnering up with other groups that have resources which can lead to success for you both. While many other groups might be looking for your attention, stick close to those who are actually capable of getting work done. Your main goal is to guide the work so the company benefits. For your program to survive the lean times, you need to ensure your internal partnerships see work getting done and results adding up.
Right size to fit resource levels
With reduced resources, follows the ability to get work done declining. This can spell trouble for big SEO projects that require a lot of resources to implement suggested enhancements, revisions and changes. Now is the perfect time to review these projects. Is the projected return going to be worth setting the reduced resources at 100%? If you have 25% fewer resources, your capacity is summarily reduced, so any project in the hopper has the effect of increasing the actual workload. Fewer hands make heavier work, to paraphrase.
While it might be true that results will take longer to accrue, you might be a hero if you shelf a project or two to help the company fit it’s resources to the workload. While doing so, it’s critical you send the correct messages. SEO is not going away. SEO is still valuable and worth investing in. These projects are being shelved for 3 – 6 months, not being scrapped completely. Most importantly, it’s critical you reset expectations at this point.
Fewer resources means less work through-put. Thus, you’ve opted to shelve a particular project (say, setting up crawler friendly URLs) for 6 months. It’s important, very important, to communicate out that with this action, any expected lift in organic traffic will be delayed. Revise your forecasts if you need to, and resend them. This type of information is exactly what executives need to make decisions around where resources should be applied. This also has the effect of notifying everyone that the goals you’d stated for the year are in jeopardy of not being met. Anyone else who may be affected by you not meeting your goals is now on notice. And this is a powerful way to draw in support for your project.
Get guerrilla and back to basics
While all of this repositioning is going on, you still need to get work done. Though everyone around you might be crying about reduced resources, you need to gauge the current appetite for SEO. Is it still popular? Do people still think it’s valuable, even though they have no resources?
As long as people want to do the work, there is a way to move things forward.
Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get dirty. Be ready to set up meetings where you sit down and do manual reviews with people in real time to walk and talk through every single item you can get worked on. This is an opportunity to get folks focused on SEO work under-the-radar. Sure, there are no resources around to do the work. There’s also a world of difference between NOT getting any work done, and getting bits and pieces done here and there. By getting folks excited about seo and seeing that even small things matter, you’ll find support in unlikely spots. Just keep telling yourself – the goal is to fill in all the blanks, the order in which they get filled in is less important sometimes.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.