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.

Set expectations

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.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Search Marketing | In House Search Marketing


About The Author: is an in-house SEM with Microsoft, is a former Board of Directors member with SEMPO, can be found at his blog where he speaks about online marketing and monetizing websites and is the author of two books: How To Make Money With Your Blog & Turn Clicks Into Customers.

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  • miggy2007

    Ok, This all sounds good and all, yet while I have the interest and have been producing bare pages like a onepage ad for nothing, i would like to learn more. Not that I will ever expect to advance to the 6 figures, ok?

    Where might I find a list of What to do, in a list form. eg: 1. Create the site with the end in mind. 2. Know what your SEO options are required 3. make the site 4. Hang papers 5. track hits and page rank 6. keep it fresh and relivent 7. take this course that says yuo ar a Certified SEO level dweeb -1. 8. after 1 year take this course along with the websites you do for free and now you have achieved Cert for level dweeb +1
    (yada, yada, yada) I see that this is so fresh and cutting edge… yet by subscribing to your site and others like your i hope to keep up with the curve… and still learn this without attending the “old out of touch with SEO Reality” crap.

    So, How do I get to be SEO that can get paid for doing what I Would do for free(cause well its so fun)


  • nickstamoulis

    This is excellent advice! Having worked in house for years you nailed many key discussion points! I think “picking your battles” recommendation is so true, I always advise clients that have to work this way, take it 1 day at time and do the best you can!


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