This is part two in a two part series (Part 1 is here) written based on conversations with several of Conductor’s Senior Account Executives, highlighting what they have learned in talking with SEO professionals about their natural search challenges and helping them achieve success in natural search with Conductor’s SEO technology solutions.
These posts were written with the aid of Conductor’s account executives who, in working with SEO professionals over the years, have noticed that most have a wealth of SEO expertise yet don’t enjoy the same degree of natural search success. In our first post in the series we talked about how successful SEOs involve internal teams in SEO, track and measure multiple KPIs for reporting to management and report on SEO successes on a per project basis.
In this post we’ll examine two additional habits we’ve seen successful SEOs adopt around priming management to scale the firm’s commitment to SEO and playing to the company’s SEO maturity level:
- ‘Set Up’ Management to Scale:
Arguably, the most important indicator of SEO success that we have seen in talking with SEO professionals is their ability to manage the expectations of their management team to scale their organizations SEO efforts. We would have to believe that the SEO is upfront about what they will need to succeed during the interview process before signing on for the job. We are sure some of them were fortunate enough to walk into an organization that had the team and commitment in place to succeed in natural search. These SEO’s benefited from excellent timing. We are also sure that some of our contacts who have been successful would not have taken the job if the basics to get tasks completed were not in place.Yet, you’d be surprised at how many organizations see the “opportunity” in natural search, but just don’t have the team or resources in place to compete.Then there are the troopers who share their ‘war stories’ of how things have slowly progressed and in some cases, they have been very successful at accelerating this process once they are able to show some initial wins to upper management. This means many small case studies and searching for SEO wins so they can highlight the value of SEO.Lastly we talk with many SEO managers who feel they are frustrated since they took a job managing SEO but are either under-resourced or have no executive support. This means other departments do not listen to and work with the SEOs to accomplish the tasks necessary to improve the website’s natural search visibility. For SEO’s in this situation one of the keys to success (though difficult because of the lack of management support) is consistency in getting other teams excited about SEO. There are a number of ways to do this. For example, we’ve heard instances where an SEO manager will request time during a marketing meeting to publicize a rank increase and congratulate the Public Relations or Social Media team for their part in content generation or link acquisition in helping achieve this rank. Recognition is a powerful tool to use, regardless of management support for SEO. Recognizing the PR team in this instance can spark interest in that group to work with the SEO team more to duplicate the results – a result they weren’t even aware they were helping with.
- Identify Your SEO Maturity Level and Play to It:
We’ve previously identified the five stages of SEO maturity companies go through. (To learn more about the 5 stages and identify the stage your organization is currently in see Scaling Organic Search, the Business of SEO). We’ve seen many SEO professionals play above their level, try to take on too much at once and lose the ability to prioritize based on the current stage they are in.This is another way the SEO battle is won or lost outside the SERPs. Simply recognizing the maturity stage you are currently in is a huge step that many SEOs overlook – oftentimes to their detriment. For example, I’ve seen SEO managers who work for organizations that are not entirely bought into SEO and they take on a massive project that ends up taking a very long time, becomes expensive, and deflates the interest for everyone involved. While the initial goal was commendable, SEO became less of a priority as a result.However, we also see SEO managers with a realistic understanding of the SEO maturity level in their organization obtain approval to take on one specific section of the website. They target a product or category of products/services with the goal of achieving success within this one area. In doing so, they are able to develop a clear business case for larger SEO investment. These hyper-focused “trials” typically include an all out approach by asking for approval to have a minimal amount of time from the appropriate internal teams to get the off page and on page strategys in sync.
Adopt the Habits of Winning SEOs for Success in the New Year
Working with professional SEOs from many different industries over the years has given us an opportunity to recognize recurring themes that surface around those that achieve consistent and positive results. SEOs who are able to demonstrate ROI to management by closely tying web data to business metrics, bite off realistic goals by playing to their SEO maturity level and set up management to scale their SEO efforts will be best positioned to achieve natural search success in the new year.
What habits have you found to be the most effective in your natural search efforts? Let us know in the comments.