I started building websites back in the ‘90s, with really cheesy, tacky buttons, too much bezel and emboss, and animated scrolling marquees. But once my web design clients began asking me about site traffic and natural search, I had to evolve from being web designer to becoming a search marketer.
That was over a decade ago. And now I’ve evolved from being a one-person SEO company to being the CEO of the year-old Wiideman Consulting Group. I’ve witnessed the evolution of the marketing industry from the beginning — and it takes a real search geek, one who has written 10,000 titles and meta descriptions, to get excited about ways to creatively optimize content in a changing landscape. But I’ve learned a couple things along the way that have remained true.
1. Actively coordinate and educate your team.
Forget about hiding behind your computer all day. Today’s SEO role is more of a project coordinator than a full time practitioner – like an orchestrator or “the glue that holds all members supporting SEO together.” Members being web developers, designers, content writers, outreach specialists and web data analysts.
2. Bring organic and paid strategies together.
Paid search has a lot to offer organic, and organic search has much to offer paid. Don’t neglect the way these two strategies can come together and boost conversions.
For example, paid search queries allow you to augment your ongoing SEO strategy (at the page level), as well as help you target new organic search keywords to each individual page. One way we accomplish this at my company, Wiideman Consulting Group:
- We pull query data from AdWords and Google Search Console. With a little matching and a highlighter, we can draw some extremely useful inferences about which queries are producing results, and which ones are wasted impressions.
- Ad copy wins make for great testing on organic titles and meta descriptions. Want more clicks in organic results? Copy over ad text from a text ad with an already high click-through rate.
- Location conversion data can also be a fun way to introduce geographical keywords to organic content and boost rank in areas with the highest volume of conversions.
- Callout extensions? Talk about easy on-page headline ideas!
3. Make sure to follow a meticulous, comprehensive checklist when you migrate or redesign your site.
A site migration or upgrade is a perfect example of why SEO Roadmaps are becoming more and more useful. At Wiideman, we maintain both a list of tasks we call our “SEO Requirements List” along with a “Site Upgrade Checklist” featuring pre-launch, launch, and post-launch tasks.
- Forgetting to unblock the website from crawling when moving from development to the production server.
- Neglecting to redirect content to its respective new URLs.
- Neglecting to migrate titles and meta data.
4. Run far, far away from anything that promises search marketing “shortcuts” or “hacks.”
You’ve probably heard this before… but it bears repeating. The days of SEO hacks and shortcuts are over. Make sure all your tactics follow Google’s quality guidelines or you’ll end up hurting your business more than helping it.
Spam is getting easier to detect, technical requirements for UX and SEO are getting baked into hosted and non-hosted website management systems, and, most importantly, marketers are learning to write content for humans.
If you aren’t already reporting to a public relations team, get ready. Marketing is being placed into the hands of experienced PR teams, and that’s because businesses have to earn authority rather than buy it.
5. Execute SEO like a boss.
The best advice I can give is actually a quote from Jim Rohn: “To be successful you don’t need to do extraordinary things, you just need to do ordinary things extraordinarily well.”
Follow the rules. Do your diligence with each “expert” you decide to follow or subscribe to. Use a service like Feedly to get your daily dose of awesome from the authors and thought leaders you want to learn from. Create Twitter lists by each digital marketing discipline (SEO, PPC, Social, Email, Affiliate, etc); possibly even Google+ Circles, while they last.
The best kept secret of all the successful clients I’ve worked with is: hiring consultants to build a comprehensive plan, leaning on multiple experts for second and third opinions, and finding “A Players” who can hustle and are passionate about digital marketing, even after they clock out.
The best kept secret of all the successful clients I’ve worked with is: hiring consultants to build a comprehensive plan, leaning on multiple experts for second and third opinions, and finding “A Players.”
The success of your strategy is 90% in the execution.