Businesses small and large are now understanding in today's tech world you need an SEO guy. That could be an employee your hired to do SEO or a freelancer that you contract out for periods of times. SEO is important to business now because online sales is a large part of how companies make money. If you don't have an online presence the odds are your business is failing or you are missing out on potential clients and profits.
SEO is a process that business owners can not keep up with because there are frequent algorithm updates by Google. Also, you are trying to figure out why they penalized you or you are trying correct your bad reputation online. This might seem tedious and stupid but if you don't follows Google's rules online or you don't pay attention to reviews there are going to be consequences for your website on the search engines.
Its difficult being in SEO because you don't own any one digital assets but everything on the search engines effects your website. Its a tough situation because when something changes, even if you have nothing to do with it, you are on the hook to your boss or client.
The truth is NOT a lot of businesses have an SEO person or department. So the question is how do you work with other teams in your department or your business to adopt SEO if they are not already doing it?
First, a few generalities that apply to anyone you’re working with:
- Speak their language. Throwing out acronyms and industry jargon is going to leave your listeners confused.
- Compromise. Don’t come in guns blazing demanding it’s your way or no way. Being a good business partner requires a bit of give and take so people actually want to work with you again.
- Talk on their terms. The easiest way to get what you want is to show how it’s actually going to benefit the other person. Focus on how whatever change will impact their KPIs, not just organic traffic.
Now that we’ve got the basics covered, how can SEO's work with specific departments so everyone gets what they want?
SEO is a CEO's decision
Company's adopt SEO ultimately because it comes from the top down, just like any other company. If the business owner or CEO understands the value of SEO, they will make it a core part of their business and implement change quickly.
To show your boss or a client the value of SEO dont do it by drowning them in data. In the SEO world we have a lot of metrics we can use but the most important thing CEO's want to see is traffic and revenue. Focus on overall business impact, not how what your proposing affects organic traffic and revenue.
If traffic and revenue does not catch their interest then you can show them how their competitors are gaining more online marketing share. This really bothers them because no CEO wants their business in second place.
Working With the Website design team
Website designers don't like SEO people because we always tell them what they can and can not do. This is important so your website does not get penalized and ranked down but web design guys hate it because it could hinder the website from being appealing and user friendly. Your site should first and foremost fit the needs of the user but they are forgetting that search engines use the site more then people on some occasions.
When you speak to a website design team watch what you say because it could upset them. Avoid using things like "SEO friendly Website" or "building for bots" because you're only perpetuating the stereotype that SEO does not care about the user's.
Most of the conflicts between SEO and website designing comes from the content. The website designers know that people don't want to read a lot of text but for SEO purposes we know that Google loves live content. This might change in the future because Google is starting to understand that people like pictures and videos more then content but for now content is king.
The most common compromise is that the website design team gives you a content block on the bottom of the website that no one can see. The content block on the bottom of the website is a great idea but it is definitely not the way to rank competitively. There are other companies that have great design and SEO without the content block:
- Otterbox ranks for “iPhone cases”
- Target ranks for “bathing suits”
- Best Buy ranks for “digital cameras”
You will see from the examples above that they are using well-designed and engaging content such as web fonts, expandable divs, mouse overs on the images to show content, and small amounts of content throughout the page. There is no perfect solution because what works for 1 website might now work for another. That is why it is good to test out a couple different ideas to see how the search engines react which web designers and developers love to do.
Your best option is to present a couple of design options to see which ones the web designers would like. After they implement the changes you asked for, see how it improves your positioning on the search engines and also if it increased your overall engagement on the site.
Some SEO company's and people like to write their own content but there are other cases where a company has copywriters that you need to work with. SEO relays heavily on content as of now but you should also know that content does not necessarily mean blog posts, marketing copy. Title tags and meta descriptions are 2 things that SEO owns are they are also very important content pieces.
Copywriters own today's digital landscape as most everything that exists online includes some form of written content. It is the main driver for search engines finding relevant webpages and is the main way users interact with brands whether it be emails, social posts, articles or reviews.
Copywriters are always looking to write about something new and current and they relay on SEO people because we now how to catch peoples attention with new and current information that is trending. We also provide new organic entry points across your website.
Development and IT teams
There are many turning wheels that make SEO successful and the development and IT team is one of those wheels. When you look at the source of the website or coding there are many small things you have to look for that the search engines use to crawl your website. For most people this is difficult to do because you need to be familiar with HTML, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), java, and other CMR (Content Management System) tools.
This is the team where speaking their language is important. If you are working with programmers, specialized and highly technical people you can get lost in their conversation. That is why its important to do some research on website development lingo. To get you started, WSOL Blog has a great article called PIM, ERP, CMS, AMS, MAP, CRM... What does it All Mean that you should look over before meeting with the development and IT teams.
The SEO and the digital landscape changes every day. There wont be a day that we don't need SEO people or the other teams I talked about previously. We relay on each other to show website traffic and profits and that is why its important to work as a team with 1 goal in mind. At Orange SEO we work with small and large companies every day that have many different and unique teams depending on their industry. If SEO is something that your business is struggling with let us help you so you can make a big impact online.