You know, SEO is the most unique marketing channel of all the marketing channels.
It’s such a unique marketing channel that there are times when it doesn’t function as a marketing channel at all.
I’ve talked about this before – there are times when SEO is more of a development channel.
This is how unique the channel is.
SEO can sit within the Dev department.
SEO can sit within the Customer Service department.
SEO can sit within its own department with the understanding that it’s its own product, with SEOs being Product Managers.
This is one of the many beauties of the SEO channel. It has many tentacles that spreads across marketing and non-marketing departments, alike.
You need a lot of things for your SEO to be a success.
You need your website to be analysed. Both on and off page, as well as technical, you need to analyse your site to base its current state so you can improve upon it.
With this base outlined, you then need to have both a strategy and tactics of how your site will be improved – how it’ll be optimised.
Now, both the strategy and tactics, should have your targeted website users in mind.
This will be the audience you want to acquire via organic. And you absolutely need them in mind.
Because this would be the focus of everything you do – SEO-wise. Your SEO will be for them, and not search engines.
Because optimisation, as I like to say, is for users and not search engines.
With your strategy and tactics outlined, the final component of what you need is to have the SEO recommendations implemented.
This is where a lot of businesses fail with their SEO.
They fail with their SEO simply because they fail to commit to having recommendations implemented.
It doesn’t matter how pristine your SEO strategy. It doesn’t matter how slick your tactics are, if you don’t implement on the recs, you will not succeed with your SEO.
It’s at this (implementation) stage that SEO really need to transition to become more of a Product that’s managed by the SEOs.
The ability to get things done should not be undervalued.
The ability to influence people to get things done should not be undervalued.
The ability to influence people who don’t know and/or care about SEO to get things done should not be undervalued.
If you have in-house SEOs and you don’t see them interacting with several departments, something may be wrong.
At some point in your SEO journey, you’ll realise that SEO has to work outside of the SEO department.
Now, when I say ‘work’, I’m not suggesting you avoid having an SEO department, or a team – no, no. You’ll need this. The bigger your business grows, the bigger an SEO department you’ll need.
What I’m suggesting is that SEO cannot and should not operate in a silo.
It takes more than SEOs to make SEO a success.
SEO will need to work with several departments – marketing and non-marketing alike, to drive change, to drive implementation, to drive the channel to success.
This is an essential part of SEO. A requirement.
Without SEOs championing SEO as a product, you won’t have that forward momentum needed to realise change.
And, when you think about it, change is the constant to improvement, improvement being optimisation.
You could have the best strategists from an agency working on your SEO, if there isn’t a point person in-house, and ideally a point person that’s an SEO, you’ll have a hard time realising success with the channel.
A large portion of time, I would say about half, is spent trying to get people to give a damn about SEO – non-marketers and marketers, alike.
Let’s not forget, SEO is still a new channel as far as marketing is concerned.
There are marketers who only have a vague idea of what the channel is, and what the channel does.
Trying to get them to give a damn about the channel, when they have their daily workload to attend to, is a hell of a challenge.
It’s a challenge that requires a lot of energy.
In some cases, it might actually be a full time job. Yes!
This is not an exaggeration. I know of three companies, just off the top of my head, that have an SEO whose sole function is that of a Project/Operations Manager.
That’s what’s necessary for SEO to be a success – someone who champions SEO as a product.
Let me give you an example. Let’s take backlinks as an example.
You wanna earn more backlinks. Your SEO comes up with a recommendation, a recommendation that requires the involvement of your PR department.
The recommendation is pretty simple. SEO would like the PR department to use a variety of brand-generic terms as the anchor text with their press releases.
Instead of linking to the homepage, SEO would like a link to a category page – with the provided anchor texts – a variety of them – for PR to choose from.
This request requires weeks’ worth of time to get PR onboard with this recommendation.
Weeks. It takes weeks to have PR accept this request. Weeks. If not months.
Do you know how much influencing SEO has to do? Just to get operations implemented!
It takes a very long time. And this time isn’t spent implementing recs, it’s spent trying to convince people to implement recs.
SEO has to spend a long time getting people to give a damn about SEO when they’ve never had to give a damn about SEO to do their job.
You see, the difference is SEO doesn’t affect their job. Their job affects SEO.
And because they regard SEO issues as SEO issues, their default thinking is to consider any SEO issue as a problem for SEOs to resolve.
The only problem is SEO needs them to address the problem. You see the dilemma?
Your SEO will have this type of issue with damn-near every department in your business – marketing and non-marketing, alike.
To win at SEO, you need to have SEO recommendations implemented.
To have SEO recommendations implemented, you need to have SEO evangelised, and evangelised across your entire business.
PR needs to know about SEO, Social needs to know about SEO. Customer Service needs to know about SEO.
To win at SEO, you need to consider the channel to be more than a marketing one. You need to consider the channel to be a product in itself.