How does SEO interact with other departments and especially with Marketing?
5 steps to integrate (SEO) data into your content marketing workflow
“Specifically within the marketing department, SEO needs to be integrated in the entire content marketing workflow, from discovery and creation to monitoring.
- Content Discovery: To find out which topics matter to your customers, perform keyword research with your SEO team on a regular basis.
- Content Scheduling: Leverage SEO expertise to control the release of content and create an editorial calendar. Especially for eCommerce companies, covering topics based on seasonal search volume can account for quick wins regarding traffic and conversions.
- Content Execution: Tackle the creation of the content with SEO best practices in mind.
- Content Promotion: Fuel the promotion of your content, leveraging SEO and multi-channel awareness campaigns
- Result Monitoring: This involves measuring results and the effectiveness of your optimization efforts with SEO tools and incorporating your findings into your content strategy, beginning with topic (or keyword) research.”
“SEO can often be part of the marketing organization. However, the core importance of SEO and Marketing is to focus on performance. SEO must work with many departments including product, analytics and marketing. These departments ensure that SEO standards are implemented and measured.”
Which issues are frequently addressed by stakeholders along different levels of hierarchy?
Colin Guidi: “Brand voice is commonly addressed by various stakeholder groups within larger organizations. Brands with various LOBs (lines of business) can have stakeholders who want content to sound a certain way. This is more true of B2B SaaS companies, who typically want to brand products with a certain name and only speak with on-page copy that reaffirms the branded naming convention of the product.
The issue is that online users who are in their discovery phase don’t yet know that this [non branded] product has a brand name associated with it. The search volume, which translates to the interest of the user for the brand product. just isn’t yet there.”
Björn Beth: What I learnt during my career is that issues mostly will be addressed when it is already too late. Releases just happen without informing all important stakeholders (SEO is just one of them) and this causes stuff to break. Be it that analytics tracking isn’t working anymore or important site elements are missing afterwards. I have experienced entire domains being completely “noindexed”, Robots.txt files were replaced with old (archived) versions or site maps weren’t stored correctly anymore. SEO in most companies is just fixing, no pro-active solution-oriented thinking is possible. Every SEO should try to change this within their organization, immediately! (Spoiler: The next section might give some ideas on how.) In general you can say:
- Managers: Addressing issues when they got pressure from their direct report, or KPIs they are looking at are heavily impacted.
- C-Level: Addressing Issues when KPIs are heavily impacted, or an issue got escalated to them.
- Directors: Addressing issues when roadmaps are blocked, or KPIs are heavily impacted.
- Product Owner: Addressing issues when roadmaps are blocked or something is broken.
Jordan Koene: “Different levels will address or own different responsibilities around the topic of SEO. Starting with entry level SEO stakeholders, you will see many tactical efforts like keyword analysis or ranking reports. As you move higher in the organization, you will see a focus on business performance metrics. Executives in a company want to understand how SEO creates value or revenue.”
What is your advice for other online marketers in terms of addressing SEO topics?
- During my time as a Head of SEO for Switzerland’s biggest Marketplace, “Ricardo Group“, I had weekly meetings with our product owners. During these one-on-ones, we discussed the product roadmap and I was able to give my advice (from an SEO point of view) on upcoming releases regarding the compatibility with SEO. At the same time, we also discussed SEO topics and what we were planning. These meetings were highly valuable for both parties, because SEO was in the loop regarding product updates and innovations, and the Product Team was not only receiving SEO consultancy, but were also well informed about our plans. The nice outcome is that even the Product Team can help you to reach your goals. A homepage, category or product listing page is always owned by a Product Owner. Your requests usually focus on exactly these pages. You’d better be friends with those guys.
- If your Marketing Department has an annual marketing plan, get into it and plan your SEO efforts alongside this plan. At Ricardo, our Marketing Team were building a campaign around the yearly open-air festival season, with the aim of driving traffic and sales to suitable categories, such as tickets, camping and fashion. We as as the SEO Team were supporting Marketing and building a festival planner, (a microsite with a database in the background where the user could filter by different music genres, prices or destinations to find open-air festivals fitting to their filtering in the German-speaking part of Europe). With this, we were boosting ticket sales for those festivals. We also used it to promote (internally linked with nice graphics and content around it) different categories on our platform, like wellington boots, tents, sunglasses, everything you need for a nice festival weekend. Guess what. Marketing was even happy to give us budget for it.
- Take part in your IT-grooming sessions. An IT Team which is working with Scrum methodology is sitting together regularly and estimating the effort for tickets for the upcoming sprint. Take part in these meetings to understand what is planned. If anything is planned which is controversial to your SEO Strategy, you have the chance to address it here. If anything is planned which is supporting your efforts, you can give advice and therefore add stuff or improve tickets etc.
- Regularly go to lunch with your most important stakeholders in the company and always be nice and respectful to everybody. This helps a lot too