We often hear how you can’t put baby Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in the corner. How, if you want to reach your ranking and conversion goals, SEO must permeate through all departments so that everyone is working together toward the same end. It’s not enough to just let marketing or content or, even worse, IT handle your search engine optimization in a vacuum. You want everyone onboard the SEO train, so that they’re working together and the organization benefits from the synergy that occurs.
While at PubCon last week, I found myself frequently being asked if I consider myself a “real SEO”. No, I don’t. Outspoken Media has Rhea, Rae, Dawn, and a growing number of OSM employees for that. But just because SEO isn’t my day job, doesn’t mean SEO isn’t part of my job. And that’s something I think many organizations could use a refresher on.
If you’re marketing your business online, you need to aware of SEO. Regardless of what your business card says. Here are a few flavors of SEO that must exist in any company. Feel free to add any I may have missed. After all, I’m not a “real SEO”. ;)
The Content SEO
If you’re handling content, you need to know SEO. As a content person, you’re going to be responsible for creating written material to use for:
- Your Web site
- Blog posts and link bait pieces
- Press release
- Job postings
- Company profiles like the ones you’d find in the SEOmoz marketplace, Crunchbase or LinkedIn
- Video or podcast scripts
- Everything else the company does!
And all of that content needs to be optimized to help attract the right visitors and put them on a specific conversion path. If you’re creating content with no thought to SEO or how it’s going to fit in with the rest of your site to achieve your goals, then you’re wasting your time. You may as well not even have the Web site. Just go back to handing out flyers on the street. Maybe get a megaphone.
The Developer SEO
Your developer is responsible for the most fundamental parts of your Web site, and therefore, of your SEO efforts, as well. He or she will be setting the stage for:
- The Site URL structure
- Server setup
- How quickly the page loads
- How the site links internally and externally
- How content is displayed (iframes or Flash, Oh no!)
- How the search engines crawl and index your site
The Developer SEO must make sure that the Web site is running as efficient and SEO-friendly as possible. They’re in charge of creating the flow of your Web site. If they create it without keeping users and SEO in mind, well, enjoy the process of undoing everything they spent months doing. There’s nothing as fun as cleaning up a mess that’s not really yours and that could have been avoided. If you’re building a site from scratch, make sure it’s done with SEO in mind from the very beginning.
The Designer SEO
Depending on the size of your organization, the Developer SEO and the Designer SEO may, in fact, be the same person. But just because he or she is sharing one desk, doesn’t mean they don’t need two sets of skills. Your Designer SEO will be responsible for:
- Positioning content and navigation within the code
- Styling real text over an image or background color without relying on uncrawlable text in an image
- Balancing content and a clean design
- Optimizing how quickly the design/images load
- Properly naming images and optimize alts, etc.
Gone are the days where your designer’s job was simply to “make things look good”, now he or she needs to make them work. They need to ensure that everything they’re doing is aiding the flow of the Web site and that they’re doing work that will be accessible to not only users, but also to the engines who are coming to sniff out the content from the design.
The Link Builder SEO
If you’ve ever worked with a link builder, you know that there’s a special kind of magic that separates bad link builders from those that are truly skilled. Some of that depends on charm and the ability to know how to woo someone, but it also comes from their knowledge of SEO. But not all links are created equal. The Link Builder SEO must understand:
- The types of links that exist on the Web
- How to create a strong link profile
- How to link out and solicit links
- How to create relationships with media outlets and other linkerati
- How to properly make a pitch
The same way content should never be created without understanding how it relates to the site’s SEO efforts, your link building must be as strategic. Because it’s not just the quantity of links that matters, it’s the quality and where you’re getting them from. The Link Builder SEO is responsible for creating the right kinds of links, the ones that will have the biggest benefit to the site’s SEO efforts.
The Social Media/ Community Manager SEO
Your social media/community person also needs to be involved in the SEO process. It’s not all about Twitter and blogs and creating Facebook updates. They’re going to be involved in:
- Creating relationships to drive traffic and boost social signals
- Writing posts and updates intended to engage and spur social activity
- Using analytics to find new content ideas
- Encouraging product and business reviews
- Responding to positive and negative reviews
- Getting links
Whether they realize it or not, everything they touch will have an indirect (and sometimes direct) effect on the site’s search engine optimization efforts. And if you’re sending them into the waters unsure of how their job plays into the greater SEO picture, you’re doing everyone a disservice.
Traditional Marketing SEO
It may seem like an oxymoron (or just a plain moron), but your team also needs a Traditional Marketing SEO, someone who find ways to integrate what the company is doing offline, online and vice versa.
- Sync offline and online efforts
- Use keywords in print marketing to encourage desired searches
- Understand online buying cycles
- Be fluent in the company’s social media activities.
Just because someone’s job is to promote the company via print, radio, billboard, etc, doesn’t mean they don’t need to be fluent in SEO and understand how their job impacts the larger whole. Because it does. There’s nothing more frustrating to a customer than trying to redeem an online offer in store and have the manager not know what they’re talking about. Way to wear your company’s disconnect on your sleeve.
Those are some of the major flavors of SEO I see. Which ones have I missed? What flavors of SEO exist in your organization? Which ones are you missing?
About the Author
Lisa Barone co-founded Outspoken Media in 2009 and served as Chief Branding Officer until April 2012.