Do you want to create the right SEO resources for your business?
On December 16, I hosted a webinar in Search Engine Journal presented by Jimmy Page and Wes Flippo of Inseev Interactive.
They shared a framework for creating your ideal SEO resource stack and a complementary perspective on resource allocation when planning for 2021 begins.
Here is a summary of the presentation.
Successfully implementing SEO is a challenge for companies of all shapes and sizes.
Building the right resources from day one is the most important component of success.
For midsize businesses and corporations, you need to establish these three elements in order to be successful in search engine optimization.
- Allocate limited dollars to the most effective actions.
- Synchronize complex workflows across multiple skillsets.
- Iteration and innovation towards the goals of continuous growth.
The recipe for SEO success
SEO is a coordinated effort across departments, teams, and skills.
The biggest challenge is not knowing how to optimize a website, but having the right amounts of each of these facets working together at the right time.
These are the key areas that you need to cover in order to run SEO programs:
- Link development.
- Editorial motif.
- Graphics and rich media.
- UI / UX.
- Web development.
- Analytics and Technology.
Setting up dedicated SEO resources for each of these areas is critical.
Here is an ideal framework for a company's SEO ecosystem.
Strategists and channel owners need continuous access to the resources at this lowest level, otherwise processes will fail.
Let's dive into the scope of work in each area.
The leading SEO strategist serves as:
- The representative of the performance of the channel for the C-suite.
- The project planner and manager or "orchestrator" of all SEO executions.
- The technical expert.
The leading SEO strategist also does the following:
- Monthly deep dives and strategic direction to reconfigure the service mix every month.
- Quarterly business reports (i.e. executive presentations, summary of progress, and future actions).
- Annual planning. Repeat the cycle annually, starting with the annual review and strategy formulation project
Tools to use:
- Screaming frog
Link development is a huge part of SEO success as authority metrics are still the backbone of search engine algorithms.
When looking at this area, we need to remember that the Link Acquisition for a large brand looks different than the Link Acquisition for a medium-sized company.
The linking strategy is derived from the strategy team and communicated externally to outsourced partners or internal teams.
Tools to use:
- Linking research tools
The content will continue to be an invaluable part of the SEO mix.
The ideal is the formation of an editorial team of writers who approach topics from a journalistic perspective.
The content strategy is then derived from the strategist who understands the goals of the business.
Graphics & rich media
Google is increasingly rewarding creative media experiences because they generate strong engagement signals.
Because of this, your content needs to stand out in a world where pages are created in a variety of domains.
Promote close collaboration between the SEO strategy team, editorial motif, and graphics for maximum results.
Tools to use:
UI / UX
User interface / user experience (UI / UX) overlay all web marketing.
Google is increasingly understanding the quality of the user experience on web pages and rewards websites that meet the page experience metrics.
All page types can rank better with strong UI / UX.
Hence, the SEO team needs someone to map the traffic of certain UI / UX strategies versus other UI / UX requirements.
Tools to use:
- Crazy egg
- Google Optimize
The web development team is responsible for implementing changes based on the SEO strategist's roadmap designed by the UI / UX team's guidelines and approved by ecommerce or site experience managers.
Failure to consistently delete this chain of resources is one of the greatest barriers to success.
Analytics & Technology
By collecting historical and current performance data, the Analytics & Technology team supports the insight engine for the SEO strategy team.
In search engine optimization, you need to look at page level and type, as well as brand and non-brand, to understand performance.
The more you can marry these things together with keyword rankings, the more powerful your strategy will become.
The advancement of SEO technology enables A / B tests, crawlability and automation.
Some of the tools to use include:
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Google Tag Manager
- Google Data Studio
SEO has to change over time
As your company's goals change and your SEO program matures, so do the resources you need.
Here's a hypothetical breakdown of how a company's SEO needs can change over a two-year period.
At the beginning, the SEO strategist has to do a lot of research and planning.
Most optimizations start with working on the page – setting up the site architecture the way it needs to be.
As the site grows and more people work on it, the requirements move more to the execution level.
When you leave the initial setup stages, you will need the budget and resources for various activities.
The range of ways to achieve this
There are several different ways to run an SEO program and you need to decide how to go about it.
- Should we hire more in-house staff?
- Maybe we need to add agency partners?
- Would it be best to provide our current team with software?
Here are a few ways to do this:
Dedicated in-house SEO team
- No outsourcing.
- All six components come from in-house teams that focus exclusively on SEO.
Partly dedicated internal SEO team
- No outsourcing.
- The SEO team "borrows" resources from other teams to complete the project.
Hybrid in-house / outsourcing team
- The SEO strategy and several other components (i.e. editorial content) can be managed in-house.
- Some components are managed by an agency or by outsourced persons.
Single Dedicated In-House SEO
- An internal SEO strategist.
- Most of the components are handled by an agency or by outsourced people.
No internal resources
- Fully outsourced.
- The SEO strategy lives 100% with an agency or a consultant, and a fraction of the internal marketing staff manages the relationship.
Annual amount of SEO investment
The biggest factor influencing the structure of your SEO team is how much budget you have allocated to your program annually.
When you have less than $ 150,000 a year to spend on organic search, minimizing overhead is critical.
It is rarely advisable to spend 50% or more of your budget on a full-time SEO strategist. It is wise to fractionate instead.
As much as possible, resources should be focused on creating site assets and allowing them to influence rankings.
With this budget, outsourced options are key.
$ 150,000- $ 500,000
This budget tier combines solutions with a strong internal SEO strategist (or two). The management of specialized agency services looks really attractive
Resource allocation needs to be carefully considered to determine if a dedicated team is feasible.
Flexibility is critical at this level too, so dedicated resources can limit agility.
$ 500,000 +
If you have more than $ 500,000 a year to spend on organic search, you are most likely familiar with investing in SEO.
You should study the efficiency of the in-house delivery of outsourced work.
However, you will likely still need some outsourcing to manage bandwidth spikes.
At this point, you have numerous options available to you.
Know what your company actually needs
Every situation is unique – what works for one company doesn't work for another.
Consulting an expert can help you choose the right areas to work with a partner, keep them internal, or focus the budget elsewhere.
questions and answers
Here are just a few of the participant questions that Jimmy Page and Wes Flippo answered.
Question (Q): My small company is competing with large companies for business. How can we compete when we have a very small SEO budget compared to their budget?
Answer (A): There's no denying that big companies will have an edge in the SEO game.
Thanks to their long-standing Internet presence, these companies have been able to develop signals of trust for years. Because of the numerous activities surrounding a larger brand's website, they are able to continue to gain more authority and trust.
As a small business, your best bet is to focus on what you can and try to create page-level assets that your competitors can outperform.
Whether it's a blog post or a service page, your content and approach needs to be more detailed and comprehensive than the sites currently ranked.
It is wise to think of content and authority as inversely related (in some ways). Higher authority websites can rate content based on the trust they have placed in the search engine. However, this content may not be the best available on the subject.
As a small brand, you lack authority, but you can make up for it by creating rich and engaging content that outperforms your competitors'.
Google is also increasingly rewarding websites that focus heavily on a single topic.
Make sure that the focus of your content is directly related to your product / offering or you run the risk of spreading your relevance too far.
If you keep relevance tight, you can drive rankings for smaller websites without authority.
Q: What are the optimal SEO investments based on a company's sales size or total workforce?
A: The correct answer here is "it depends". In general, trying to generalize SEO investments based on sales or total staff can be a dangerous train of thought.
There are billion dollar companies out there that should be spending $ 0 on SEO.
For example, if you only have 3,000 target customers because you are selling HR management solutions for companies, an organic presence is likely not required as your sales team already has a list of all the HR directors in those companies.
Conversely, there are online businesses that are run by a single person and have annual sales of $ 500,000 to $ 2,000,000 where a large portion of their profits should be reinvested in organic search, as this is over 80% of theirs Total sales.
Ultimately, the question shouldn't be total sales size or total staff. Your investment should be based on the overall opportunity.
When searches are made related to your products or services, you can determine the value of the traffic by referencing ad CPCs and using opportunity modeling to estimate the total potential revenue from those clicks.
In some industries it is easy to spot the opportunity, in others it is not that easy.
Do some research to understand the potential ROI of an investment, then answer the question, "How Much Should I Spend on SEO?"
Q: I work in the medical industry. What would you recommend for the best link building strategy for this industry?
A: The linking strategy depends heavily on the size of the company.
A larger brand is generally more flexible as their website is more active and webmasters are more receptive to inquiries.
For a large brand, I would recommend tactics like building broken links and unlinked brand names, both of which offer continuous opportunities due to the size of the company.
If you're a smaller brand, tactics like HARO and guest posting can prove effective.
However, be careful when posting guests as this can be considered a spam tactic if done incorrectly.
It is important to identify highly relevant websites in your industry and try to build relationships with them.
There are many opportunities for a partnership in the medical industry.
For example, medical device manufacturers sold through doctors can use this network of practitioners to get backlinks on each practice's website.
In any links campaign, it is best to exhaust any personal / business relationships that partners might connect first, and then contact cold prospects.
(Slides) Optimize Your SEO Resource Stack: Get What You Need And Remove What You Don't
Check out the SlideShare below.
All screenshots by the author, December 2020