Serious About Search: How to Get Your Internal Teams to Prioritize Search Marketing

With search marketing on the enterprise level, the biggest challenge is surprisingly not the scale or complexity of your website. It’s getting different people and groups to understand that their work can impact SEO, and the company’s bottom line. As an organic search strategist for a number of large businesses, I often find myself working to help marketers and eCommerce professionals get “buy in” from their coworkers for ongoing optimization efforts.

With big companies, you can have dozens – in some cases hundreds – of people within your organization making changes on your website and other online properties every day. Publish a press release? Change a URL? Name a new product? Promote a special offer on Twitter? Redo your site’s navigation? Post a blog? Start a new TV and radio campaign? All of these things – big and small – can have a major impact on organic search performance.

So how do you transition your company from being reactive to proactive about search engine optimization? Here are a few strategies we’ve found helpful with our own clients:

1.       Customize SEO Education and Training Based on Department

The first step to getting everyone in your company more serious about search is to make sure each department has its own version of “SEO 101.” Employees need to know not just the fundamentals of how search engines work, but what specific tactics they can use within the scope of their jobs. At CRI we customize training for each department within an organization so people understand where they fit within the overall strategy.

When training is tailored to the audience’s interests and skill sets, it’s much easier to keep employees engaged. As consultants, it’s our goal to help everyone we work with do their jobs better. Specialized training is far more effective and valuable than just covering the basics with some “one-size-fits-all” approach.

2.     Build Organizational Transparency Through Working on SEO

Too often, SEO-responsibilities get thrown on one person or department within an organization. For SEO strategies to be successful in enterprise organizations, several different areas of your company need to work together. Web development, PR, sales, branding, customer service, marketing, product and service management – with some clients we work with, many of these departments act almost as companies within the company.  Ensuring a website relaunch goes smoothly or outranking competitors on important keyphrases requires several of these “moving parts” working together effectively.

It’s not uncommon for us to hear from clients that they’ve gotten to work with many people within their own company that they otherwise would have never met before. When your company has a gargantuan org chart, transparency can be incredibly difficult to maintain within the organization. Ongoing SEO initiatives are an easy way to keep different departments aware of each other’s work.

3.       Celebrate Your Search Wins!

In the ever changing world of search marketing, it’s incredibly easy to forget to take notice of your successes. When you’re constantly thinking about the next thing that needs to be done, it’s tricky to keep track of what your previous hard work has accomplished.

Did your new product page get five times as many organic search entry visits than the previous month? Did your blog post from last month get linked to from a major news outlet? Are your search visitors converting better than last year because of a new check out experience? Ranking number one for your top non-branded keyphrase?

Take some time to congratulate each other! All of these things have a positive impact on the bottom line, and that news should be widely circulated and celebrated. No, you don’t have to roll out a ticker tape parade, but a nice email, lunch outing, or after work drink for a job well done keeps everyone happy working together.