Create Your SEO Cheerleaders

Many SEO professionals have felt as if no one understands them within the organization. You probably bring more than a half of website traffic, it feels like you need to fight for every small thing. Although, SEO should be an integral part of many corporate structures, including marketing, web design, IT, and content creation, unless you are fortunate enough to work at a big corporation with a team of in-house SEO’s, you don’t quite fit in anywhere. We need to change that in order to reap the real benefits of SEO. The best way to be accepted and scale is for SEO to be integrated into the process of web site design, content creation, marketing planning, etc., but perhaps we first need some SEO cheerleaders in other departments, who can help us getthere.

Who are the SEO cheerleaders?

SEO cheerleaders are people, who understand the value of SEO initiatives; especially those which are related toor can advance their own efforts, and become SEO ambassadors within their team. For example, when a certain topic comes up in their meetings, which could have some impact on SEO or could get some insights from SEO, these cheerleaders would remind the restabout SEO best practices, suggest them to contact the SEO team to get the clarificationsor of data that can enhance the activity.

Your potential cheerleader candidates can be found in variety of departments including:

  • Content editors and publishing team
  • eMarketing team
  • Social media team
  • IT team
  • Web design and operation team
  • Product team
  • Sales team
  • Senior Executives

By having them in different departments and teams, you’d be better connected and informed about overall online and even some offline activities. It’s like having additional SEO team members. Think of the reasons why you would want these evangelists in your cheerleading squad, how they can help and support SEO initiatives, and how much of the impact that each cheerleader has based on his/her position and the work responsibilities. 

How to recruit them?

When everyone is already overloaded with work and responsibilities, it’s not likely that you’ll have volunteers waiting in line to take add more to their plate.  The best way to get their buy-in is to show what they will gain by adopting SEO and working with the SEO team. Prepare some talking points or even a couple of slides showing what’s in it for them. Below are some of the benefits that will get their attention:

  • Help increasing their KPI performance
  • Help by decreasing their workload and improving overall work process
  • Help sharing the data
  • Help having better communications

Whatever motivator works to excite them about cheering for SEO you need to deliver that benefit that “helps them help you!”

Equip your SEO cheerleaders

SEO isn’t about stuffing text and devious tricks to improve rankings, but many non-SEO professionals still think of SEO that way. Although they don’t need to become SEO experts, you still need to equip them with enough basic SEO knowledge, tools and success points to create a strong cheerleading squad. Here are some of the information and tools that they could use to work for SEO wins:

  • How their work influences SEO performance

Explain how their responsible areas such as server, web design, content creation, and marketing plan impacts SEO performance, especially if SEO isn’t considered during their work process.  Then give them credit for improvement when they improve page speed or reduce redirects. 

  • How SEO can help their KPI performance

Show how they can benefit from working with SEO team related to their KPIs. When they realize that SEO can increase their conversions and sales, they will be sure to speak up for SEO implementation.  

  • How working with SEO and/or integrating SEO into their work process help reducing their workload

No one will happily go back to fix the problems after spent so much time and resources. There are many SEO action items especially related to IT, Web Operation, and Content that can be and should be integrated in their work process, and by doing so they can eliminate the needs for re-work, which are doubling their workload.

  • The SEO data, which they can use to help their daily work

The SEO team has an access to many website and online marketing data through the Webmaster Tools, the Analytics Tools, and other SEO tools. Those data give insights and information that other teams can use, too. For example, IT can enhance their diagnostic process by monitoring server errors and crawl/index rates, the Web team can identify broken links using Webmaster Tools.  The Social team can use SEO search query data, and the Marketing team can use campaign landing pages data and influencers from inbound links. 

  • The information, which you would like to receive from them

Sometimes, the SEO team is one of the last to hear about upcoming campaigns or website redesign projects. In order to avoid those last minute scrambles, it helps if they can share the annual (or even quarterly) campaign schedule, content publishing schedule, etc. I also appreciate receiving the conversation mining data from the Social team, and the client feedback data from the Sales team.   All of these are a gold mine of opportunities not only for SEO but Content Marketing.   

Lastly, give some specific examples of how and when you would like their help and give them words to listen for that will trigger then to think of SEO. Talk to them how SEO should be integrated into each of their work process to improve overall performance. The easier you make it for them, the louder and more enthusiastically they can cheer for you.

*Updated my article originally published on ClickZ in 2014.