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Prioritizing SEO for Business Expansion: How to Foster an SEO-Centric Approach

Prioritizing SEO for Business Expansion: How to Foster an SEO-Centric Approach

To genuinely foster growth in a company through SEO, we must dismantle barriers, promote education, and prioritize SEO.

For SEO to be truly effective, it must influence many business aspects.
From product development to design, engineering, and customer service – SEO can and should be integrated into processes beyond digital marketing.

But how can an organization shift its mindset from considering SEO as merely a marketing channel to recognizing it as the foundation for success?

Understanding SEO-Centric Thinking

Many businesses claim to be “SEO-centric,” recognizing its significance at the marketing, product, and development levels. However, they often fall short.

Regarding decision-making, the SEO team might receive a token acknowledgment or be asked to perform checks after a project’s completion.

SEO-centric thinking does not mean prioritizing the SEO team’s opinions over those of other departments or designing a company website solely for SEO purposes.

Promoting an SEO-centric mindset in a company involves elevating its importance and benefits for all stakeholders.

It entails transforming the culture so that questions about any new initiative or feature begin with, “How might this impact SEO?”

Why Is an SEO-Centric Mindset Crucial?

It may seem presumptuous to prioritize SEO in an organization where various departments advocate for their channels or specialties. So, what sets SEO apart?

Mistakes Carry a High Price

The primary reason for emphasizing SEO is that rectifying the issue can be time-consuming if an event negatively impacts SEO.

SEO is crucial for managing reputation, generating leads, raising brand awareness, and increasing revenue, especially for online organizations.
It is not the only factor.

However, it is relatively unique because not many other departments can be so easily damaged and take so long to recover.

A coding error might temporarily cripple a website but can usually be corrected within the same day.

A poorly written product description that decreases conversion rates can be fixed as quickly as editing a page in a content management system (CMS).
If a PPC campaign is accidentally deactivated, it must only be reactivated to become effective again.

In contrast, SEO problems are only sometimes detected quickly. Tools may take time to notify us of a crawling block, and a drop in rankings or traffic could be the first sign that something has gone wrong.

It may take months for rankings and traffic to return to their previous levels.
In extreme cases, they might never recover.

Rewards Can Be Substantial

SEO is the only marketing form with a different scope and lasting impact.
Cease funding PPC campaigns, and the advertisements will stop appearing.

Stop sending email marketing campaigns; existing ones will be buried in recipients’ inboxes.
Successfully implement SEO, and you can maintain a steady stream of highly converting traffic for years without additional expense.

SEO Requires Collaboration

Successful organic search engine marketing involves numerous components.
An SEO team can only achieve a little on its own.

Frequent collaboration with developers, content writers, and project managers is necessary.
Approval from product owners, clients, and leadership is required before proceeding with an idea.

Fostering an SEO-centric mindset can facilitate stakeholder buy-in for SEO recommendations.

How Can You Foster an SEO-Centric Mindset?

Once you accept that elevating the significance of SEO in your business is acceptable (and it genuinely is), how do you proceed?

Identify Key Stakeholders

A crucial step in incorporating an SEO-centric mindset in an organization is identifying key stakeholders – those individuals within and outside the company whose work can affect or be affected by SEO.

Prioritize Teams by Their Impact on SEO

Create a matrix like the one below to help determine each team’s risk and opportunity level. Plot departments or agencies on the matrix based on how much their work influences the organization’s SEO outcomes.

For instance, the finance team may have minimal potential to negatively or positively affect SEO other than approving the budget for the latest tool. This team is likely classified as low risk and low reward.

Conversely, the engineering team can implement code changes, enhance load speed, and add schema markup to a page, offering high SEO rewards. However, they can also inadvertently disable the website, block search bots, and apply the no-index tag, making them a high risk.

Identify SEO Advocates for Each Team

Next, pinpoint one or two individuals in each team categorized as “medium” or “high” risk and reward. These individuals will help disseminate process and thinking changes related to SEO. They are your advocates.

Ideally, they should already be curious about SEO and hold a position within their team that enables them to guide and develop others.

Schedule regular catch-ups with these advocates. Update them on relevant SEO developments that may affect their team. Offer training and mentorship.

All of these efforts will facilitate buy-in from the teams they represent.

Also, consider teams that can impact online reputation, like branding and customer service teams.

Senior leadership is one of the most significant stakeholders in SEO for any organization.
Identifying these individuals may take some time if you work for an agency or as an external consultant. Examine your client’s corporate structure if possible. This information might be available on their website in a “who’s who” section or you may need to ask your contact for a rundown.

Remember that other external partners might also be involved, such as development agencies or even other teams within your agency working on the client’s website.

Motivate from the Top of the Team

One effective way to encourage your colleagues to care about SEO is by getting their management and leaders to prioritize it.

If the department head understands the risks and rewards that SEO presents for their team, they will likely be motivated to help you achieve your SEO objectives.

Educate Them on the Importance of SEO

The key to this approach is helping them grasp the significance of SEO.
Discuss department-specific impacts that SEO can have.

Talk to your brand director about the importance of reputation management and how SEO can foster positive online sentiment. Explain the advantages of keyword research and optimizing copy for search intent and conversions to your Head of Content.

Convey to each stakeholder why they should care about SEO.

Link SEO to Their Success

Help leadership and their teams buy into SEO efforts by sharing their work’s impact on key results.

Show the engineering team that their efforts to reduce load speed had a direct, measurable effect on Core Web Vitals, enabling them to see the connection between their work and organic traffic and leads.

Inform the customer success team that the survey they completed, listing the most common customer questions, has been transformed into an FAQ, resulting in increased organic traffic.
The more you can connect teams’ work to SEO success, the more receptive they may be to your ideas moving forward.

Incorporate SEO Into Their Processes

In addition to training and securing buy-in from your or your clients’ teams, integrate SEO into their processes.

This might involve adding SEO considerations to templates, such as copy briefs or product requests. It could also mean including SEO team members as stakeholders in engineering tickets.

Strive to be involved in QA and sign-offs for activities that may pose a risk to your SEO success.

Conclusion

Through SEO, an organization needs to break down silos, promote training, and keep SEO top-of-mind.

SEO needs to be at the forefront of company communications. This entails identifying knowledge gaps in key departments and ensuring continuous upskilling in those areas. Determine the best way to achieve this in your company: a monthly report and email briefing to key stakeholders or a company-wide message on your internal chat.

While it’s possible for a company to start thinking SEO-first, it takes time and strong stakeholder relationships to make it work.

In summary, SEO-first thinking elevates SEO’s importance and benefits to all stakeholders. It involves changing the company culture so that any new initiative or feature is evaluated based on its impact on SEO.

To encourage SEO-first thinking, identify key stakeholders, departments, and teams, and prioritize them based on their impact on SEO. Look for SEO advocates in each team to help spread changes in the process and thinking around SEO. Educate leadership and their teams on the importance of SEO and link it to their success. Finally, integrate SEO into their processes.

By taking these steps, you can successfully refocus your organization with an SEO-first mentality and enjoy the rewards that come with it.

Read Next: 2023 SEO Forecast: Expert Insights on Google Algorithm Changes

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