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SEO Is Everyone’s Responsibility: 5 Tips to Get Non-SEOs Bought Into SEO

My Post - 2019-11-21T122222.514.pngNot to be pessimistic, but SEO can be an incredibly frustrating job.

It didn’t take very long working in the industry for me to realize that SEO professionals were the outsiders.

Our success often relied on other teams, not our own, so we were relegated to asking for favors.

At best, these requests would make it on the list (albeit usually close to the bottom). At worst, they’d be completely ignored.

I often referred to this as “yelling into a black hole.”

My advice and requests went in, never to be seen again.

That’s why I felt so validated to read Jessica Bowman’s book, “The Executive SEO Playbook”. In it, she says:

“The root problem is that everyone needs to do SEO, but the only people who have it on their performance review goals are members of the SEO team. This makes SEO tasks, for [other departments], more of a favor than a must-do activity. Most are avoiding this type of extra work in order to hit a timeline, knowing they can ‘fix it later,’ but not realizing it is often exponentially more expensive.”

That’s when it clicked.

For so long, so many companies have been thinking about SEO as its own channel.

In reality, it’s a consideration that can help search engines and searchers discover what your other departments are creating (i.e., code and content).

This means that SEO is everyone’s responsibility.

SEO as a Second Language

I recently heard Jennie Baird, SVP of Product & SEO Strategy at News Corp, explain SEO as “A second language that everyone in the organization needs to be conversant in.”

I love that.

We’re not trying to make everyone SEOs. We do, however, want non-SEOs in our organization a little more SEO-aware.

The byproduct? Our SEO metrics will likely improve.

To accomplish that, here are five tips you can try.

1. Give Them SEO KPIs

A lot of the conflict between SEO and non-SEO teams stems from opposing (or rather, seemingly opposing) incentives.

The project management team’s success is being judged on how quickly they can get something launched, but this is often antithetical to the SEO’s goal of preserving search traffic (e.g., a fast launch may mean there’s no time to do redirects).

Or maybe Infrastructure and Finance want to use client-side JavaScript because it’s cheaper, while SEOs want server-side rendering because it puts less burden on users and is easier for Google to access.

As long as non-SEO teams see your SEO asks as at odds with what they’ve been tasked to do, you have little hope of getting them to help you.

The trick is getting them to see your SEO KPIs as not only not-opposed to their goals, but even as something they’ll want to adopt themselves.

But how?

One way to get non-SEO teams to adopt SEO KPIs is for that directive to come from the top down.

Your Director or VP who oversees that department would need to see the merit of giving their team SEO KPIs and rolling it out themselves.

When possible, this can be a great option. It’s much easier to get other departments to care about SEO best practices when that’s part of how their performance is judged.

But how common is that? – Read more

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