When people talk about SEO, it's frequently in hushed tones, like some great secret is being discussed. Even more often, it's based more in esoteric questions than statements: What goes into PageRank? How does one sculpt it? How many tags are too many?
It's much more "Da Vinci Code" than "Indiana Jones," as much as SEOs might prefer to imagine themselves in an Indy hat with a whip in one hand and the key to some lost civilization's knowledge in the other and a John Williams soundtrack in the background. C'mon, don't pretend you're not thinking it right now.
It's for this reason that SEO campaigns often become bottled up in silos -- sometimes silos of one -- and never reach their full potential. It's easy to overlook how much of a group effort a SEO campaign can be with touch points for developers, copywriters, and promoters alike. SEO covers so many different areas of your business and can involve so many people, that sharing information and strategies across any and all possible lines is not only preferable but should be a required part of any engagement.
So, within your organization, who should you share SEO information and goals with, and what information should be shared? Here are a few places to start.
As much as possible, make sure your development team is kept abreast of the full scope of SEO changes being targeted, instead of just dishing them out on a project-by-project basis. By knowing the full picture, they can find opportunities to make SEO updates to sections that they're currently working on, and keep themselves from unintentionally creating SEO issues.
Create lines of communication between your coders and your SEO expert to keep this important educational process going, as well as cut down on the risk that something "techy" gets lost in translation.
Sharing natural search performance improvements in traffic, revenue, or rankings -- even just top-line results -- can help them see the value of the work they're doing, and how big a difference coding with SEO best practices can make, which encourages more of the same.
Your Copy Team
Whether you're getting or creating basic copywriting practices and keyword research as part of your SEO engagement, or partaking of a full keyword guide, make sure that your copywriters and anyone who coordinates with them -- editors, merchandisers, team leaders, etc. -- receive this information.
Copywriters should naturally be using this information, but bringing in related teams forms a second level of defense for page copy, product titles and descriptions, and category names to ensure that you're targeting the right keywords across your site.
Your copy team is another group with whom sharing natural search performance improvements can help to reinforce the value of following guidelines and in consistently applying the right keywords to the right places. In fact, share these improvements with anyone remotely related. You'd be surprised how motivating they can be across the board.
Your PR, Blogging and/or Social Media Teams
As team members who are creating external content, knowledge of the keywords, pages, and canon URL structure that you're targeting can really drive additional value from these already important areas.
Your Other Advertising Teams
If you have other team members or agencies involved in promoting your site, be sure to keep them abreast of site or URL structure changes that are coming down the line so that they can adjust ahead of time. Knowledge of any canonization issues with your site can also help them steer customers to clean versions of URLs in case they then share them elsewhere.
Keeping these channels open also helps to control display URLs in online and offline ads and prevent sending customers to non-existent sites or pages.
Your Agency or SEO Specialist
This may seem a little odd to include, because it should be your agency or expert sharing their knowledge with you, but it's very easy to get tunnel vision on the SEO projects you're working on, and forget to share important site developments which can create new opportunities -- or new challenges -- to your natural search campaign.
Be sure to share plans for changing or relaunching your site, traffic/revenue/ranking goals (official and unofficial) and any other site initiatives you're looking to take on.
In the end, SEO is about sharing rather than about dark mysteries and divining knowledge from inscrutable sources. It's about sharing your content with the rest of the world by making it easy to read, targeted to the maximum number of highly targeted searches, and bearing the most authority possible.
An SEO campaign should be the same in its execution -- accessible across your organization, highlighting the right information to the right people and with easy-to-understand results backing up the need to continue cultivating the fruits of your whole team's labor.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!