"You know that you have ADD, don't you Mark?" one of my clients asked me about a year ago. "I know, because I have it too, only I've been diagnosed."
I laughed at the time. Then, I realized – she wasn't kidding.
My wife still denies it, and I've never visited a doctor (I should). The more I examine this, however, the more I believe that my client was right.
She didn't just diagnose me. She actually diagnosed all SEOs (define) as far as I can tell. Seriously. I've interviewed several SEOs in the past year, and I've yet to find one who believes that they have no tendencies toward Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.
If you're a SEO, take a moment (yes, you really can spare 60 seconds) and take this test.
The Truth About SEO AADD
The mind of the senior-level SEO/AADD "sufferer" works a lot like a search engine. Search engines work hard every day to become more "human-like." At some point in our human evolution, I expect we won't be able to distinguish between a SEO and a search engine.
Whether you handle SEO in-house, or you outsource, you're going to have to understand this truth: The best SEOs may have great minds, but may not be the best for actually seeing the project through. You'll find this same truth in some of the most successful entrepreneurs or CEOs in the world.
So, if you're staffing an SEO department, you might want to blend the necessary skills of a smart SEO (such as strategy, insight into which tactics should be explored, staying engaged with the latest trends and testing various methodologies, tools, etc.) with a team of implementers, project managers and – if you're an agency – a smart and highly-organized client services manager.
Let's talk a little about each of these and how you might go about staffing your team.
When I started my agency, I'd overseen my fair share of SEO projects. However, rather than handling everything myself during the startup phase, I was organized enough to lay out the necessary tactics for a team of friends and contractors. I needed others to do the actual work – perhaps because of my disorder – which I could then analyze to make sure it was done to my specifications, and deliver for the client.
If you don't already have a seasoned SEO on staff, this is obviously the first position on the team you need to fill. There aren't many people with actual hands-on experience and successful case studies. Since this is a supply-and-demand scenario, you can expect to pay for this talent.
The Organizers and Implementers
Once you're ready to add that next person to the staff (if you're an agency), hire your project manager/client services manager. This person needs to break down the "geek speak" into English for the benefit of your clients, have a good deal of experience within your industry, be able to explain why certain recommendations are being made, keep the SEO team (and contractors) accountable to a certain level of work, and keep things progressing on time.
Next addition: the "implementers." To this point, you may have been using outside contractors to take the strategy from the senior-level SEO and deliver upon the items that have been determined to be part of the project scope.
As soon as you're able, bring in people who understand your company's process to begin developing a consistent offering for your clients. These people may be recent college graduates (computer sciences, journalism, marketing studies – if you can find someone who had a double major in computer sciences and marketing, grab 'em), junior-level Web/application developers, copywriters with a technical bend, and others with similar traits.
Another rather recent development is that SEM training courses are (finally) being offered in our industry. You can take these recent grads and put them through the SEMPO Institute, or perhaps elect to have them train via Market Motive's offerings.
Once you have a core team in place, you can begin bringing in the specialists. These may include people who specialize in social media marketing, those who I call "technical SEOs," and those who I call "marketing-minded SEOs." The technically-minded SEO may know little about human factors because their mind works more like a machine than a human, while the marketing-minded SEO may get stumped when it comes to technical issues that may be preventing the success that you or your clients are seeking.
Understand, I'm not putting down the senior-level SEO. They're driving the bus behind your efforts. And, I'm not necessarily saying that AADD is a good thing, although I confess that I'm a little reluctant to seek medical attention for my "disorder" as I see it as a very beneficial skill for SEOs.
However, to build out a very effective team for your efforts, I suggest that you develop a team that addresses all the areas of concern because all the knowledge in the world, and no action, doesn't take you very far in the SERPs (define).
In order to make sure that we have our bases covered at my agency, we've hired a process improvement specialist to our team. That might seem extreme to some, but creating a strict workflow, time scheduling/tracking and assuring that we're delivering results for our clients and profitability for our agency is very important.
One thing is for certain: time is our most valuable commodity.
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!