Most of us have a goal we are pursuing. Some of us want to retire early, others want to run a marathon, and some dream of buying a house. Whatever the goal, achieving it requires focus, effort, and commitment, as well as paying attention to its unique success drivers – those factors that contribute to the attainment of the goal.
The same can be said about outsourcing the management of your search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. Below are some of the drivers that directly influence your success at outsourcing. The importance of each will vary depending on the size of your organization, its culture, and the age of the business, but together they create a solid foundation for success.
Expectations & Commitment
When you decide to engage with a search engine marketing firm, you have either recognized that you have encountered a challenge that you cannot meet as effectively as you could with some assistance, or you have recognized an opportunity that you can more effectively capitalize upon if you get some help.
Yet just because you seek outside help with your SEO efforts, that doesn't necessarily mean you know what to do when you get it! But that's okay, because, in fact, most marketers don't. Further still, some marketers believe that once they outsource the management of their SEO campaign, they are all done with their job, and that all they need to do is sit back and wait for the results to be delivered. Unfortunately, such thinking is delusional.
To be successful at outsourcing SEO, you need to understand that it is not a turn-key solution, and that it requires more than just expert consultation. A lot more. More time. And more internal resources. Why? Because search engine optimization is not a one-shot deal; it is inherently iterative. In short, it is a process, not a project.
Moreover, SEO is but a tool to enhance business results. Consequently, it cannot be performed in isolation. Rather, it necessitates collaboration between you and your vendor, and with all the areas of your company that are impacted by your marketing efforts. Given these factors, expectations need to be established up front between you, your various internal constituencies, and your vendor, so that everyone can understand and agree on what's truly involved in achieving success.
Beyond setting expectations, organizational commitment is essential to be successful with SEO. Quite simply, you need buy-in from senior decision-makers within the organization who understand what is required so that they can manage and influence resources and priorities when as needed.
Internal Champion & Support
Think of the most successful causes you know. Chances are, they all have one thing in common: a champion. Someone who is passionate, carries the torch, and spreads the word. He or she believes in the cause, and that belief translates into activism. In essence, that person is an evangelist.
Well, SEO is no different. To be truly successful with it, someone from within the organization needs to step up and take the lead as a champion. This role is about creating momentum and growing adoption by spreading the word, publicizing the successes, and motivating others from within the organization to drink from the fountain of SEO.
Ideally, the champion should be well liked, respected, and an adept influencer. The champion should also be a natural team builder, and capable of garnering support and resources, as he or she will surely need help from numerous disciplines within your organization, such as copywriting, technology, product development, business development, public relations, marketing, etc.
Ultimately, an internal SEO champion is a success driver whose importance cannot be overstated. In my opinion, it is critical.
Prioritization & Making a Business Case
It would be nothing short of naive to think that the SEO process will automatically trump what other departments are working on, given that everyone has their own initiatives and priorities. Therefore, to effectively lobby for your programs and get the resources and funding you need, it is imperative that you be able to speak about them in a language that resonates within the organization.
For example, it probably wouldn't prove fruitful to attempt to obtain organizational buy-in to create and host a sitemap in order to get rankings. It's necessary to position and communicate the project in a way that makes sense to them. If you tell them that by doing so, you expect to see a ten-fold increase in pages indexed, which you believe will increase your rankings by 76 percent, and consequently increase site visits by 92 percent, which will net the organization an incremental $92,781 a month in revenue, it just might make for a more compelling argument.
Remember, if you want to achieve your goal, it takes focus, effort, and commitment. Outsourcing your search engine optimization is no different. Pay attention to the drivers; they will allow you to build a solid foundation for success. Fail to do so, and it could fall like a house of cards.