The SEO landscape has changed dramatically over the past 10 years. In 2001, you could get by simply doing keyword research, making a couple on page site tweaks, and ranking for some keywords. You were an SEO guru by doing this 2001.
Everything since then has changed dramatically with the increasing importance of Google and its many algorithm updates, the availability of more SEO information, and the largest recession of the century. All these together have created a much more complicated modern SEO campaign.
In-House SEO Superhero of the 21st Century
The modern in-house SEO is a demanding job. You’re the educator, strategist, and executor wrapped up into one.
Typically in large organizations, you’re really almost a salesman trying to convince other teams/divisions to buy in to why SEO is important. A typical day can consist of many meetings, presentations, and your other relegated duties -- like ensuring the website ranks well and meets the business goals your company set forth. The modern in-house SEO manager is a marketing juggler, if not a superhero.
Modern SEO Campaign
In 2011, the modern SEO campaign has become more demanding. More results are expected, more reporting is asked, education is needed, and more buy-in is needed. Justification of your efforts is required at every turn. A typical campaign will be measured on metrics for success (varying from business to business) such as:
- How much traffic is SEO generating?
- Are we building links?
- What are the conversions the traffic is generating?
- What is the ROI for SEO?
- How much have the optimizations contributed to this?
A recent SEMPO 2011 State of Search survey indicated that SEO in-house optimization was only used by 44 percent of the respondents, compared to 51 percent in 2010. More companies are outsourcing.
On the flip side, the same respondents also said they were looking at increasing SEO spend by 43 percent in 2011 compared to 2010. What this means is higher expectations, more money, and less margin for error for in-house SEOs.
What the CMOs are Saying About Online Marketing
“What are the top expectations you expect from the marketing budget in 2011?” That was the question posed in a study conducted in 2010 by Advertising Age magazine and Forrester Research, called the CMO Group Survey.
The most common answers from some of the top CMOs were:
- "Effectively maximizing the marketing budget."
- "Optimizing the structure of my marketing organization for agility/adaptability."
Every move you make, every page you rank, they will be watching you. (Couldn’t resist the Police reference.) In-house SEOs will need agile tools and adaptability to meet the demanding market place and expectations set forth by company executives.
How to Meet CMO Expectations, Maintain SEO Superhero Status, and Keep Your Sanity?
The simple answer is this: Find an enterprise level solution that can help make your job more manageable and scalable. Tools in the modern enterprise SEO sense are generally SaaS (Software as a Solution) systems that can help you effectively manage large-scale SEO campaigns that can sometimes have thousands, if not millions, of keywords and pages across multiple sites or countries.
These solutions offer high-level dashboards to help easily manage massive campaigns and see glaring errors from a macro level. Enterprise solutions can also offer high-level dashboards that you can share with executives to help them understand your role and contribution to the overall brand.
What to Look for in Enterprise SEO Tools?
As Arthur C. Clarke once said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Here are some of the top questions you should consider to find that SEO enterprise solution that can help you with your SEO magic.
- Justification of Purchase: Does your marketing program have budget for an enterprise solution? What do the solutions cost? Do you have a cost analysis to show financial and other executives that will help justify the change and impact of change? How will it help free you up for more strategic efforts in order to maximize SEO results and support other company initiatives? How will it maximize SEO marketing efforts and ROI?
- Executive Visibility: Will this solution make it easier for your boss or boss’s boss to understand what you’re doing, and how it impacts company marketing efforts or the bottom line?
- Company Analytics Adaptability: Does this SEO solution integrate with your analytics platform? What is the cost to set up exporting of data from your current analytics solution to an SEO software solution? And what about the internal or external costs/time associated with it?
- Scalability: Will this solution offer long-term adaptation to your program? Does this solution support international capabilities?
- Training: Does the SEO solutions provider offer training and support to help you and/or your colleagues, so they can easily implement across their teams?
- Vendor Case Studies: Can the solutions vendor show you a case study of success that is similar to your business model? If not, it’s probably not a good fit.
The modern enterprise in-house SEO role is a highly demanding and taxing job. You must be the SEO evangelist, strategist, and super-humanist (a human with super abilities).
Don’t let your enterprise demands become your kryptonite to success. Find ways to help make your job more efficient and maximize return.
At a minimum, look at the solutions out there, so when the time comes you're ready to convince the company why you need it.