Keeping SEO Staff Motivated and Driven

Links represent the largest factor of the ranking system for the most popular search engines. Yet link building can be tedious, and mind-numbing. How do you motivate your link marketers?

With the proper incentives, you can keep your link marketers productive and driven while reducing staff turnover. Talented link developers are hard to find — you want to retain them as long as possible.


Create a weekly, bimonthly, or monthly contest as a motivator. Make sure the prizes are worth it. Link building is hard work. Don’t insult your workers with trivial prizes — offer something of value, such as paid days off.

Design a contest that’s easy to measure and that doesn’t dilute the quality of the link campaign. If the contest is simply judged on the “number” of links people obtain, then employees will focus on numbers, and the quality will suffer. Instead, place the focus on rewarding quality links.

Some possible contest measurement:

  • 1 point for links obtained from a domain that is at least three years old.
  • 3 points for links obtained from a domain that is at least five years old.
  • 10 points for links obtained from a domain that has 20 or more government backlinks.
  • 20 points for getting an editorial mention on a site at least five years old.

Get the idea? Focus the contest on obtaining quality links. That way the contest is a vehicle to teach and guide link builders to pursue high-quality links.

Pride in Accomplishments — High Rankings

In our disconnected modern society, people often never see the final results of their hard work. Want to motivate your link marketers? Give them something to take pride in by showing them the high rankings and revenues generated off their hard work. Don’t just keep them in an isolated cubicle. Review with them ranking comparisons (i.e. weekly, monthly, yearly). Treat them like the sales team they are and show them the revenue that high rankings can generate.

Group Meetings

These meetings can be fun, motivational, and a learning experience for everyone. The key is to get everyone involved, sharing and thinking creatively.

Topic Ideas

  • Highlight ranking increases (i.e. weekly, monthly, semi-annually, and yearly).
  • Brainstorm new link building strategies and tactics.
  • Discuss what’s working, and what isn’t.
  • Have people show off their best links, and how they obtained them.

Tip for those new to people management: save criticism of a particular individual for a one-on-one session. Doing this in a group meeting will hamper the motivation, creativity, and openness of the meeting. Plus, it will make people dread the meetings for fear of being singled out.

Vary the Workload

This is probably the biggest motivation killer in the industry — expecting employees to spend 100 percent of their time doing link building. Having someone do the same task over and over is mind-numbing, no matter which method of link building is used. The solution is to vary the work to keep things interesting and develop resources for future link marketing efforts.

One solution is to get them involved in your industry, or industries of your clients. This could be anything from publishing a blog that covers industry news, to getting involved in social industry sites. This is also a great way to research new link marketing ideas (a.k.a. link bait).

Here are a couple of examples. If you sell auto parts, have your link developer go into automotive forums to answer questions people post. If you sell health products, have your link marketer answer questions at Yahoo Answers.

These are just a few ways to keep link marketers motivated and productive. Keeping employees motivated will produce better results, and help to retain employees for a longer timeframe. Just the savings of training new staff makes it worthwhile.

Now ask yourself, “How is my company motivating our link marketers?”

Related reading

Simple Share Buttons