How to Sell Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the cornerstones of a successful website. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the benefits of proper SEO management and are further unaware of the ease at which it can be implemented with proper planning.

 I am currently fighting the good fight where I work, attempting to get SEO awareness adopted by management, content editors, developers, web designers, project managers, and everyone in between. And I won’t lie, it’s a hard sell. Sadly, people in charge of technology rarely fully understand it. This is not a rip on managers and business types, but rather just an observation that many people in positions of power lack the technical expertise that people like developers have come to take for granted.

For instance, one person I tried to convince to hop on the SEO bandwagon said that it was not necessary to plan for SEO unless marketing tells you that there is a problem. Obviously, people with technical knowledge of web development would tend to disagree, considering that it is umpteen times more difficult to retrofit an existing web page with search-engine oriented code than it is to start from the ground up.

With a new project, you can plan for all the little things that add up – image names, formatting the page titles correctly, setting up sitemaps, making meaningful links, etc. After a site is deployed and has grown for a few months or years, you may lose track of all the images that exist, or all the links to images, or a multitude of other things.

Another tempting argument against adopting SEO company-wide is that you need “a guy” for SEO. This, I heartily believe, is a mistake. It’s tempting to want to hire “a guy” to handle all that for you, but this is not in the spirit of SEO. A consultant may come on temporarily to help out, but ultimately it is the company itself that needs to change. Small changes, sure, but “a guy” will not help out as much as it would seem.

 The bottom line is that SEO is not a marketing thing, a development thing, a design thing, or a content thing. It is a combination of all of these groups and teams that need to come together to market the site. Cross-department pollination, so to speak. Marketing needs to come up with key terms and monitor the status of things like advertisement (adword keywords, for example), and those key terms should then go to content people to make sure they are including them in the content.

Likewise, content people should inform marketing if they are using a term that is not on the list regularly that deals directly with the site. This list of keywords should then be kepy


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