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Breaking Down the Silos (Part 2)
Written by Anthony Piwarun
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 12:44

I wrote a post last month about breaking down the silos and bringing alignment between cross-functional teams like paid search marketers, web analysts, and developers. In this follow-up post, I’ll broaden the scope and speak a little bit about why designers, copy writers, and social strategists should also be included in the mix.

your seo team

In retrospect, this post should have been the first in the series given Google’s recent algorithm updates centered on user experience, social signals, and quality content, but I didn’t want to offend the development staff – they always bring me donuts. And who doesn’t love donuts?

Designers (Web, Information, & UX)

If you think the role of design and user experience ends at mockups and sitemaps, then you’ve got another thing comin’. When you’re thinking about a new site build or redesign, some of the first steps are working through the sitemap, information architecture, and wireframes before moving into mockups, front end work, and prototypes.

Working with designers and user experience personnel from the onset of the build will ensure that SEO best practices are “baked in” from the start.

Aligning with the design group when developing the sitemap and information architecture will allow you to have a greater say in page naming and structure based on your keyword research.

Moving through the process from wireframes to design, our input in identifying on-page ranking factors like header tags and digital asset placement will prove to be better received at the beginning than two weeks prior to launch (been there, done that).

When it’s all said and done, SEOs can also help in the front end coding and prototype development process by ensuring the site is coded with best practices in mind, can “keep up” with page load speed, and is marked up with schema.org.

Content Teams (Copy Writers & Content Strategists)

If content is king in 2012, then an effective content strategy is the order to which the kingdom is held together. With all of the Game of Thrones references out of the way, it’s easy to see that in order to be truly successful in any type of online marketing, you need to have a plan of attack and talented specialists to carry it out.

Working with copy writers and content strategists, you can work to bridge the gap by educating your content team on the benefits of optimizations, and train them on SEO best practices. Next, you can develop user personas and scenarios in an effort to truly understand your target audience and what they're hoping to achieve by engaging with your content.

A content inventory and subsequent comparative gap analysis will allow you to identify what you already have in terms of digital assets versus what you’ll need in the future. Finally, you can put it all together by distributing an editorial calendar that will map out exactly who will be expected to contribute and at what time.

Social Media Strategists

With all of the latest news on social search and tight integration with Facebook and Twitter (on Bing at least), it’s no surprise that cozying up to the social media team will do more than just help your blog dedicated to an undying love for Tom Selleck go viral.

Promoting content through social networks will not only work to build authority, increase your following, and drive traffic, but will also assist in boosting relevancy using social signals. Aside from they’re role as secondary traffic mediums, social mentions like tweets, shares, likes, and +1’s are effecting search engine rankings, whether you like it or not.

In addition to helping your content rank, social media strategists can also be leveraged in online reputation management (ORM), when perhaps there’s a search phrase that you don’t want to rank for. ORM is more of a joint subset of SEO, PR, and social media.

Public relations specialists respond in the traditional mediums to bad publicity while social media strategists work to quell the unrest online. Search engine marketers, on the other hand, work behind the scenes to dissect intent and analyze keyword-level data.

Wrapping it Up & Breaking it Down

Between this post and the last, I’ve listed what I believe to be the majority of teams that SEOs need to play nice with in the sandbox. Did I miss any? Feel free to share your experience with aligning functional teams for maximized organic visibility.

P.S. Can’t get enough of organizational alignment to promote a successful search engine marketing strategy? Join me and fellow search engine marketer Allie Kelly for a FREE webinar sponsored by the Zeon search team next month.

Anthony Piwarun -

Anthony Piwarun is a Sr. Search Engine Marketing Specialist at Zeon Solutions, an e-commerce web development company based in Milwaukee, WI. Follow Anthony on Twitter, add him on Google Plus, or read his SEO Blog for more information.

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