Breaking Down the Silos (Part 1)
Whether you work in-house or in an agency setting, bringing alignment and synergy with functional groups outside of SEO will prove to be beneficial to not only your current campaign, but the efficiencies that you build now will help in future efforts as well.
In an agency, we work with paid search teams, web analysts, developers, designers, copy writers and social strategists. In-house we may work with internal IT and design, PR, marketing, or agency partners.
With the lines continually blurring year-to-year on the role of an SEO, we as digital marketers need to coordinate with other specialists and break down the silos to share data and move the needle.
Paid Search Marketers
When talking about synergies between SEO and any other type of creative, paid search marketers are perhaps the most the critical group to align with and share data. One such benefit would be actual keyword volume by analyzing impression count and impression share.
When doing keyword research for organic clients, we often use a variety of tools like the Google AdWords Keyword Tool or SEMRush. From experience we know that sometimes those numbers aren’t all that accurate, which is where PPC keyword data comes in handy.
Actual keyword volume data can be extrapolated from combining data sets to give a holistic view of interest.
Looking for a way to analyze keyword-level intent? CTR data from paid search campaigns, coupled with qualitative onsite metrics like bounce rate, time on page and conversion rate can paint a more vivid picture when presenting to client stakeholders. Happy clients mean happy SEOs.
In an industry based on measurability, nothing is more important than having an analytics specialist to help connect the dots and create actionable recommendations for campaign improvements.
When first starting out in the industry I would rack my brain trying to create slide decks illustrating how the team’s work was moving the needle for key accounts.
After trial and error, I thought the conversion, goal, and event reports that I created myself were pretty kick-awesome until I saw data visualizations from an actual analytics expert.
Sure, funnel visualization reports in Google Analytics are pretty darn cool, but a lot of our enterprise-level clients use big box platforms like Omniture, Web Trends, and Coremetrics so without in-the-trenches web analysts it could get messy.
We’re also faced with data overload, which is where advanced custom segments and reports come in handy. These types of reports can take a lot of time from our monthly reporting duties, and having a web analyst at your beck and call to the leg work will save you dozens of hours in the long run.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a good search synergies post without mentioned the dreaded “not provided” issue.
Hidden search referral data analysis for “not provided” keywords has gotten easier with the help of some awesome articles on how to “unmask the mask”, but being in the trenches with clients on a budget can get tight. Web analysts have the ability and the resources to hypothesize keyword data based on landing page, qualitative analytics, and a bit of good old fashioned detective work.
Web Development & IT Staff
Achieving maximum organic search visibility requires you to maximize success on the three steps search engines go through when coming across new or existing content:
66% of that is based on technical architecture – I wonder what we can make of that?
After doing full-scale audits for many types of b2b and b2c clients on different platforms from ecommerce to lead-gen, some of the biggest issues from an organic perspective aren’t necessarily on-page – they’re technical in nature.
One of the biggest issues we come across center around URLs and canonicalization. URL writing and normalizing the naming structure could be one of the most important aspects of ensuring your site is “up to snuff” from a technical perspective.
URL canonicalization can be extremely manual on advanced configurations (i.e. multiple category locations for the same subcategory type) and can take days of manual labor without the help of your friendly web developer or solutions architect.
Finally, Redirect mapping and error handling could be a time-consuming task without the knowledge of back-end systems and server configurations.
There are nuances to redirects and rewrites on each type of platform and hosting environment, whether you’re running on .NET or Apache, and architects can definitely help alleviate the pain.
Wrapping it Up & Breaking it Down
At this point I know I’ve left out a lot of functional groups that bringing alignment with would prove to be beneficial. Some of these groups include UX/design, copy writers, and social strategists.
Since Google’s algo is getting more and more qualitative and social, I’ll be addressing these groups in my next post. Over the course of your experience in the trenches, are there any other groups I’ve missed?