5 Ways to Get Buy-In for SEO
There is little doubt that SEO can have significant benefits as an integrated part of your marketing strategy.
According to HubSpot, 57% of B2B marketers stated that SEO (search engine optimisation) generates more leads than any other marketing channel and 89% of marketers say that their SEO efforts are successful.
But there are all too common reasons why you might struggle to get executive focus and even budget allocation for the channel, including:
- Core misunderstandings around SEO – at the most fundamental level there can often be widespread lack of knowledge on SEO and what it can potentially do for your business or brand
- Slower ramp up time – unlike other ‘quick hit’ channels like PPC where you can instantly turn the tap on and generate traffic, SEO takes time to build momentum and results. It is very much a marathon and not a sprint in comparison terms
- Perception that SEO clicks are ‘free’ – this is a common mis-labelling of SEO traffic and organic search which bears no relation to the actual situation on the ground
So, how do you overcome these hurdles and get support and engagement you need to make SEO a success?
5 ways to get stakeholders on board for SEO
We think there are 5 ways to help smooth your path as follows:
1. Educate the business on the opportunity around SEO
This can manifest itself in a number of different ways, from failing to secure the appropriate level of funding for your SEO project at the outset, to issues around securing resource to make technical SEO changes on the website as part of the web development process. The answer as to how you overcome these issues is quite simply education on SEO and its value.
If people have answers to key questions like ‘what is SEO?’, ‘how can it help the business?’ and ‘how can I get involved and help the SEO effort?’, they are much more likely to engage and help.
In our recent webinar, Why You Need In-House and Agency Expertise to Drive SEO Success, Joe Griffin, Senior SEO Manager at BT, recognised this issue. And shared some of his own ‘secret sauce’ on how to address it, including:
- Being visible at meetings – Joe explained that ensuring an internal BT SEO representative is visible at meetings which have an SEO component is key. Very often backed by subject matter experts from the partner agency which is QueryClick in this context
- Lunch and learns – it is important to plug the SEO team into the existing networking and less formal communication channels inside the business too. Setting up lunch and learns and going to other stand-ups, presenting recent SEO wins and sharing useful background on the way Google is assessing websites are all great ways of raising the profile of the SEO function
- Dedicated SEO training sessions – here BT increase the level of SEO knowledge across business roles and functions by offering half day SEO training sessions in conjunction with QueryClick (who take a lead on this)
- SEO onboarding training – BT is also introducing the next level of SEO training with Joe announcing plans to integrate SEO fundamentals training directly into the onboarding that new hires receive on joining the company
So, the focus is on getting out to key audiences that can impact the success of your SEO initiative and educating them.
Firstly, on the potential in the channel and, secondly, how they can play an active part in the wider SEO effort.
Watch the webinar: Why You Need In-House and Agency Expertise to Drive SEO Success
2. Link SEO success to wider business needs and goals
This is where things need a little bit of careful thought in terms of internal audience and stakeholders. As well as how SEO fits in to their world view.
The reality is that businesses are a complex mix of functional roles and business goals. And, although they are all broadly focused on a few core objectives, their lens on it is going to differ depending on where they sit in the structure.
So, while measures of success in the SEO function are going to centre around increased website traffic and improvement in rankings, discussions with CEOs and CFOs are going to be firmly rooted in the potential impact on revenue and ROI.
CMOs, on the other hand are more pre-occupied with issues like contribution to lead generation and lead quality.
So, the ability to link SEO initiatives back to these key concerns by audience is going to have a huge bearing on buy-in and perception within these key influencers.
At the end of the day, it is about moving the needle. Usually on revenue, in particular. And showing that your efforts are contributing in a way that is clearly understood by the business is essential to SEO success.
3. Use data to build and strengthen your case for SEO
Like any other digital channel these days, your SEO efforts are ultimately going to live or die on the back of being able to effectively attribute their impact on business performance.
And ensuring that every initiative and implementation in SEO is data-driven is key to success here.
Access to good, high-quality data is going to help you in a number of key areas:
- Smoothing initial budget allocation – key stakeholders such as CEOs, CFOs and CMOs have one thing in common. They place a high value on data and are going to expect to see a strong data story for SEO before they provide access to funds
- Easier access to development resources – one of the most common roadblocks for SEO projects, and technical improvements in particular, are bottlenecks in the website dev process. Being able to provide a strong, data-driven case for how a change will benefit the business can help your leapfrog the queue. And get priority attention from a dev team that is drowning in similar tickets from all over the company
- Delivering ongoing benchmarking – being able to show progress over time is key to building and maintaining momentum on your SEO project. So, drawing a start-line in the sand – from a data perspective – is critical from a tracking and measurement perspective
- Developing ‘like for like’ case studies – one of the key challenges with SEO is that it isn’t an exact science like some other channels. Which means the ability to draw on ‘like for like’ case studies that are data driven becomes highly valuable as part of the process of ‘selling in’ projects
4. Shout about your successes from the roof-tops
SEO by its very nature is a little bit of an ‘under the counter activity’ that lacks true visibility at times if you are not careful.
So, surfacing the good work you are doing is crucial to getting the level of buy-in you need for future SEO efforts.
How you choose to do it is going differ based on your own business context, whether it be presenting some of the good work you are doing at the next ‘all hands’ meeting or filtering snippets of information out on your corporate Slack or Teams channels.
But by linking the good SEO work that is being done back to business objectives, you will enable different parts of the business to see a solution for their own functional issues.
All of that is going to drive profile for your SEO function within the business and also drive engagement. As more and more internal stakeholders beat a path to your door for SEO help. Stakeholders pre-armed with an awareness of the type of SEO solutions they might be looking for – based on the high-quality case study information you have already put out there.
Only one note of caution on this: be aware of the SEO lifecycle as you plan your communications out.
Good SEO can take time to bear fruit, so make sure you have a cadence around regular updates that maintain the enthusiasm for your SEO quest over long periods. That will ensure you stay top of mind over time as SEO projects develop.
5. Make the business a true partner in your SEO projects
Effective SEO is about collaboration and trust right across the board.
Tying SEO objectives to wider business priorities is a good way to encourage and drive the integration that is needed.
Take conversion for example. To properly track the true impact that SEO is having on conversion needs SEO, CRO and UX teams need to be working closely together in partnership to unpick what is happening on the ground.
Related: How Does CRO Work with SEO and PPC?
And, if through that process, you are able to show that the traffic you are driving from SEO is converting into revenue. Then that is a story that is worth celebrating jointly. Because all of the good work that the CRO and UX teams are doing is adding value to the underlying SEO work.
Make sure you celebrate this as a joint win, to continue to strengthen the relationships across the teams. And apply the same principles to drive tight relationships with other key teams like Paid Search, Paid Social and Digital PR.
And if at all possible try to get in on the ground floor of new product and service web launches. Which means you can:
- Input to website information architecture
- Implement pre-launch keyword research that ensures the content is what people are actually searching for
- Ensure the launch is almost ‘SEO native’ when you go live (as opposed to launching and retro-actively fixing everything!)
Some additional SEO tips
Like every element of marketing having a good plan in place is key and SEO is no different.
Hearing from someone who has been over the course can really help with the process.
So, if you need a head-start listen in to our on-demand webinar below, where Joe Griffin, Senior SEO Manager at BT, shares his tips for success.
Why You Need In-House and Agency Expertise to Drive SEO Success
Own your marketing data & simplify your tech stack.
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