How To Integrate SEO Into Your Business

Posted by Tom_C

One thing that you’ll hear over and over again in the SEO industry is "make sure that you embed SEO in your business". I know I’ve said it a lot at conferences and in client meetings but what does it actually mean? Well this post is chock full of tips to help you actually embed SEO in your business. Since I’ve not long come back from the Seattle SEOmoz Pro Training Seminar (which was totally awesome by the way! thank SEOmoz) I’m still in tip-based mode so this post is going to be written mainly in bullet points!

If you don’t have an online business but instead work for an SEO agency then be sure to skip straight to the part where I talk about how to sell SEO services which help your clients embed SEO in their business.

How to Embed SEO in your business…

…if you have an ecommerce website

  • Make sure you add friendly reminders (otherwise known as calls to action) to link to your site in your thankyou emails. Rand wrote a great post on this over here. (By the way, while googling for that post from Rand I came across this which is also a nice read on order confirmation emails.)
  • Keep keyphrase research in mind when naming both product categories and products themselves. Things have an annoying habit of ranking for their own name (e.g. wikipedia) and this is also true for the little guys so next time you’re going to release the awesome-o-matic-1200 spend a little time thinking if it might not make more sense to call it the awesome-curtain-rail-o-matic-1200 (assuming you’re selling curtain rails that is….). This can apply to many many different industries, think about which one of these is going to rank better in Google for [hotel in Seattle]; "The Westin Seattle" or "The Mayflower Park"
  • Last but not least, check out this super-awesome post (that Sam also linked to in his round-up but it’s just so relevant here that I’m linking to it again): Surviving and Thriving as an Ecommerce SEO

…if you have a content website

  • Motivate your content writers with analytics so that they get excited about writing content which gets lots of pageviews/SEO traffic.Brent is world class at this and has achieved some astonishing results with the Tribune and one of the major things he did was to educate and excite journalists about SEO so that they both understood and craved page views.Brent talks about the process he used in more depth in this amazing interview.

…if you have a physical presence

  • Engage in the local community. This might not sound like SEO advice but there are plenty of links you can get from local newspapers, local directories and local radio stations if you just play your (seo) cards right.
  • If you have shops in shopping centres or offices in business parks then get links from their websites. You’d be surprised what has a website these days!

…if you have UGC on your site

  • Build your systems in such a way that the data inputs from your users structure your data in an SEO friendly way. I might write a blog post on this another time but in a nutshell think about the kinds of subtle ‘nudges’ you can provide your users such as "recommended tags" or "user also tagged this content with …". These kinds of calls to action can really help your SEO.
  • Ensure that your community manager (or whoever moderates and engages with your community) understands the importance of linkbuilding and SEO in general. The contacts and relationships that your community manager builds up can be invaluable for spreading linkbait, launching competitions, writing blog posts and getting links!

…if you have a PR agency

  • Ensure that the PR they’re generating gets you links! Especially since newspaper sites are so dreadful at linking out it’s crucial to educate them about the importance of linking so that the work they’re doing anyway can get you more links.
  • If your PR agency isn’t focused on getting you links then make sure someone follows up with any places which mention you but don’t link. A classic example of this was when a client of ours recently appeared in the Daily Mail website of the week column – there’s a link there now but when the article was first published there was no link!

…if you are doing PPC or conversion rate optimisation

  • Don’t leave your PPC or CRO guys locked up in a dark room separate to your SEO team, instead make sure they talk to each other. Your PPC guys will have tons of data about which kinds of headlines work, which search phrases people use as well as which keyphrases convert. Feed that back into your on-site optimisation for higher CTR in the SERPs and nice keyphrase optimisation.

Sweet. Bullet points ftw. But what about if you’re an SEO agency/consultant as I know many of you are? How do you get it into the heads of your clients that they should be integrating SEO into their business?

How to help clients embed SEO in their business as an SEO agency

I can only speak from personal experience at Distilled but we’re constantly looking to improve our processes and systems and here are a few tips that have helped us when managing client projects to aid them in integrating SEO into their whole business.

  • Allow your SEO team to be agile and flexible in the work they deliver. If you’re selling a specific SEO deliverable it’s often almost impossible ahead of time to understand the impact of the recommendations on the client’s business. When you dig into their site you might find evidence of paid links, or you might find that they license exact copies of their content to other sites to use. The solutions to these problems might not fall directly within the scope of what the client thinks they want, but it’s certainly going to bring benefit to look at and fix them. We’ve found the key to making this work efficiently is regular client contact and quality project management.
  • Educate your clients. It’s no use delivering a bunch of recommendations if the client doesn’t have the tools, skills or resources to implement them. By educating the client on the WHY of the SEO recommendations you’re making you can help them sell the changes necessary either to their boss internally or to other internal departments.

I’d love to hear feedback from anyone else who has actively thought about this problem from an agency stand-point in the comments.

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