Those of you familiar with us at SiteVisibility might know quite a lot has been going on around here over the last year or so, (merger, office move and more!) And like a lot of search agencies we’ve seen a lot of growth which has presented us with a completely different set of challenges as a business.
It’s given me a new found respect for some of our larger competitors, especially those who despite huge teams are still able to deliver to great search marketing campaigns.
photo credit: bionicteaching
When you’re a small team it’s relatively easy to bounce ideas of people and be agile and flexible with your search marketing methodology but as you grow there comes a need to formalise you process.
That’s not to say it should be set in stone but there’s lots of reasons to begin the journey of formalising your company’s unique brand of search marketing.
It’s something we’ve gone through and I thought might be useful to share some of our lessons.
The discussion highlights what you’d like to do but often don’t – the beauty and curse of the SEO blogosphere is you are constantly presented with new techniques to promote your site to search engines.
While there is a lot of criticism of blogs for just repeating SEO 101 in perpetuum – I find everyday a new method I’d like to test, experiment with, disprove or immediately try out on all our clients.
The danger is you read about these methods but at the end of the day return to your bread and butter methods.
By having a discussion about specifically how you go about SEO projects you’re able to identify what you miss but shouldn’t and whether there’s a way you can freshen up your approach.
Helps with pricing and consistency – when you have a team of people all with different experience and salaries by formalising what you do you’re able to do first and foremost guarantees all your clients get the same level of quality.
Also by capturing the experience internalised by more senior members of the team you are able to share that knowledge more effectively, it’ll help you train people up and make your profit margin more healthy and ensure skills are spread equally throughout the team.
Standardise methods not strategy – when you’re putting together your process you need to standardise tasks but not the strategy. I.e. how would you go about keyword research rather than organise an identi-kit strategy.
Every client has different goals and objectives, they have different competitors, they’ve had different levels of work carried out on their site, and have different levels implicit link worthiness. There’s no benefit what so ever to using the same combination of tactics for every client.
Allow flexibility from your team – the most successful link building initiatives I’ve worked on have come to me while in the nitty gritty of link building not months ahead of delivery planning a schedule of work.
It’s important to allow for those brainwaves when they come. Don’t be too precious about specific tasks and let people explore options as they present themselves. A process document should be like the rhythm in a jazz band allowing other people to improvise but still head in the right direction.
Remember the goal posts will move – setting KPIs and objectives at the start of a search marketing campaign is imperative but the chances are the goal posts will move at least once. You have to allow for these kind shifts of strategy when formalising your way of doing SEO.
Don’t have a way of writing meta data that doesn’t allow changes in the strap line of the business four months later or a link building strategy that relies on just on an individual with the clients team who might make a move for pastures new etc.
Time doesn’t equal value – one real danger of commoditising certain elements is the temptation of focusing just one times.
Perhaps your way of writing title tags allows a couple of minutes a page so you can pro-rata a site based on the number of pages? Big mistake – the best SEO’s add value much beyond the physical time they spend on a project.