The SEO ‘do more with less’ cookbook
“Do more with less.” How often in our careers have we heard that phrase? Ultimately, that statement always means there is a need to reduce budget while still maintaining growth (or, at a minimum, flat year-over-year performance).
The good news is that in SEO, we are the kings and queens of “do more with less.” SEO professionals today are constantly competing against significantly larger teams — unless, of course, you are working at the online gorilla Amazon or in a top affiliate organization.
Over the past 20 years working in SEO, I have worked in pureplay, omnichannel, startups and Fortune 500, and the cookbook for doing more with less contains the same recipe. Sure, the recipe may need to be modified at an ingredient level to increase servings, but the ingredients never change. What you should find in your cookbook for your “more with less” recipe is as follows:
- Pursue position gains for head terms.
- Maximize CTR (click-through rate).
- Expand long-tail keyword inventory.
- Maximize value from existing traffic.
- Amplify external content marketing efforts.
- Align SEO efforts more closely to the campaign calendars.
Myself, I like to add a bit of a kick to my recipe: I step back and think big picture. How can I adjust my ingredient amounts to maximize the effort to include value for all channels?
Demonstrating impact across all channels is critical in obtaining resources to support my objectives today, and it establishes credibility within the organization long-term. The nature of our profession requires that an SEO professional routinely take off their marketing hat and explore user experience, merchandising and broader technology issues. These areas of the business have a direct impact on the performance of all marketing channels as well as direct traffic.
While we are always looking for program improvements, clearly there are times where we must squeeze the most out of the program to achieve the goals assigned to us by the company. I like to use a divide-and-conquer approach to make sure I have dedicated attention to each core growth activity.
In the divide-and-conquer approach, I typically take on the global impact improvements and task my other team members to devise a strategy to tackle the SEO-specific activities. Depending on your team size, you may have to do all the activities, or you may be able to spread them out evenly across the team. Regardless of team size, every growth opportunity area must be worked. Don’t forget to include your key partners as well when assigning out the activities.
For my part, I am going to specifically look at areas of the website where the data indicates that an improvement in user experience, merchandising and/or performance can drive additional revenue. In this example data set, I pulled landing page data from Google Analytics. This can be entry page data from Omniture or Coremetrics as well. The key area of analysis in this data set is focusing on potential opportunities by evaluating engagement metrics and conversion rate.