Be Part of the Search Engine Optimization Process
Jessica Bowman had a fantastic article over at Search Engine Land this morning entitled Why You Need to Know SEO Basics, Even If You Outsource. If you don’t agree that it’s important for your in-house SEO person to take the time to learn the fundamentals of search engine optimization, then you really must read that article. Actually, maybe read it twice. And then snuggle with it later.
Even if you outsource your search engine optimization campaigns to someone else, you’re still responsible for knowing the basics. You’re the one who is ultimately responsible for the success of your site. Just because you’re not doing the work, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware of what’s going on, even if it’s solely for your own protection.
There are quite a few reasons why it’s important to be an educated SEO client. Here are the ones that instantly spring to mind:
- You learn what’s right for YOUR site: As Jessica notes in her article, every site is different. A tactic that may be a good idea for one site may not work on another. As recent events have showed, if you’re running a respected news site, than maybe creating outlandish link bait isn’t such a good idea. However, it may be a totally viable and effective tactic for a different environment. By educating yourself about what search engine optimization is, what the engines reward, and how sites are ranked, it allows you to make yourself part of the process so that you can make more informed decisions about what SEO paths your site will take.
- Protect yourself from bad SEOs: As we’re all too often reminded, there are enough unscrupulous and misinformed SEOs out there that not knowing your stuff can be dangerous. You need to educate yourself so that you’re able to smell out when someone isn’t being honest with you or if you’re being sold something that could potentially harm your site. If people don’t want to accept standards for search engine optimization, that’s fine, but you still don’t want to go into the process blind.
- Changing Vendors: You may be in the honeymoon phase with your optimization vendor right now, but there may come a time when you’ll need to switch. Maybe client/vendor satisfaction will drop, you’ll need something they don’t offer, or it’s just time to move on. Either way, the more you know about what’s happening in your campaign, the faster you can get your new vendor up to speed and start seeing real improvements. You’ll also want to know what your old SEO did so that you can compare it to the new vendor to make sure everyone has similar methodologies, beliefs and colored hats.
- Increase Your Company’s Vocabulary: The more SEO knowledge you have, the more knowledge you’ll be able to share in-house. I can’t stress how important it is to spread knowledge transfer as a way of getting everyone on the same team. A Vice President who doesn’t know what search engine optimization is won’t put room in the budget for it. The IT person who’s not on your side isn’t going to allow you to make the necessary tweaks that you need. Your marketing team isn’t going to run efficiently, your content writers won’t write with the users and search engines in mind. Having an educated staff and getting everyone speaking the same language is critical to your site’s success.
- Save You Money: Chances are, you have a certain number of consulting hours allotted in your contract. Those hours are precious and you want to save them for the hard stuff. Don’t waste them on fundamental SEO tactics. Hold on to them for when you really need them.
An educated client is better client. In her post, Jessica outlines a number of ways that site owners can educate themselves on search engine optimization. I’d recommend you take a look.
At Bruce Clay, we’re big supporters of knowledge transfer. It’s the only way to get the whole team involved and invested in a project. We require our clients to attend our SEO training program in order to get them involved from the very beginning. You want to work the same way with your SEO vendor, whoever they may be.