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October 27, 2008

SEO Project Management and Educating Clients

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Christopher Hart is Director, Eastern Region Operations of Bruce Clay, Inc. Last week he spoke at Scary SEO on the topic of SEO project management and client education. We thought we’d give you the inside scoop on his presentation by sharing his insights here on the blog.

Search engine optimization is an ongoing process that depends on a strong foundation, continuing education and training, and communication between teams. Managing the project requires that multiple departments work like independent parts of a collaborative whole. Every part has a specific role to play, but contact is required between the parts to keep the operation running smoothly. These are some things to keep in mind when managing your search engine optimization project or when educating clients about the multi-dimensional process that is SEO.

1. SEO is about properly doing business online.

SEO is not just about techniques and tricks or following a checklist. For search engine optimization to be part of an effective business initiative, it needs to be treated as an integral component of your company’s digital strategy.

Make no mistake; doing business online is just that — a business initiative. As with any revenue generating function it needs a full time manager. Someone needs to always be focused on the needs of the project and the sum of its parts. When you build a new store front, even though a construction company put the structure together, they do not own daily operations. The design team that picks colors and floor plan layouts do not own daily operations. Likewise, the marketing team that creates advertising and helps define market voice does not own daily operations.

When your online project started, did you hear any of the following statements?

  • “This is an IT project” or “this is a marketing project.”
  • “We can craft a solution around current staff functions.”
  • “Doing business online is cheap and inexpensive.”
  • “We only need to do this once and not worry about it.”

These are lies, lies, LIES!

You need an individual to work across the different teams or groups that have input into this initiative. This person has the specific role of coordinating all the efforts into a successfully functioning online business initiative. This person needs to be empowered to prioritize, order and act as the final word in all aspects of the initiative. It is their mission to make the elements of your company work together and in support of each other.

2. SEO requires education, transparency and feedback.

If you can’t see it by now, SEO is not the optimization of search engines. It is the education, planning, communication and measuring across your company of all the functions that go into your online business initiative. This is so you can maximize the ability of your company to communicate or distribute your products and services through search engines to the end users which are your perspective clients.

  • If you take the position that you just want something “done” or “taken care of” without taking the time to learn about it, then how can you judge if it is successful or if the correct decisions are being made?
  • Information must be openly shared across all teams or groups that play into your online business initiative.
  • No decision is to ever be made in the vacuum of a singular perspective.

3. A successful SEO project starts with training.

  • Did your SEO training course improve communication and awareness?
  • Did your SEO training course improve cooperation between business teams?
  • Did your SEO training course help build a strong foundation?
  • Did your SEO training course help improve efficiencies?
  • Did your SEO training course lower cost and improve ROI?

For elaboration on all these points, check out Bruce Clay’s article in the December edition of Visibility Magazine due out soon.

In closing, I ask you, the business owners, the following questions:

  • Why the indifference to these realizations when it comes to doing business online?
  • Do you feel that you have a well-defined online business strategy or just a poorly-cobbled-together set of projects and initiatives that have been labeled as your online business?
  • Are your staffs educated enough to understand the requirements or functions needed of their teams in this business environment?
  • Is there visible corporate support for this initiative and are consequences of a lack of support known?

To do anything properly takes time, effort and investment. Your opportunity margins will increase over time, but only if the proper foundation is put in place and there is a corporate culture to support it.

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6 responses to “SEO Project Management and Educating Clients”

  1. paisley writes:

    a great presentation in person and stll on the web. =)

  2. Lisa Barone writes:

    Chris,
    Congrats on an awesome first speaking gig at ScarySEO this past weekend. You did a tremendous job and your ability to connect with the audience during the Q&A was awesome. I have to admit, I was impressed. That meat head persona of yours melted right away when you began speaking. ;) It was nice to see you make a joke and have the audience immediate react with laughter. Well done.
    Props on the content, as well. Bruce Clay, Inc. has always been known for their unique method of educating clients and you did a great job getting the importance of that across. Bruce would have been proud!
    Lisa

  3. Dana Lookadoo writes:

    Your session was very valuable, and watching Lisa give you a bad time was fun, too!

    I was just reviewing my notes from your talk and like that you also said,

    “Your website is a full-time job. You need to fully commit time to SEO, your content, and your online business.”

    Thanks for sharing and empowering us with these principles. You’re helping SEOs and business owners!

  4. Kate Morris writes:

    You still looked like a priest (on streaming at least) but I am sad I missed this presentation live. This is completely true and I am hoping that more companies soon realize that their online business is a business, not just a new thing to try, or a low cost marketing outlet.
    Great job Mr. Hart ;)

  5. Daniel Natale writes:

    Chris,

    Great commonsense tips. Both valuable and informative.

  6. Nathan@online project management course writes:

    It is indeed a continuous honest and creation of relationship activity.



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