3 Ways to Ramp Up Your SEO Program for Less

Man in suit looking at laptop with hands up, winning at SEO.

In these unprecedented times, many businesses are reevaluating their marketing. The majority see the value of continuing their marketing programs, some viewing them as critical for survival.

However current surveys show that most marketing budgets have decreased. And in that situation, you may be looking at ways to reach your marketing goals with fewer resources and less money.

Graph showing survey results from Connector.
Image source: Impact of COVID-19 on Marketing, Conductor

In this article, I’m going to outline three areas to invest in that can help you ramp up your marketing for less:

  1. Audit
  2. Upskill
  3. Tools
  4. FAQ: Why is upskilling your marketing team essential during a pandemic or similar crisis?

1. Get an SEO Audit

Brands may want to take SEO into their own hands right now to save on agency costs. Or they might be using this time to figure out how to get ahead of the competition. Either way, a technical SEO audit is the best place to start with any SEO strategy.

An SEO audit can give you an in-depth evaluation of what’s hindering your rankings and traffic. Partnering with the right SEO vendor ensures mentorship on how to implement the findings — even if you don’t expect that when you hire them.

A word of caution: Many companies may want to follow general SEO advice they find on the web to audit their sites. This won’t reveal the underlying causes of big SEO problems.

SEO is like a medical diagnosis. If you are experiencing symptoms, merely putting a bandage on them won’t help you with the root cause of the condition.

A proper SEO audit is a comprehensive diagnosis from a professional that will help you discover the root cause. This cannot be a cursory exercise, or it is a waste.

You should plan on the SEO vendor spending at least 100 hours doing this examination and coming up with actual solutions. This will get you much further than trying to tick boxes off an SEO checklist.

Bonus strategy: A technical review is the first step to ensuring your site is set up for the search engines to access and crawl. In addition to a technical review, a content review is going to help you go much further. See How to Stay Relevant During Hard Times and Come Out a Winner for more on how to conduct a content analysis.

2. Upskill Your Staff with SEO Training

Your marketing team may have gone from bountiful to barren in a matter of months. Perhaps you’re ready to hire again. Or you need to upskill your remaining staff.

No matter where you’re at, SEO training is going to give you the knowledge you need to create an SEO program that helps your company not only survive but thrive.

SEO training helps you:

  • Build SEO into every decision you make about your website and your marketing.
  • Educate specific team members or sync knowledge across teams or departments.
  • Empower your team and your business — Motorola once reported that for every dollar they invested in staff training, they received an ROI of $33.
  • Create continuing education opportunities for your experienced SEOs. We’ve had students in our SEO training classroom, for instance, come back every year to get a refresh.
  • Make SEO a strategic initiative throughout the company for a better chance of success.

With the shift to virtual SEO learning, now even more people can get an SEO education for less. Check out SMX Next (a virtual event in lieu of SMX Advanced this year) on June 23 and 24 — for free!

It’s also worth mentioning that SEO training will put you in a better position to have productive discussions with any SEO vendor you hire for an audit.

3. Review Your SEO Tools

Once you’ve put in place the recommendations in your SEO audit, you’ll need to support and track progress with the help of SEO tools.

Of course, Google Analytics and Google Search Console are staples. In fact, Zazzle Media’s The State of SEO 2019 survey showed the top three tools among marketers were GA, Search Console, and get this: Excel spreadsheets.

But when was the last time you audited your tool set? It’s not uncommon for companies to subscribe to and forget about marketing tools in their quest for the perfect stack. In fact, companies waste nearly $30 billion annually in unused or rarely used software.

Right now is the perfect time to review your subscriptions. Get rid of what you don’t use, and find out how you might consolidate into a few staple SEO tools. This can not only save you money but also make you more efficient.

This should include a review of the WordPress SEO plugins that help your site stay optimized. Remove outdated or unused plugins, and review the functionality of all to make sure you have what you need.

Read more:

Right now, businesses are facing decreased staff and decreased budgets. And many of them are turning to SEO as a way to stay relevant. You can achieve your marketing goals even in these unprecedented times with a little creativity and some help from an expert SEO vendor.

Contact us if you would like a free quote and consultation about your business needs.

FAQ: Why is upskilling your marketing team essential during a pandemic or similar crisis?

Attesting the value of having an agile and experienced marketing team cannot be overemphasized. Upskilling them should always be top of mind whether navigating global crises, economic downturns, or any other circumstances that arise.

  1. Agility in Adapting to New Strategies

During a crisis, consumer behavior and market dynamics can change rapidly. Upskilled marketing teams are better equipped to quickly assess the situation and adapt their strategies. This agility can make all the difference in maintaining market presence and relevance.

  1. Leveraging Digital Transformation

In times of crisis, digital marketing becomes even more critical. Upskilling ensures your team is proficient in the latest digital tools, social media platforms, and online advertising techniques, enabling them to tap into new markets and reach customers effectively.

  1. Cost-Effective Marketing

Crisis periods often demand a more prudent allocation of resources. A well-trained marketing team can optimize your marketing budget, making every dollar count and maximizing ROI.

  1. Crisis Communication Expertise

Effective communication is vital during a crisis, and an upskilled marketing team can craft and disseminate messages that resonate with your audience, build trust, and enhance your brand’s reputation.

  1. Staying Competitive

Businesses that invest in the marketing skills of their team will maintain an edge during challenging times, helping to emerge stronger and more cost-efficient on the market.

Step-by-Step Procedure:

  1. Assess your current marketing team’s skills and identify gaps.
  2. Define clear upskilling objectives aligned with your business goals.
  3. Identify relevant training programs, courses, or certifications.
  4. Allocate a budget for upskilling initiatives.
  5. Your team will experience great rewards from training if given sufficient time and resources.
  6. Encourage self-directed learning and knowledge sharing within the team.
  7. Focus on digital marketing skills, data analytics, and crisis communication.
  8. Monitor progress and provide feedback to ensure continuous improvement.
  9. Foster a culture of learning and adaptability within your team.
  10. Stay updated on industry trends and emerging technologies.
  11. Collaborate with industry experts and mentors for guidance.
  12. Regularly review and update your upskilling strategy.
  13. Evaluate the impact of upskilling on marketing performance.
  14. Adjust your marketing strategies based on new skills and insights.
  15. Maintain open channels of communication with your team.
  16. Implement crisis response plans and communication protocols.
  17. Ensure your team is well-versed in crisis management.
  18. Monitor the market and competitors for emerging opportunities.
  19. Encourage creativity and innovation in marketing campaigns.
  20. Celebrate successes and continuously invest in your team’s development.

By following these steps and prioritizing the upskilling of your marketing team, you’ll be better prepared to navigate crises and position your business for long-term success.

Bruce Clay is founder and president of Bruce Clay Inc., a global digital marketing firm providing search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing, SEO-friendly web architecture, and SEO tools and education. Connect with him on LinkedIn or through the BruceClay.com website.

See Bruce's author page for links to connect on social media.

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4 Replies to “3 Ways to Ramp Up Your SEO Program for Less”

Your blog has swiftly become my favorite source for inspiration. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Yes, tools play an important role in any SEO campaign. Because they help us get proper insights and data about the keywords, website speed metrics, and other things. And I believe that regularly updating our SEO knowledge is also a key thing.

Hi Nick – Yes, we have a several hundred item deep-dive checklist that results in commonly a 100+ page report with what is wrong, why, we determine how to repair it, and then assign a severity and priority for planning purposes. We do a lot of these and it actually takes that long. The 100 hours is not a lot of time if compared to the 2000 work hours in a year and the impact of the results on the company. It is not for everyone, but it is for many.

For real? 100 hours on an audit?

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