4 Hacks to Build Strong Relationships Between SEO And Other Corporate Departments
Sure, you want links.
And content ideas, and insights, and connections (to gain more links for instance).
But I bet you are the only one who cares about those things. Everyone else doesn’t seem to notice what you do.
The problem is, you do need them.
Today’s SEO is no longer a result of one departments work but of many efforts within the organisation:
- Web Devs / IT
and many more.
But how rare it is to get any help from them though?
PR could help with getting links. Or brand mentions. But they tend to do their work, sending out their unoptimised press releases, without even asking you to glance over.
Marketing people create strategies and campaigns you find out at a last minute about. And these are the things you could piggyback on to gain more search exposure.
Or they run a press campaign and forget to ask if you’d like to chip in. They get plenty of online media mentions and you don’t get links.
Not to mention trade shows and other events they go to. Just think of links from those sites!
Sales people join associations and create profiles without adding links. You never even find out about those. Or they block your access to their contacts, many of whom could become great link partners.
Web guys constantly change code on the site, often removing what you have put in there in the first place. Just because it doesn’t look good to them.
How irritating is that. I mean, here you are, doing work that benefits all those departments and no one cares.
It’s true, people care about nothing else but themselves. They pay attention only if there is something for them.
How Does It Relate to SEO
You have a lot to offer to other departments.
Most of them operate on a very simple basis – their sole task is to bring money to the company. What they often miss is that by helping you they can increase their chances of doing just that.
Here are some examples.
In spite of often being perceived as part of sales operations, SEO is more of a branding and communications channel. And online visibility is a massive aspect of building a brand. Being found by potential customers, not only in organic search but also local listings and other SERPs elements is crucial for building a strong online brand.
Today SEO is more than thing that one would typically associate with it in the past – h1 tags, meta tags or links. Many tasks that used to be outside of SEOs realm are now an integral part of the typical search mix – social signals, reputation management, user experience, co-citations and more, many of which stem straight from marketing.
Not to mention an invaluable data and customer insights you can provide marketing department with.
All in all, SEO is an integral part of a typical marketing mix and luckily more companies start to realize this now.
A lot has been said on how PR can be used for SEO. However, the relationship is bilateral. PR can benefit a lot from SEO:
- Thanks to keyword research and other data, SEO can help savvy PR people to understand the language online audiences use to communicate about their products, services or company. This is an invaluable knowledge that can be used to improve the efficiency of their work.
- Relationships with bloggers and online media – Most SEOs develop some relationships with bloggers, online influencers and more. Be it through Twitter or personal contacts, you do know people in the industry. Needless to say, these are invaluable contacts PR could leverage in their work.
- Customer reviews – quite often a result of your work are increasingly becoming part of the company’s PR. And guess who can influence many reviews? Hint: not a press release…
Most sales people don’t perceive SEO as something they can benefit from. Sure, the company most likely sees it as a sales channel but to individual sales person all you do is probably stealing her bonus.
Yet, most sales people overlook that SEO privides an important reference point and exposure for them. Their prospects coming across your company or product online, be it through organic search, local listings or content marketing is a result of your work.
And all of this only adds to the authority of a company and a sales person behind it. Full stop.
Is web developers approach to SEO a running meme? No, well it should be.
Even though web people might not have that much to gain financially from what you do, they have a lot to gain. Let’s face it, even a well coded website means nothing if it gets no visitors. Web traffic might be an obvious thing to developers – something that, in their eyes, happens by itself – there are actually people behind driving visitors to the site.
You for instance.
SEO is an important part of overall company’s strategy and should be treated as one.
4 Hacks to Build Relationships With Other Departments
Here is the thing, most departments don’t see it that way though. To them you are that guy in the corner. And for what they know, you could as well be playing games online, that’s how little they understand what you do.
Well, here are few ideas to try:
Send Regular Updates
The corporate world is so accustomed to CC’s and Fwd’s that I am sure it will come to no surprise for anyone to be copied on another email. Send managers from other departments regular updates on your progress along with few points on how they could help you.
Sure, it can be a long shot. But if it works, it can help them to realize your potential and how they can help. A winner.
Deliver Montly Presentations
If possible, deliver monthly presentations to upper management about the importance of SEO and the help you would like to receive from them.
Getting your own meeting might not be feesble. You might have problems getting anyone to come in (hard truth but hey, best be honest sometimes). But you could piggyback on a regular management meeting in your place. Ask for a 15 minutes slot every month.
In your presentation focus on two things:
- Results – how SEO has helped to achieve company’s goals
- How they can help you
Sometimes taking initiative is the best way to build relationships. Work out a strategy how a specific department could help you and present it directly to its manager. Again, it could be a long shot, and the outcome might rely on your personal relations with the department.
It might not be the most professional advice, I agree. Then again, nothing builds bonds better than personal relations. Make friends in other departments, socialize with them. Don’t be that guy who distance themselves from others. It won’t help.
What other ways to build relationships with other departments would you suggest? Anything that you tried yourself?
Creative Commons image by dhendrix73 / Flickr