Search marketing is a relatively new discipline in large businesses — they don’t know where to put it. Is it “IT” or “Marketing”?
Often it is an additional task of someone who has other duties and is slotted six or more layers below the CEO. Occasionally there is a newly created role for an SEO, and some of them have risen to Director level at best. Companies are constantly seeking new ways to shape their silos, but it is doubtful that the effect of restructures on the website is taken into account.
The in-house SEO can come to work one day to hear that a new “transformation” project has been approved and a primary supplier appointed. Much celebration and congratulations, except for one thing. Digging into the details, the SEO finds out that the CMS and Web platform will also be replaced. Nobody thought to ask for the SEO’s input into the selection process. I have seen that happen a few times.
Influencing Senior Management
If you are the SEO or PPC person and feel that your contribution is not recognized at senior levels, what can you do to change that? Structural changes happen slowly, but you can get mental shifts faster. You won’t be added to CxO level distribution lists, so you need allies in several high places.
Exceptionally good news, such as an increase in conversions on the website, is usually reported by your manager to their manager, and perhaps a couple of layers higher at best. You can widen the distribution by publishing an internal SEO newsletter at least once a month, preferably more frequently. Publish snippets on your intranet or Yammer and get co-workers to subscribe by email.
Basic website stats are interesting to most managers — how many people visited, what sections and pages got the most attention, and so on. These reports can be accompanied by an SEO explanation of why this was the case, and why other pages did not get much traffic. By supplying the details only in an email newsletter, busy managers will still get a chance to open those emails, while they might not visit Yammer or the intranet often.
Once you know that senior people are on your email list, you can write short commentaries on news items that show that your skills are relevant to a wider set of technical issues. Make contact at your level in other silos. Socialize with them and you will find that your influence will spread and the next decision involving the website may include your input.
Ash Nallawalla is chief executive of search marketing and consulting firm Trainsem.com, and you can read his full PubCon speaker biography here.