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Where should SEO sit within a company? Historically the answer to this would have been an extension to the digital marketing team, in some cases even in I.T, and always siphoned off as a separate marketing element.
This approach, born of technological black-hat tendencies is, like so many in the industry, outdated.
Brands that achieve the best results from SEO are those that take it seriously as a measurable tangible and transparent way to generate traffic for their site and leads/sales for their business.
SEO now requires a unified approach. It must overlap all aspects of a business’ marketing strategy in order for the full benefit to be felt (pictured below).
SEO delivers the most ROI when it is able to use and build upon a company’s wider marketing and PR activities.
This is because best practice SEO now incorporates skills across the board from marketing, public relations, communications and sales.
It should be a joined up process that might start with digital marketing and PR but which should end with your sales department feeding back information about the quality of leads and volume of new business that SEO instigates.
This is not the case in most companies though. The importance of this inter-departmental collaboration is not emphasised to their teams, making cross-organisational collaboration even harder to coordinate.
Search marketing has moved away from black-hat spammy techniques, which could be undertaken in a siphoned off department within a company or detached completely in an external agency – to become more in line with traditional marketing practices.
This has seen SEO as a term being phased out of many marketer’s vocabulary, with ‘content marketing’ and ‘online PR’ the two frontrunners as its replacement.
This change of phrase is a recent phenomenon (see above) and reflects the switch from the focus being solely on links (pre-Penguin) to the creation of high quality, relevant content that naturally attracts links (post-Penguin).
Again this demonstrates exactly why SEO, whether carried out in-house or at an external agency, needs to be seen as integral part of a company’s overall marketing strategy.
A working example of the benefits of taking this approach is when a brand’s PR agency is running a campaign that is generating a lot of coverage then the SEO agency should be informed of this in order to ring around the publications where coverage has been gained and turn these mentions into links.
The same rings true for an advertising campaign that is likely to generate coverage online – the SEO agency needs to know about this beforehand.
SEO, PR, advertising, marketing and sales teams are ultimately all working towards the same goal: to generate new business.
Therefore it makes sense for these teams to work together and make the most of one another’s ideas.
The SEO agency should know what the PR calendar looks like, and the PR agency should know what content the SEO agency is preparing. Again the same is true for marketing and advertising departments.
The results of a unified approach between all of a business’ agencies/departments are far greater than if they are fractured and separated.