Has your organization ever held meetings about improving web traffic, but let the implementation of SEO strategies fall by the wayside?
If so, you’re not alone.
Randy Hui, director of digital strategy at Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN), a nonprofit dedicated to fighting the world's toughest cancer, says that until recently—although some search optimization plans were already in place—PanCAN had yet to deploy a focused effort across the entire organization.
Over the last year, though, the organization has taken a more systematic approach. “We started with some technical updates on the site, then began a separate project tackling the content in a more methodical fashion,” Hui says.
Hui, who will be speaking as part of The Social Shake-Up’s Aug. 15 webinar, “The New Rules of SEO,” offers the following recommendations for communicators seeking to drive better SEO practices across their organizations:
Develop a multi-phased approach. Last fall, Hui’s team did a complete SEO audit, determining site deficiencies from a technical and content perspective. The team then identified a list of priorities, and devised a three-phased approach to address the pages and keywords that had the largest opportunities for improvement and traffic impact. “On a global level, we addressed site architecture, categorization, naming conventions and technical issues to improve search engine indexability of the site,” says Hui. “On each page, we tackle everything from metadata to content to contextual hyperlinking.”
Find your SEO champion. Hui recommends finding an internal search optimization leader to pioneer site-revamping efforts. That person should take the lead in SEO education, explaining what SEO is and why it matters to the organization’s goals and bottom line. Make it relatable and use real-life examples from the current site, including analytics and metrics. This can be done via email, or even better, through in-person presentations to staff, especially the marketing and leadership teams. “Once everyone has a baseline understanding, you can operationalize it,” says Hui.
Allow multiple teams to own and be accountable for SEO. “While the digital strategy team is responsible for overarching SEO strategy and training, the marketing and communications teams are each accountable for ensuring the content they create follows our SEO guidelines,” Hui says. And while SEO used to just be ”something the digital team did,” the importance of search is now recognized across the organization, with resources and budget to support it.
Point at the bottom line when making the case to the executive suite. If your SEO overhaul requires additional resources, it’s crucial to try to quantify for leadership what organic traffic will mean to the organization, says Hui. “We spent a lot of time setting up goals in Google Analytics so we could determine attribution of conversions by channel. Then we made the case for SEO by showing the impact of search on the bottom line, as well as how much it would cost to acquire the same amount of conversions and site traffic via other paid channels,” says Hui. “And those are numbers people can get on board with.”
Connect with Randy on LinkedIn.
Follow Sophie: @SophieMaerowitz