Author | Travis Tallent - VP, SEO Brainlabs
Bio | Travis Tallent is the VP, of SEO at Brainlabs overseeing the SEO product to ensure account teams have the right talent, tools, tech, and process to do their jobs well. Travis lives in Denver, CO, and spends time enjoying nature, playing saxophone in a community band, and volunteering for LGBTQ+ organizations.
How to Prioritize SEO Strategy to Get Buy-in & See Results
SEO has changed a lot in a decade. To show value, SEOs used to identify errors on a site and create a laundry list of SEO action items to fix (largely without prioritization being considered…it was ALL important). These days, technology like SEMrush, Screaming Frog, BrightEdge (the list goes on) has replaced the need for humans to identify issues. Today, for SEOs to show value, we need to articulate the business value of SEO–in business terms–and manage SEO projects, one by one, over the finish line.
Reflecting on how the job function of a search engine optimizer has changed in the last ten years shows the need for us to commit to a model that builds relationships and shows value, rather than creating a laundry list of action items.
Introducing: The SEO Strategy Framework
I’ve worked with plenty of teams, agency-side and client-side, and have seen some teams do any one of these things well, possibly even a few. But committing to this holistic Framework on a quarterly basis is unique in many ways.
1. SEO Opportunity Analysis
The Opportunity Analysis allows you to identify how the site/industry has changed over the last quarter and start to narrow in on high-impact SEO action items to present to stakeholders. The most important part here is to identify SEO actions that will have a measurable business impact and articulate the why, what, and how in a way that can be understood by all stakeholders (business execs, developers, content teams, etc.). While this documentation can take many forms, here is an example of a slide format that I have found to be useful.
2. SEO Discovery Meeting
The Discovery Meeting is our time to build relationships with the stakeholders and understand their appetite for change and resources. Robots can’t build relationships–that’s still something we have over any of the SEO auditing technology that exists. It’s important that as you present the opportunities identified in the Opportunity Analysis, you use it as a way to float SEO ideas for the next quarter and ask clarifying questions so you can already get buy-in on some projects.
3. SEO Roadmap Development
Utilizing both the Opportunity Analysis and SEO Discovery Meeting, we’re able to create a more robust SEO Roadmap that is likely to get approval faster than before, and allows us to identify challenges early on and work with stakeholders to overcome those challenges so we’re able to implement action items faster.
In the SEO Roadmap, I suggest using a RACI model so you’re able to communicate who is responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed on each individual action item. This removes the collective action problem that is inherent in many SEO strategies.
The roadmap is also meant to act as a running log of action items so that measurement is easier.
SEO implementation can sit with many different teams. Regardless of where it sits, it’s important that everyone who needs to be involved has open communication and that there is a thorough QA process. Utilizing the RACI model in the SEO Roadmap Template allows clear direction so there is efficiency in the process and not an ongoing question of who should take lead on specific projects.
While there is a lot more to say for successful data analysis, the point of this post is to say that this Framework requires a concentrated effort to analyze data and pull valuable insights post-implementation. The most important part of this process is to ensure that we’re tying data to business insights–e.g., it’s more powerful to say, “We see a 10% increase in new users on this page because of an optimization we made on a specific date” rather than, “We see a 10% increase in new users.” Insights are different than data, and for this Framework to be successful, we need the former.
Build Your SEO Strategy!
If you’re looking to have better SEO strategy planning where you don’t have to fight to get projects over the finish line, I encourage you to commit to this process on a quarterly basis. I have provided downloads below so you can give it a go!
This Framework was presented at SearchLove San Diego 2022. If interested in learning more, please reach out to Travis Tallent!