Capturing the economy of scale is a fundamental principle for achieving efficiency within an organization. One example is Henry Ford revolutionizing the car manufacturing industry with his assembly-line business model, making scale possible for the automotive industry. Anyone can appreciate the ingenuity of Henry Ford, and apply the same inventiveness to scale what they’re working on. But to do that, every process needs its parts to facilitate that well-oiled machine. Central to this process is workflow. In this post, we’ll look at how workflow scales SEO, and how you can create your own workflow for in-house SEO.
Why workflow is crucial to scale in-house SEO
A simple definition of “workflow” (via the “New Oxford American Dictionary”) is: “The sequence of industrial, administrative or other processes through which a piece of work passes from initiation to completion.” Workflow can be envisioned as raw materials systematically improved upon through a workforce in a series of specialized processes to produce the final, refined result. With SEO, that raw material likely is data resulting from keyword research and competitive analysis. (For more information about how to do keyword research, refer to Sudhir Sharma’s guide; for more on how to conduct competitive analysis, see Daniel Sitner’s guide, both on the BrightEdge blog). Using these raw materials, your SEO team will perform analyses that ultimately determine the strategic optimization of your site’s architecture and individual page content.
Informed by SEO, your in-house writers will then create content in the form of Web pages, blogs and marketing materials, which SEO editors, content strategists and marketing managers will further refine before publishing. As you can see, each piece that each worker produces must be executed well to create the end product. As an SEO project manager, your job is to oversee and coordinate this workflow in order to scale. This is no small task. Managing the workflow for multiple SEO tasks means tracking and coordinating assignments and project progress of your various in-house teams, all the while keeping in mind:
- Long-term business goals
- Campaigns goals and metrics
A common pain point in SEO project management is a lack of collaboration among SEOs and content due to siloed teams and compartmentalized skills; BrightEdge CEO Jim Yu discusses this in a post he wrote for Search Engine Land. One solution is technology. For example, BrightEdge’s “Content Optimizer,” developed in partnership with Adobe, is designed to bridge the gap between SEO and content teams at the enterprise scale, specifically providing for integrated workflow. Here’s a screenshot showing our Content Optimizer at work: Another common pain point for enterprise-level SEO project management is tracking the seemingly myriad tasks and workflows across your organization – and a whiteboard diagram is simply not going to cut it.
Getting your entire SEO and content team on board in an integrated and collaborative effort requires more advanced tools, such as BrightEdge’s project management platform’s tasks and workflow support technology. Designed for enterprise SEO management, it features dashboard reporting for tracking projects with real-time visibility into their status, and automatically marks tasks that have been completed to save time and reduce duplication of efforts.
Insights from Experian and Microsoft at Share14 on scaling in-house SEO
This year’s Share 14 conference featured speakers representing several global brands, some of which discussed how their organizations tackled the challenges of scaling SEO in house. Experian Consumer Direct’s Ngia Vang (who was also interviewed by Andy Betts here at the BrightEdge blog) addressed the issue of its siloed SEO and content teams. From her presentation is the following workflow graphic, showing how Experian integrated SEO into their content team’s process:
In her talk, Vang reminded the audience that it’s a cyclical process, as the performance of SEO content is measured against business objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs), these metrics will then inform budget and resource allocation from one quarter to the next, and the process will start over again with fresh intelligence.
Another speaker, Alex Volk of Microsoft, said that when he first started at the company ten years ago, SEO didn’t even exist in-house. It was about seven years ago that he and colleague Derrick Wheeler initiated in-house SEO, facing challenges ranging from internal keyword competition to overlapping content and inconsistent UX, domain and subdomains. He and Derrick developed a “hybrid model” that involved enlisting 14 key people within the company to forge a bond for fueling SEO strategy.
For more expert tips from Share 14’s speakers on scaling in-house SEO, you can refer to the liveblogging coverage of the session here at the BrightEdge blog. In sum, you don’t need to be an industrialist to appreciate scale economies, and luckily today, you can access advanced tools to scale SEO within your own organization to take it to the next level.