Why every department needs to care about SEO | White.net

Why every department needs to care about SEO

By Katharina John / September 4, 2012

SEO used to be something that happened on the sidelines of a business, usually by some tech specialist in a separate office. It often seemed like it had very little to do with the rest of the organisation.

But as the internet and what we do with it has changed, most firms have now realised that this needs to change. To make the most of their online presence, SEO has to be an integral part of their online operations in every department.

Search engine optimisation is now too important to be left lingering on the sidelines. From customer services and HR to marketing and PR, here’s how SEO matters to every single area in your business. Read on to find out why you should be optimising everything you do online.

Customer services

Good or bad, customers love to give feedback, ask questions and leave reviews. Thanks to the growth of the internet their comments could be seen by thousands of potential customers, and this could be incredibly good or incredibly bad news for your business.

You may not realise it, but customer service efforts and SEO can work hand-in-hand to help highlight the positives and reduce the impact of any negatives.

The key here is to be part of the conversation. This means having a presence not only through your own dedicated website, blog and social media, but also by being seen in the wider arena.

Essentially, you need to get involved in relevant conversations on sites and forums other than your own. Saying the right things in the right places ensures that SEO and social media come together with potentially massive results for your company.

You must also be available, be ready to answer any questions or deal with problems swiftly and give honest, open responses to every message you receive. Many of these will be public-facing – gone are the days of ringing up to complain directly – so be mindful that everything you say and do could impact how other people view your company. Ensure every customer-facing member of the team knows the company line on big issues so you’re all singing from the same hymn sheet.

SEO is also a vital part of building your FAQ or help sections for your site. Use analytics to identify what it is people are coming to you for, and make sure you are providing it.

HR

Today’s job market is very different from a few years ago, and it follows that how people search for a new position has changed as well. Even dedicated jobs boards have seen numbers fall and are having to evolve to meet a new set of expectations.

For your business, this gives an important opportunity to reach out to potential employees.

A careers section within your site can act as a constant source of information for job-hunters, and can be an integral part of your SEO strategy. Even if you don’t have any vacancies at the moment, a holding page with details on the kind of people who work for you can work wonders. See this as another chance to get your targeted keywords on your site in a relevant, useful and honest way.

And where you continue to use job boards, see SEO as a way to increase findability and get the right people for your roles. There’s no point using words that people won’t search for – target your ads carefully and you could get people breaking down the doors to work for you, as well as enhancing your online presence.

You can also use social connections here too – the more involved you are with social platforms, the more people you can reach with your job opportunities.

PR

PR and SEO are already joining forces for many companies, and they should work together in many respects to promote your brand and help get you seen in the right places.

In the world of public relations, SEO is incredibly useful as it can help understand behaviour – how people search and what keywords they use. This means you can then target your PR materials effectively.

And don’t forget that journalists use search too. They will be scouring the web for their latest stories, so make sure you optimise everything you put out there so it can be seen by them. Whether you publish articles directly on your site, apply for news results listings or send your press releases out to journalist distribution sites, each piece of content should be optimised. This goes for associated media too – images and videos must also be searchable and recognisable by the bots.

Think of SEO and PR as a way to unify your brand messages and ideals, and don’t miss out on the opportunity to be seen online.

Marketing

There is no point having an all-singing, all-dancing website if no-one can find it. You may have sent out leaflets to thousands of potentials, and placed adverts in relevant publications or on local radio, but you still won’t reach every possible customer. Besides, many people turn to the internet as their first port of call these days, rather than the traditional local press.

So, if you run an Italian restaurant in Coventry, you need to make sure your website appears whenever someone types that phrase into their search engine. If you don’t show up, you’re losing out immediately.

Search engine marketing is the backbone of creating and maintaining a prominent, positive online presence. Your site must be accessible – to both the bots who will index your pages and the people who will view it. To be visible, you must target specific keywords that are relevant to your business and avoid underhand techniques.

Google and the other search engines keep the specifics of their ranking algorithms a closely-guarded secret, but there is a lot we can deduce from the top-ranking sites, and from information they have shared.

Content must be optimised without keyword overstuffing; the site must be user-friendly, up-to-date and functional; and backlinks to your pages should be relevant and not spam attacks.

All change

It might seem like a lot to understand and instigate, especially for departments that haven’t had to think about SEO in the past. However, the results will speak for themselves. If the rest of the business is unsure of the benefits, or even hostile to the required changes, it might help to hold a presentation and outline the many ways SEO will strengthen the business.

In the current climate, no company can afford to be left behind online, and it can seem like an arms race with your competitors. That’s why it can’t be left to one lone department to fight the SEO war everyone needs to come on board.

You may find it helps to use an SEO agency, which will be able to assess how different departments are performing and make vital recommendations. Often, outsiders can more clearly see the ways in which the company could improve its holistic SEO.

All this may seem like a lot of work, but by coming together every department in your business can help to establish a holistic SEO strategy that boosts success. By working to the same plan, different departments can ensure that all content is optimised and that everything they do, from issuing a press release to answering a customer query, can have a positive effect on SEO.

The result could be huge boosts to your online presence – with higher rankings, better visibility, more engagement and increased conversions. Start integrating SEO throughout your entire organisation and you will soon see that it’s a recipe for online success.

Image credit: Baltic Development Forum

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