The role that search engines play in the ability for an enterprise to be found online is well-known.
Despite the evidence proving SEO's importance (see sidebar), not everyone believes it is their personal responsibility to optimize for placement on the search engine result pages (SERPs).
Although there are so many front-end and back-end factors accounted for in Google, Yahoo and Bing's algorithms as related to search results page placement, all Web professionals should know how their individual work may impact their enterprise's overall "findability." While the following will serve as a high-level view of SEO roles by department, it will help brands encourage (and educate) their team members to start thinking like an SEO professional.
There has never been a better time to be a writer. Companies are rapidly hiring both staff writers and guest contributors (read, "Thanks Content Marketing, Writers Have Jobs") to develop content at a rapid clip in hopes of improving user engagement, lead generation and, ultimately, search rankings. The problem with asking a writer to write for SEO, however, is that many of them have to speculate as to what that means. This could result in an article stuffed with keywords, for example. Let it be known: A writer should not change for the sake of SEO. They should develop content that solves a problem, is easy to consume (e.g. subtitles, graphics, etc.), is timely, links to relevant sources, offers a compelling headline and ends when the problem is solved.
It is these elements that will lend themselves to good content that will be visited often and linked to from other sites. Headers, keywords, metatags and other SEO tactics are secondary to good content.
That is not to say, however, that there aren't ways to improve content's engagement and viral potential, like including numbers in headlines, colorful images above the fold, etc.
There are also ways to make informed decisions as to what to write about. What's trending on Twitter, for example, can spark a writer's creativity, while frequently asked questions (see sidebar) from a support ticket system can fuel problem-solving-type content. These real-time topics should be on top of a set editorial calendar.
Creating an editorial calendar will ensure there is always fresh content for users and the search engines to index and that an organization covers the breadth of topics it needs to persuade and engage users.
Social Media Managers
The impact social networks have on how a company ranks in the search engines may still be up for debate, but at the end of the digital day all good content needs to be shared. When shared, the chance of getting more clicks increases - and that is always beneficial to an enterprise. A social media manager should use a variety of insights into what to share and when.
Buffer, for example, offers its clients the Optimal Timing Tool to recognize when posts should be shared depending on location, number of posts a day and levels of engagement throughout the day (see image). Optimal timing can also be determined within Facebook Insights (as it shows when a brand's users are most active on the social network), but it's not the only way to use social to improve SEO.
Designers & Developers
Website Magazine recently published "Web Design for SEO: Building a Strong Foundation" which go into greater detail about the major impact design and development has on SEO initiatives. Even still, it bears repeating that the decisions these digital professionals make impact everything from how a search engine crawls a website and how a user is able to interact with it to its device friendliness and page speed.
Even though some executives are out of touch with the day-to-day operations of an enterprise's SEO initiatives, they are typically the ones relied on to purchase critical software for a company. Choosing the wrong content management system, for example, can hinder a company's SEO efforts if it has a poorly developed code base or features archaic default naming conventions.
Technical SEO is as important as the topics mentioned above, but different employees in a company need to know what impact they can have and are currently having on their employer's bottom line. The basics of search is as good as a place to start as any.
Head of analyst relations, public relations, customer advocacy (People Heroes), customer community, content marketing (full funnel/lifecycle), content operations and optimization, reputation management and social media. Leads a team of nine superstars to exceed our goals multi-fold.