Does SEO Strategy Need a Process?

Can SEO work in a system? I’ve been working in the SEO world long enough to realize not all clients can be looked at the same way. When I first entered the mystical world of Search Engine Optimization I came into a situation that was in complete disarray. There was no system in place and no accountability for actual work getting done on client websites. Upon extensive research on successful SEO tactics for our size agency, I signaled out the lack of process as being the first step towards stability.SEO-Strategy

A lot of my extra time was dedicated to figuring out what type of clients we were working with. At that time my agency was relatively new, still in startup mode actually. Many of our first clients were smaller hyper-local companies with not much budget to throw at digital marketing. That made my job of putting our SEO system in to place relatively easy, as the majority of these clients would benefit from this structured approach.

SEO Systems Don’t Fit Everyone

As time went by and we signed a variety of different clients to SEO contracts, I discovered situations where I had to throw process to the wind and dig deeper into farther reaching digital strategies right away. In these few cases, our agency was dealing with companies with a larger reach and bigger budget, which is exactly where we wanted to be. These larger companies typically have a larger marketing team that agencies like ours becomes an extension of. Some had a dedicated team member working on the digital side, but that person no longer had the time necessary to solely work on SEO, Social Media, or PPC campaigns.SEO-Strategy

When an agency is fortunate to be elevated to the point of finding these flagship, or enterprise type clients, more time needs to be dedicated on a monthly basis to help further their digital marketing efforts. It is important early on in the relationship to establish trust and set expectations. One of the themes I always try to drive home to clients is “collaborative effort”. Think of it as making sure the left hand is aware of what the right is doing at all times. If a client is paying us to put thoughtful strategies in front of them, it is equally important for the client to provide us thoughtful feedback in a timely fashion. If all the work is being done on one end, and not the other, none of the hard work an agency put towards intelligent marketing strategies ever sees the light of day.

System or Not? Clients Win Either Way!

The point is that each client situation an agency comes across will be different. Some clients will benefit by a structured process in the beginning, in order to get them to strategic thinking. Other clients will have a strong digital marketing foundation in place, and are looking to get to that next level sooner, requiring all hands on deck for strategic thought from day one!

Recently, legendary men’s college basketball Coach Mike Krzyewski, better known as Coack K, reached an historic milestone by becoming the first Division 1 men’s basketball coach to reach 1,000 wins! Shortly after that 1,000th victory, Dan Patrick had Coach K as a guest on his nationally syndicated talk show. I heard the interview and learned an interesting fact I never knew, Coach K doesn’t have a system he follows each season. You see, Coach K recruits as many talented high school players as possible each year to come play for him at Duke. Once his team is put together he builds a system around his team to best fit their strengths as athletes. This approach has led Duke to four NCAA Championships, and 15 Final Four appearances over 34 seasons.

Being a Sconnie, I couldn’t help but compare that with the head coach for my University of Wisconsin Badgers, Bo Ryan. Coach Ryan is well known for his system, the Swing Offense. His strategy is to recruit athletes he knows will flourish in his system. This approach has worked well for the Badgers. Coach Ryan has been the head coach of the Badgers since 2001. In his first 13 seasons the Badgers have never missed making the NCAA Tournament in March, reaching the Final Four once, the Elite Eight once, and the Sweet Sixteen four times.

What does this mean? Systems can work and sometimes, you change it up to fit what you have and create a new system. Either way, the process you create and follow is important to reaching your digital marketing goals.