For many organisations, the word SEO doesn’t leave the marketing department very often. It may be heard once or twice when mentioning the value of building a new website or convincing senior staff to demonstrate their thought leadership in a blog, but apart from that SEO remains a dark art of marketing. 

However, a lot can be said for getting buy-in for SEO company-wide. After all, if its benefits are known at an executive level, marketing should receive a bigger budget and stand a better chance of achieving lofty SEO goals – better brand awareness, more website traffic, more website conversions and bigger profits. 

How to increase awareness and understanding of SEO

When it comes to convincing key decision makers whether SEO warrants more time, effort and money, make sure they realise how much it affects the entire organisation. 

As Jessica Bowman, owner of SEO In-house and advisor to companies including Yahoo, Microsoft and eBay explains:

“Everyone is doing SEO, whether they realise it or not — everyone who touches the website. So, the SEO team may be responsible for the SEO profit and loss, revenue numbers, traffic numbers, that sort of thing, but they actually don’t control any of it — all the other teams do, because they control the content, they control the code. They just don’t realise it.

And so, every day they’re making decisions, oftentimes million-dollar decisions, without any perspective or lens for SEO.”

The value of different teams working together

In order to ensure opportunities aren’t missed and mistakes aren’t made, cross-collaboration between different departments and different team members is also crucial. 

For example, product managers are incredibly influential because they determine what’s in scope and out of scope. More often than not, as soon as a product manager hears about SEO, they’ll want to go full steam ahead with it. 

Then again, some product managers will want to know the ROI for any SEO activity, which calls for a watertight plan of action containing something quantifiable.

How executives can make SEO a priority for everyone

“Executives need to manage managers. And that’s what I don’t see happening,” says Bowman. “What I see is the SEO team, and maybe the SEO team manager trying to manage the people in other departments to get them to do the things needed for SEO.

“But, even at that level, it’s peers trying to manage peers, sometimes in a different branch within the organisation. And, it requires someone pretty high up to kind of say, ‘This is what’s going to happen, and I’m going to hold you accountable’.”

It makes sense for SEO to be front of mind for every team member and for every project. But even though this needs to come from the top, executives could delegate the work down to people less influential. 

This is where the SEO team needs to demonstrate how one small mistake that seemingly has no impact on users can actually result in a massive revenue drop, which is bound to make executives take note.