We’ve said it time and again: enterprise SEO is hard, and scaling is even harder. With the evolution of search engine intelligence, optimizing has grown from catering to algorithms using links and keywords to providing a seamless user experience that is recognized by users and bots alike. Google Search, for example, has grown from matching keywords to intelligently understanding the context of a search query, thanks to a new technique for natural language processing called Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, or BERT.

The Google BERT update shows that search is constantly advancing, meaning your SEO approach needs to advance, too. But, improving visibility in organic search results extends far past the reach of a single SEO specialist. A strong SEO strategy touches all parts of your organization, integrating practices across teams and departments in ways that benefit your customers. From website developers and product managers to marketers and content writers, everyone impacts SEO—whether or not they realize it.

How can SEOs make an impact across a large organization?

SEO managers can always add more value to current and upcoming website projects. The key is proving that value to other members of the organization.

SEO managers’ technical expertise, holistic experience, skills, approach, and data can help make sense of the user demand for the products or services the organization is selling. By analyzing each step of the journey from searcher to customer, SEOs see how customers search for a service or product.

This insight into searcher demand directly benefits many members of the organization—including developers, marketers, content writers, and UX specialists—allowing them to tailor customers’ experiences to their expectations. When it comes to new web development projects, site overhauls, content creation, and even smaller website refreshes and adjustments, SEO skills are essential for any website project’s success.

But, how do you get other teams integrated with the SEO team?

The first step for SEO managers is to get other members in the organization to buy in. As SEO insights have the potential to benefit multiple projects within a single enterprise business, SEOs must reach out and interface with other teams.

The Way SEOs Talk Within Their Organization Matters

To get started integrating SEO practices across your organization, SEO managers need to open the lines of communication in a productive way. It’s critical that other teams understand how their job affects search engine optimization and vice versa. Bring data, and add insights to projects.

Meet these professionals where they are. Respectfully adjust how you talk with other teams to show how search engine optimization benefits their goals, too. Remember, even within a large-scale enterprise organization, you're all on the same team. 

How to Add Value to Each Team Member to Increase SEO Buy-In

The list that follows are likely members of your organization whose projects benefit from SEO insights. Here's how to talk with them to reach mutually beneficial goals and improve SEO team integration. 

Content Marketers and Strategists

Marketing planners are thinking about high-interest seasonal ideas, viral video content (and probably not about transcribing it!), shareable social media content, and marketing automation that helps them increase click-through and share rates.

Woo them with that sweet search data that outlines your company’s performance metrics across social channels. Share research on top competitors to help inform their digital marketing strategy. Another idea: provide them with data-driven insights into their target audience or use research to develop a content marketing calendar together that aligns with customers’ searches. By working together, SEOs and content marketers can drive growth.

Here’s how to win them over:

Say This: “I’ve compiled research on customer search preferences that might help convert our target audience into more leads. Could we set up a meeting to go over it?”

Not That: “These blog posts don’t target our audience and you need to re-optimize them for better SEO.”

Content Writers

Content writers are often creative writers who think including SEO keywords limits their creativity. They want to write for people, not robots. Their interpretation is that adhering to SEO guidelines hinders the quality of their writing.

When working with them, focus on your common goals. For instance, share research on how well their content is performing (traffic, engagement) in order to open the conversation. Then, bring that conversation full-circle and use data to show how they can increase engagement with their audience by targeting topics customers are searching for.

Here’s how to win them over:

Say This: “I have some data that lists keywords for topics our customers are likely to engage with. Would you like to go over it together?”

Not That: “Fit these keywords in next blog post for SEO.”

Sales Teams

In B2B organizations, sales teams know first-hand the problems your prospective customers are looking to solve. They know that if your organization can’t answer it, customers will find a competitor who can. They’re looking at the big picture: increased revenue and ROI.

How should you interface with them? Show members of the sales team that SEO drives revenue through a seamless customer experience for the entire buying journey. Schedule meetings where they can share their wealth of knowledge, from specific customer solutions to potential keyword targets that SEOs can use to attract the right customers to the company’s products. Reflect back to them the search behavior you’re seeing in terms of demand and needs. Branded queries especially can help reflect what those in the sales cycle are trying to learn, like “pricing,” “terms,” “reviews,” or “ceo.”

Here’s how to win them over:

Say This: “Here are some top questions we’re seeing people Google about our product or service, does that seem like something our prospects would search. Can we review how to best answer it? It should send us a lot more leads if we can get it right.”

Not That: “I need to know what challenges our customers have so we can rank in Google for keywords.”

Site Merchandisers and Product Managers

Whether you’re selling products or services, merchandisers and product managers are the product experts. They also have the most control over product hierarchy and product assortment.

They benefit from shared data on what potential customers are searching for. This information allows these teams to see which terms are performing well and helps them determine searchable product names. Additionally, share research on how successful competitors have organized their product hierarchy, as this tends to inform users’ expectations and experiences.

Here’s how to win them over:

Say This: “I have some data on our competitors’ product pages that might help our website align better with users’ expectations, resulting in greater visibility and sales. Would you be open to meeting about it?”

Not That: “No one is searching for a product named XY. These need to be renamed.”

User Experience and Information Architecture Teams

These teams are 100% focused on the user experience. Their end goal overlaps with that of the SEO team: to have an intuitive website that facilitates the customer’s buying journey from need to purchase and beyond.

Work together in designing templates, looping in content marketing as well to design content and infographics that seamlessly meet users’ needs.

Share opportunities gleaned from competitor research in the creation of new landing pages and the organization of your site’s navigation. UX and IA teams benefit from information that shows how to effectively target users at every step of the funnel that has high demand from users from the search volume metric. That way, SEOs can map search opportunity to these pages and ensure they’re the best page on the internet for what they’re targeting.

Here’s how to win them over:

Say This: “I found a few keyword opportunities that users are frequently searching for. I’d like to confirm their experience with the site and their point of view coming in. We might be able to target more potential customers with a landing page that reflects these search terms for example. Could we set up a meeting to go over the data?”

Not That: “I know the relaunch is almost done, but we need new landing pages for these search terms.”

IT Team and Developers

Easy SEO wins come from properly coded websites, so when things go wrong, there’s the temptation to cast blame. But this only harms the relationship on both sides. Understand that IT supports many different teams within the organization and has many priorities that all lead to a better customer experience. Every IT team has a backlog of projects and almost always live in IT debt. When bringing up issues, highlight your shared goal to deliver a great experience when the user lands on the site.

Along the same lines, be sure to reach out to developers early in a project, especially if you’re asking for time-intensive work. For instance, during a website relaunch, be up-front about the number of pages that need to be redirected so the teams can factor the task into their workflow. Focus on your shared goal: eliminating missed opportunities that come from losing existing high-ranking pages and keeping SEO intact.

Another idea that may help with large-scale projects (such as website launches) is providing your developers a checklist with your SEO must-haves clearly listed—for example, the page needs a title tag, h1 tag, schema code, size 12 font, tap buttons at least 48x48px apart for mobile usability, etc. Having a structured list with this information not only helps developers manage the workflow, but also holds them accountable in the Q/A testing rounds for the items listed. Outlining your SEO hopes and dreams while the “hood is up” (and not just after launch) helps the project be as successful as possible.

Here’s how to win them over:

Say This: “I’ve noticed that we have some 404 errors that are keeping customers from reaching that new landing page. Seems like it’s becoming a customer service issue. Is this something we can prioritize?”

Not That: “404 errors are tripping up Google’s crawlers. Can you fix it?”

Paid Search

Integrating paid and organic search teams is critical, as the effort of both teams is to increase traffic (and revenue) by targeting keywords.

Exchanging Google Analytics data across these teams helps identify new opportunities for increased traffic and sales. Likewise, testing and learning from PPC campaigns offers similar benefits for the SEO team. It’s important to remember that both teams ultimately have the same goals. Sharing keyword research between the organic and paid search teams allows both to target identical keywords relevant to potential customers—increasing touchpoints and clicks.

Here’s how to win them over:

Say This: “Based on our SEO data, I generated a list of potential keyword opportunities that might improve click-throughs for paid and organic if we double down on them. Could I set up a meeting to go over the list?”

Not That: “Why aren’t you targeting this relevant keyword?”

PR

PR and SEO teams are exceptional aligned in a few interesting ways. They are trying to get the word out, SEOs are trying to make it clear to Google that the word is out through links and mentions. PR teams also often have a back channel to rank for competitive terms through newsroom sites. Educate them how their hosted press releases on new products or detail how the product or service also brings in organic traffic. Another way is to offer help to prioritize their influencer marketing outreach campaigns with detailed understanding of how big these influencers' footprints are in terms of organic traffic. Teach them to think through their own mini SEO campaigns where journalists are their target customers. How is it easy for their target audience (i.e. journalists) to find what they need such as company facts and news.

Here’s how to win them over:

Say This: “I wanted to show you how some of your recent work has led to great backlinks to our site, which really helps Google and our customers see it as an authority. I think it could help in the next outreach round too.”

Not That: “Here are how many links you earned to the site from the press releases.”

Traditional and Digital Marketing Teams

Your organization’s marketers are looking to bring in new and existing customers through successful email campaigns and affiliate marketing programs, promoting the brand’s website with their messaging—whether digital or in print.

When working with traditional and digital marketers, emphasize the goal you have in common: bringing customers to the site. These teams benefit from an understanding of their target audience, users’ search behavior, and the problems that your company’s product can solve for them. All of this data can be compiled and analyzed to share across teams to better speak to the customer’s experience.

Here’s how to win them over:

Say This: “I wanted to reach out and share some research into users’ search data that may help better target new and existing customers through marketing campaigns.”

Not That: “This email campaign isn’t in line with what users are searching for.”

Conclusion

In enterprise businesses, everyone can benefit from insights into user search data. When it comes to educating other members of the organization on the value of SEO, the way SEOs speak matters. Instead of using jargon and focusing on their own objectives, the conversation should be framed instead around goals shared by teams or across the entire business.

After all, SEO problems are user problems—real problems for real customers that have a serious impact on the brand. Aren’t the problems noted above the same ones your content writers and IT professionals are there to solve? Since SEO correlates with a positive user experience, a lower page bounce rate, and increased click-throughs and sales, insights that improve SEO should be everyone’s priority.

Check out how we help companies create an SEO Center of Excellence in this eBook designed to simplify your approach to SEO to really make SEO a team sport within enterprise companies. It’s our unique approach to SEO that some of the most successful companies in organic search live by.

When you start thinking like this, SEO becomes relevant to all teams in the organization. Use this thinking to guide your SEO integration strategy and results will follow.