By Manley, CEO of Corigan
A swan gliding serenely on the water’s surface yet paddling frantically against the depths below is a favourite analogy of marketers when describing their day-to-day role.
The same is undoubtedly true for SEO practitioners. Many find themselves beset by the constant challenge of maintaining those all-important rankings, manually sorting through swollen volumes of search terms simply to stay afloat.
The knock-on effect of this is brand erosion. That may sound dramatic, but think of it in these terms: if your SEO experts are dedicating the majority of their time (if not overtime) to cranking up search rankings, what have they got left to give to ensure your brand values and tone of voice run through every piece of content you publish?
This lack of care, born of frustration with the SEO process and a resulting paucity of resources for other tasks, all too often results in sloppy copy that does little to engage and enthuse the right audiences. In effect, campaigns become an opportunity lost in the fog of rigidly obeying the rules.
A fixation on SEO process rather than craft also has a deleterious effect on writing quality. I’m sure many copywriters will bemoan the early days of optimising search content when they were asked to wrangle syntax into something distinctly ungrammatical, and jam in keywords like square pegs in round holes.
To paraphrase the great Eric Morecambe, SEO copywriting sometimes feels like using all the right words but not necessarily in the right order. And due to the perception of the ongoing need to stick slavishly to SEO process with both eyes on the algorithm, things haven’t really changed.
Fix the workflow, find the essence
That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of SEO experts who still do a remarkable job of crafting successful content that’s on point for their brand. But I’d wager those who have more time to spend on polishing SEO prose than poring over process-driven tasks are in a minority.
It’s an element of what we call The SEO Dilemma: the market is flooded with tools that come with bells and whistles, yet none seem to get the job done well. The majority are simply reporting software.
We’re not alone in making this observation. Forrester has also noted the current complexity of the market, and the ongoing need to hire whole teams of SEO professionals – with all the associated cost and management issues that brings. Most businesses have a “resource ceiling” where continuously adding staff and spend is not an option, causing further operational problems and limiting the true value of an SEO strategy.
In our experience, it is fair to say that some corporate websites are such vast operations that the number of full-time SEO managers required stretches into double figures. That is before you factor in everyone else in digital and brand marketing.
Fortunately, there is a fix. This is all about better management of workflow as a solution to free up your experts to distill the essence of your brand into all of your marketing communications.
Automation is the answer, and tools are now available that seamlessly handle vital elements of SEO workflow. Automation delivers multiple advantages:
- briefer and content creators receive automated content suggestions
- they also benefit from internal linking and page optimisation
It doesn’t end there. By prioritising tasks and automated briefings, these tools underpin guided workflows that allow your teams to focus on tasks that will drive the greatest impact for your business.
This includes, of course, affording your copywriters the time and headspace to do a far better job of imbuing content with your brand values, upholding user experience while ensuring SEO opportunities are not missed.
In short, workflow automation removes the shackles of modern SEO.
Workflow benefits for the whole business
Copywriters are not the only ones to benefit. Workflow tools are designed around a methodology that identifies and hands-off tasks to the right person for the job.
Because everything happens task by task, on one platform and in real-time, the common problem of siloed teams is scrubbed. Different departments – including external suppliers – can collaborate and see progress being made in other areas of the business as they work towards a common goal.
It’s never been more crucial to breaking from the SEO status quo, not least because we work in a crowded space: according to research carried out by Salesforce and Publicis. Sapient 87% of online purchases start with search so it’s also a natural starting point for many marketing strategies. The majority of firms find their SEO efforts squeezed between the might of digital dominators from Amazon to eBay, while the growing number of agile market entrants should also be on your radar.
To stay profitable as a business, the SEO that drives your online marketing must change. That begins with an automated, priority-driven workflow: more gleeful gliding, less panicked paddling.