Enterprise SEO – How to Get Organizational Buy-In

By | Chris | 4 Comments

One of the biggest challenges in Enterprise SEO is getting organizational buy in. Without organizational buy-in, even the best SEO strategy can fail.

What is organizational buy-in?

Organizational buy in for enterprise SEO is getting the access, approval, resources, and prioritization to implement SEO changes in a timely manner.

Why does organizational buy in matter?

Without organizational buy in, SEO tasks will not be completed in a timely manner. Since SEO typically takes 3-12 months to start working, a lack of buy-in can push this timeline beyond 12 months.

For both consultants and an in-house SEOs, a 12 month timeline is usually not acceptable for most organiztions. Very few companies are willing to dedicate in-house resources and spend on SEO for 12 months before seeing results.

Without sufficient buy-in, the campaign will likely lack progress and result in the termination of the campaign.

Where to establish Organizational Buy-In

Organizational buy-in must be established from the C-Suite all the way through Engineering, Design, and Product.

Buy in starts with the C-Suite approving your SEO program, budget, and ability to exist in the organization. Afterwards buy-in must be established across all departments or individuals that are involved in the process of implementing SEO changes.

In some cases this can also include:

  • Communications Manager
  • Legal
  • Project Manager
  • Webmaster
  • Content Manager
  • Translation/Localization Manager

Each company operates differently so buy-in will be different in each scenario.

Buy-In can Sometimes Require Several People from the Same Team

In addition to needing buy-in across the main departments that are involved in website changes, you may also need to get buy in from multiple team members from the same department.

For example, the head of IT might approve SEO changes before you start, the engineering manager might assign the task to a junior developer, the engineering QA team approves the changes on staging, then another developer pushes the changes live. So in this case you need buy-in from 4 people from the IT instead of 1, and 5 people from IT are involved.

Imagine you need to get your SEO changes approved by product team, design, content, and engineering. Then you need several people to approve the work from each department. In this situation an SEO task that might take 2-5 days at a startup can take weeks to months in a large company.

This is why organizational buy-in is needed to be successful in Enterprise SEO. In enterprise SEO more time is usually spent on project management than on actual SEO tasks.

How to Establish Organizational Buy-In

A) Start from the C-Suite and Measure the SEO Opportunity

The best place to start is at the top of the chain of command. The best way to get strong buy-in for SEO is to make projections on revenue, traffic, or conversion from SEO. The bigger the SEO opportunity is for the company the easier it will be to get buy-in. It’s important to make accurate projections. If these projections are inflated, it may help to get buy-in but this will backfire when the results fall short of projections.

B) Identify all departments involved with implementing SEO changes

The second step in establishing buy-in is to identify all the departments and individuals you will need to work with in order to get SEO changes implemented.In most cases the fewer the better.

While sometimes it may seem like best practice to coordinate with social media, email marketing, and other personnel, the reality is that depending on more people will almost always result in a longer turnaround time for SEO changes and a delay in campaign performance.

C) Bring all key personnel together to coordinate the process for SEO changes

Once all required personell have been identified, round everyone up for a meeting and go over the top SEO tasks that need to be done. Then develop the mot efficient process to get the changes implemented.

It’s best to come to the meeting prepared with a rough draft of what you beleive the process will look like.

In the meeting, be clear about what needs to be done, and get firm time-frames for each step of the process. If you can estimate the number of days it will take at each step of the process then you’ll have a clear timeline for the entire task.

D) [EXPERT TIP] Suggest adjustments to process and personnel

There will always be organizational inefficiencies that hinder delivery times for SEO changes. Sometimes there are too many people involved or too many changes of hands. Sometimes you may be working with remote employees, or a junior team member instead of senior or mid level team member.

Measure the Process, then aim to reduce it’s basic components

Some methods to measure the efficiency of a process include the following:

  • Turnaround time (in working days)
  • Number of total steps
  • Number of changing of hands
  • Total number of people involved

Measuring these four metrics for each tasks will give you a baseline to measure efficiency. Then optimize the process for each tasks by reducing these metrics.

Do you have questions, comments, or tips on organizational buy-in? I’d love to hear your thoughts!