Should your SEO team invest in SEO tools?

Understanding your current marketing processes, knowing how to measure success, and being able to identify where you are looking for improvements are all essential parts of the SEO platform decision-making process. But deciding whether your business needs an SEO platform requires the same assessment steps involved in any software adoption, starting with a comprehensive self-assessment.

Read next: SEO Software Tools: What Marketers Need to Know

Use the following questions as a guide to determine the answers.

Do we have the right human resources in place?

Employing people to implement and use SEO platforms is a prerequisite for success. If you have marketing staff, using SEO tools can make them more effective and efficient. The vast majority of organic search marketers struggle to justify their SEO budgets. SEO platforms and tools are a key component in helping to reduce overall costs while doing the work required. Their analytical skills can also help SEOs prove the impact of their work on results.

Do we have C level membership?

Enterprise SEO software can be a five or six figure annual investment. It’s essential to demonstrate the value of SEO to C-level executives by running pilot test projects and agreeing a definition of “success” in advance.

Do we have the right technical resources?

Successful SEO requires dedicated technical resources deployed to it to act on the recommendations and opportunities presented by analytics and reports.

Who will own the business SEO?

Business SEO is usually placed in marketing, editorial or IT, depending on the nature of the business. Unfortunately, in large companies, it usually ends up either with who has the budget or who can best articulate the business case. Ideally, it should be both.

Can we invest in staff training?

It is essential to train the technical, design, content and marketing teams, and to reinforce them regularly. A successful enterprise SEO implementation will find ways to inject SEO knowledge into existing training programs and identify internal evangelists to spread the messages widely. Training must be comprehensive, consistent and continuous. Some tooling companies include or offer training for an additional fee, so be sure to inquire about this.

To what extent should we share reports with non-SEO staff?

Some tool vendors focus significant development resources on simple interfaces that can be used by people in other organizational roles, such as writers or senior managers. If this is important to you, be sure to look for it specifically when evaluating possible platforms.

Have we established KPIs and implemented a system to track, measure and report results?

It is important to know from the start what you want your SEO to achieve. Want to improve the SERP ranking or the time visitors spend on your site? Is conversion, whether it’s a product purchase or a white paper download, your primary goal? Having goals will help you decide if you’re ready to put a business platform to good use, as well as decide which tool will best meet your organizational needs.

How will we measure success?

Depending on your site’s monetization strategy, be sure to know how you will determine whether deploying the platform and successfully executing established KPIs has actually increased sales, conversions, or page views.

Do we have realistic expectations?

It is not uncommon for business SEO efforts to take at least six months to generate tangible results. If SEO is a new initiative within the organization, there are cultural changes and workflow processes that will need to be implemented and refined. Setting realistic timelines and goals will help build support at all levels of the business.

Do we have an SEO culture?

Many organizations start investing in SEO, but find that a lack of understanding of SEO across the organization is crippling its progress. Extensive educational programs are often required to provide consistent performance and results.

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About the Author

Pamela Parker is Research Director at Third Door Media’s Content Studio, where she produces MarTech Intelligence reports and other in-depth content for digital marketers in conjunction with Search Engine Land and MarTech. Prior to taking on this role at TDM, she held the positions of Content Manager, Editor-in-Chief, and Feature Editor. Parker is a respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since its inception. She is a former editor of ClickZ and has also worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing. Parker earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

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