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Organizations at War with Themselves - Navigating Egos, Red Tape, and Conflicting Priorities - Pubcon Pro 2023

Organizations at War with Themselves - Navigating Egos, Red Tape, and Conflicting Priorities - Pubcon Pro 2023

No one doubts that business leadership is difficult. With the shifting landscapes of national and regional economies, fluctuating interest rates and their effects on consumer spending, supply chain issues, etc. being able to make quick decisions and shift a business’ focus are vital skills nowadays.

But how do shifting priorities affect SEOs and their ability to address elements like:

- Addressing Technical Debt
- Project Prioritization with other teams
- SEO industry updates and changes in the SERPs
- Creatively and compellingly meeting the needs of the users
- Promoting content and gaining equity

One consistent issue that in-house SEOs face, regardless of organization, is gaining the funding and priority they need in order to do their best work. From tool costs to development resources, there's always a shortage. How can we overcome these challenges? How can we avoid them to begin with?

In this session at Pubcon Pro 2023 in Austin, Texas, on Thursday, September 21, Keith Goode first addresses executives and corporate decision-makers and then SEOs, who are on the front lines of their organizations.

Keith Goode

September 21, 2023

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  1. X: @keithgoode Mastodon: mastodon.social/@keithgoode Keith Goode • SEO Product Director

    for Dealer.com, Cox Automotive • Over 15 years In-House SEO • Vrbo • Dell • IBM • Cox Automotive Group • Various startups • Conference speaker • Podcast host/guest • Austin Otaku • Webcology • Search Engine Journal • … and many more • Certified Scrum Master • Featured in Majestic’s SEO for 2022
  2. Dawn of the Internet Moved to ATL – Internet Startup

    Graduated University NewEra Co. Job First Layoff Second Layoff Learned more tech Third Layoff Holy crap! I know SEO! Moved to AUS Fourth Layoff HomeAway BDX SpareFoot Dell seoClarity NewEra Co. Job, Part 2 Started speaking at conferences Fifth Layoff IBM More speaking gigs SEJ Master Class My Journey in Search AMD CAPG First Patent Freelance Copyediting and Technical Writing Computerjobs.com
  3. Presentation Disclaimer Opinions expressed herein are my own. No forward-

    looking statements regarding Cox Automotive, Dealer.com or any subsidiary of Cox Enterprises have been included. None of Cox’s data, revenue, or secret sauce have been revealed. Statements made in this presentation have not been tested by the FDA. Use at your own discretion.
  4. The Dichotomy of Intent and Investment • I’ll outline some

    of the areas in which conflict arises • If these resonate with you, I’m not calling you out. Nearly every enterprise I’ve worked at has these conflicts • Both of these angels have sat on my shoulders
  5. Every Organization Wants an SEO Team However, many… • don’t

    now how to enable its success • don’t understand additional the costs • don’t understand its value • set themselves up to fail from the outset
  6. Ask yourself: Are you willing to fund an in-house SEO

    team, or should you hire an agency instead?
  7. Your Team Will Add to OPEX • Average On-Boarding Cost

    Per Employee: $6,000 to $20,000 • Add about 20% over salary costs for benefits • Factor in training costs for fresh SEOs • Recruitment costs to get high-level SEOs (probably from stable jobs) • Every OPEX cost is scrutinized for hard financial times.
  8. SEO is NOT Magic It needs the following to succeed:

    • Tools • Platforms • Development Budget • Executive Support and Priority • People
  9. Factor In Costs Beyond Pay (Tools) Tool/Platform Cost Ahrefs $100-$1000

    per month Majestic $50 - $100 per month Semrush $150-$500 per month Content King $40-$280 (Customer for Enterprise) per month OnCrawl Packages vary Lumar (formerly DeepCrawl) Packages vary Screaming Frog Free to $250 annually Platforms (Conductor, seoClarity, etc.) Expensive InLinks Free to $2K
  10. Factor In Costs (Development) Sprints Cost Money • 5 -

    Developers 1 - Product Owner 1/2 - Scrum Master 1/2 - Quality Assurance 1 – Other (Analyst, SEO, etc.) ----- 8 Scrum team members • 8 Team members with an average salary $80K ----- = Direct costs $640K * Indirect costs 30% ----- = Total costs $832K / 26 Sprints per year ----- = Personnel costs per sprint $32,000 • This is a VERY conservative estimate Source: The Product Coalition
  11. If these considerations and costs seem too much to commit

    to, hire an agency instead.* *This message has not been paid for by any agency or consultancy.
  12. How we communicate the needs of the site to leadership

    determines how well they are prioritized and funded.
  13. The Executive Lens for Gaining Priority Protect Grow Drive Efficiencies

    • Know your funnel • How does your work tie back to real-world value? • Some metrics to consider: • Average order value • Value per visit • Share of voice • Hourly personnel costs
  14. What Is Important to Your Company? • Your leadership will

    generally tell the company what its priorities are for the year • How do your top priorities align with the greater priorities? • Reframe yours to match theirs
  15. Priority Depends on the Executive Lens Company Type Lens Focus

    Startups and New Ventures 100% Grow Established Companies 50% Grow and 50% Protect Enterprise Organizations 10% Grow, 40% Protect, 50% Drive Efficiencies
  16. X: @keithgoode Mastodon: mastodon.social/@keithgoode Key Metrics to Know • Traffic

    (of course) • Ranking (of course) • Conversion Metrics • Revenue per Visit • Average Order Value • Conversion Rate by Channel • Share of Voice • Seasonality • Discovery/Crawl/Indexation
  17. Establish Confidence in Your Impact • Technical SEO • Crawlability

    – How does crawl efficience affect indexation and ranking? • Indexability – How does widening your site’s relevance with more content affect conversion rate? • Content • How do your content efforts address user intent and thereby revenue per visit? • How can you use Generative AI to drive efficiencies in the content creation process?
  18. Plot Your Work into the LOE/LOI Matrix • No unprioritized

    and unsized audits! • Map your requests to the appropriate quadrant to understand how to prioritize your work. • NOTE: Defects don’t go on this matrix. They’re prioritized first. Low Difficulty / High Benefit High Difficulty / High Benefit Low Difficulty / Low Benefit High Difficulty / Low Benefit
  19. Continually Refine and Update Your Roadmap • Always have your

    Top 3 initiatives ready for intake at any time: • Technical SEO • Content • Promotion • The goal is to be able to take advantage of any window that opens
  20. Show Off Your Successes When You Get Priority Success leads

    to more success. When one of your projects is funded or you’re enabled to hire the staff you need, share related successes. This keeps you on their radar and shows that investing in you is wise.
  21. Sometimes you reach a decision point: to stay with an

    organization that won’t fund you or move on to an organization that will.
  22. Irreconcilable Differences • Know the value of your skillset •

    Know the value of your time • Weigh the impact of stress vs. your peace of mind • Recognizing when you’re wearing “golden shackles”
  23. It is not your job to force your leadership to

    make the right choices regarding the company’s online successes. The best you can do is offer them well-reasoned and data- driven recommendations.
  24. • Executive Leadership – Invest wisely and understand all the

    costs associated with having an SEO team • SEOs – Filter your requirements and needs through the Executive Lens • Measure, Estimate, and Promote your work using language that appeals to that Executive Lens • Understand your value and know when to share your skills where you can gain priority