SEO Isn’t Just SEO

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Investing in internal SEO resources, whether through consultants, software, or agencies, while setting specific organic search goals, is commendable.

However, what’s less than ideal is allocating a budget for a solution only to discover later on that additional expenses are required. Nobody enjoys unexpected change orders or having to request more funds than initially anticipated.

Whether you’re an in-house SEO specialist, a marketing manager, or someone overseeing digital marketing performance encompassing SEO, it’s crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of the resources necessary for success. Your marketing plan must encompass all these resources to effectively achieve your goals.

SEO isn’t a standalone endeavor—it intersects with various disciplines and requires input from multiple decision-makers. In this article, I’ll outline 10 essential considerations to prevent surprises like change orders or unforeseen expenses as you strive to attain your SEO objectives.

1. Executive & Management Support

It’s crucial to recognize that the scope of SEO extends beyond roles explicitly labeled as “SEO.” Hence, it’s essential to begin by ensuring that your management or leadership team comprehensively understands and backs SEO initiatives.

Your aim should be to convey that SEO entails complexities beyond its name and that they need to grasp these intricacies, along with associated expenses, to facilitate your success. This entails understanding realistic goals, expectations, and resource requirements to drive effectiveness.

While your boss doesn’t necessarily need to be an SEO expert, their awareness and support of your comprehensive needs are indispensable. This encompasses the items outlined in this list and potentially more.

2. Developed Products Or Services

Investing time, technology, and expertise into SEO can be challenging when faced with gaps in product development, a lack of proven sales, or a brand lacking clear strategy.

In the absence of these essential elements, you may find yourself chasing a moving target or striving for unrealistic goals.

Optimizing a website and generating traffic, along with creating relevant content, requires significant effort.

It’s crucial not to squander this effort by focusing on irrelevant topics or content that doesn’t align with your goals.

Constantly retesting audiences or altering targeting and goals can incur significant expenses, essentially resetting progress frequently.

3. Legal & Compliance

I understand the significance of legal reviews, adherence to guidelines, and compliance within industries and companies. It’s crucial to ensure that everything is executed correctly.

However, SEO professionals sometimes overlook these aspects. This includes understanding what can and cannot be published on a website, the lead times required, or the complete process for getting content and web updates approved.

Although not directly related to SEO, these considerations can significantly impact its effectiveness. Industries such as healthcare and financial services often have rigorous legal and compliance processes that must be integrated into SEO plans. This encompasses factors like timing and associated costs.

4. Content

I’ve encountered some incredibly talented SEO professionals who excel in copywriting.

In smaller companies, it’s common for individuals to juggle multiple roles. Thus, you might find the same person handling SEO strategy, tactical implementation, and content creation aligned with the SEO strategy.

However, crafting content involves a unique blend of art and science that may extend beyond the typical SEO skill set.

For effective implementation of the plan and achieving success across the entire customer journey and objectives, individuals with titles not explicitly related to SEO often play a crucial role.

Recognizing the significance of content and knowing how to invest in it, whether by leveraging an in-house writer or external resources, is essential, given that content plays a significant role in SEO.

5. UX

The responsibilities of an SEO professional don’t simply end once a user clicks through from a search engine result to the website. In reality, that’s often just the beginning of the journey. With the user now on your site, they navigate through your funnel or customer journey towards actions that facilitate conversion and meet your ultimate objectives.

Unfortunately, some SEO professionals or agencies solely focus on reporting SEO metrics and leave it at that. This approach can be frustrating because it leaves clients and companies to piece together the bigger picture on their own.

Moreover, there’s often a disconnect between SEO, user experience (UX), and web development. Without anyone actively considering or implementing conversion rate optimization (CRO) testing and strategies on the website, there’s a significant gap between these teams.

While it’s important for a website to be visually appealing, accessible, and engaging, it’s equally crucial to integrate content, page experience, and conversion flow strategies. Typically, SEO professionals aren’t responsible for site design, page layouts, or aesthetics, nor should they be, as I acknowledge as an SEO professional myself.

6. Dev & IT

Often, the necessity for individuals in development and/or IT roles goes hand in hand with UX considerations. Some technical SEO professionals possess expertise in navigating the backend of websites and server configurations.

Engaging in deep, nerdy conversations about this subject matter can be incredibly rewarding.

However, even if an SEO expert is well-versed in this domain, most companies have strict controls in place, with dedicated in-house or contracted roles and checks and balances.

Despite having a superb website and all the content management system (CMS) controls necessary for on-page optimization, there inevitably arises a need for development support. Whether it involves implementing changes to content architecture by relocating pages, altering URL structures, or setting up redirects, or optimizing page experience, it can pose a significant obstacle if the budget or availability of resources isn’t accounted for in the plan.

7. Sales

While sales teams and individuals may not necessarily spearhead SEO strategy and tactics, the enduring gap between sales and marketing teams persists in many companies.

I advocate for actively involving salespeople and utilizing their insights in your endeavors. Establishing alignment is a fundamental objective, but garnering valuable feedback from sales personnel regarding content that resonates with prospects, understanding which SEO conversions translate into successful business deals, and so forth, is crucial for shaping your strategy and comprehensive optimization plan.

8. Your Clients/Customers

In addition to leveraging sales data, it’s equally important to engage with your clients or customers to enhance your SEO efforts.

Even with robust data from customer relationship management (CRM) systems that track contacts from initial touchpoints to lifetime value, gathering their perspectives remains invaluable.

In a landscape where our reliance on cookies and data is diminishing, closing the loop becomes even more critical. Establishing a plan, effective communication channels, and incentives to gather feedback from customers is essential. This feedback can then be used to refine targeting, strategy, and optimize the utilization of content and teams involved with the website.

9. Tech Stack

SEO heavily relies on technology to streamline many tasks and processes. Reflecting on my beginnings in SEO nearly two decades ago, I can’t help but chuckle at how much manual work I used to do in documents and spreadsheets, tasks that modern tools and technology accomplish within minutes today.

From essential research tools to advanced reporting platforms and the emergence of innovative AI-driven solutions, each component of your tech arsenal comes with its associated costs. While this might seem like an internal conversation for those entrenched in SEO, it’s crucial to emphasize the importance of investing in the right tools and technologies to optimize SEO efforts effectively.

It’s essential to communicate to decision-makers that, alongside other necessary resources, allocating additional budget for your tech stack is imperative for maximizing SEO performance and staying competitive in the digital landscape.

10. Your Own Skills/Team Investment

Just like investing in your tech infrastructure, as an SEO professional, you’ll find it essential to allocate resources for personal and team development.

The field of SEO is evolving rapidly, perhaps even faster than before. If you’re the sole expert or one of a few in your organization, working in isolation can hinder progress.

Therefore, it’s crucial to allocate personal development funds towards joining peer networks, attending conferences, undergoing expert training, or enhancing your skills in any necessary areas.


SEO relies heavily on individuals who may not hold explicit “SEO” titles.

As an in-house SEO manager, you’ll require support from various other roles, often involving both personnel and financial resources, to effectively execute strategies and achieve objectives.

Consider these eight distinct functions, along with the final two areas requiring investment, to ensure you’re adequately prepared for the comprehensive expenses associated with SEO. Whether you’re involved in budget allocation, responsible for managing the budget, or simply tasked with ensuring SEO performance, gaining a comprehensive understanding at the project’s outset is paramount.

By comprehending all facets of the process, assessing the complete cost involved, understanding your return on investment equation, and orchestrating a well-coordinated plan, you can effectively navigate toward achieving your goals.

Original news from SearchEngineJournal