One of the most important things to recognize when talking about SEO education, especially on an enterprise level, is how a business’s approach and mentality towards SEO directly affects its success. Often, the misconception surrounding SEO has to do with its implementation. People have a tendency to view SEO solely as a set of tactics or tricks that can be employed in a compartmentalized way, and this is where there is a gap between recognizing the importance of SEO in the abstract and creating a clear operational strategy that results in a real impact.
One way to better understand how integral an SEO strategy needs to be to every aspect of a business is to use the acronym RICM, which stands for Roadmaps/Roadblocks, Investment, Coaching, and Management. Essentially, RICM provides a strategic map for how to approach SEO on a macro level. Companies need to identify potential problems and solutions, determine how to put real resources to work, devise strategies that produce a maximum impact, and create an environment from the top down that integrates SEO consciousness across teams and departments.
The tricky part is that there is no single correct answer that guarantees results. There are too many data points, too many constant changes in the SEO industry, and too many other factors to distill an SEO strategy down to a list of objective steps that will work for everyone. And this is precisely why SEO education is so essential. Only by gaining a broader understanding of the SEO ecosystem can one begin to effectively carve out their place in it.
SEO Education Strategy: RICM
Roadmaps and Roadblocks
Roadmaps and roadblocks represent the first steps of an SEO strategy: figuring out where you need to go, how to get there, and what may come up along the way. This includes learning how to identify short-term and long-term SEO goals, acknowledging the obstacles that may stand in the way of meeting those goals, and crafting strategies for how to deal with them.
Investment means putting money where your SEO mouth is. Once you have established the goalposts, it’s time to put players on the field. Businesses must learn how to invest in SEO: where to put dollars and other resources, what tools to use, and who to hire in order to effectively mobilize their SEO strategy.
Coaching must be implemented on a day-to-day level. SEO education must provide the tools for leadership to be able to bring out the best in their SEO teams and set up their pool of analytical talents for success. This involves the ability to coach teams from a micro and a macro level so that effective adjustments can be made within the broader overall strategy.
SEO education for management is about making SEO a part of your business culture. This involves how to best communicate with the board, with investors, and with your teams about these SEO strategies. When it comes to scaling and securing an effective SEO program, getting everyone on board is the best way to permeate SEO awareness and mobilization companywide.
Who Needs to be Educated?
Now that we have an idea of what needs to be covered in the SEO education space, we need to look at who specifically needs to be educated. SEO education materials should be designed to support different facets of the SEO ecosystem to help them thrive.
Management: Management education is about integrating SEO into a business from the leadership down. A whole set of knowledge and curriculum needs to be present to help these individuals in management feel capable of providing the feedback, guidance, and direction necessary for SEO to work. Education at this level should articulate why an organization needs to embrace SEO and provide leadership with the tools to prioritize organic growth goals appropriately.
Practitioners – SEO education materials for SEO practitioners should provide a roadmap for how to support those working on the front line of your business’s SEO strategy, including marketing teams, content producers, and technical product teams. Education materials should give these SEOs the necessary tools to succeed and provide specialized knowledge about how the rest of the ecosystem can support their efforts.
Cross-functional teams – SEO education must also show how to integrate SEO across teams so that everyone is working in concert to achieve goals. This includes how to evangelize SEO throughout a company, how to distribute role-specific knowledge, and how to empower SEO teams to scale organic growth.
SEO Education Best Practices: Communication
While these strategies represent a broad template for tackling SEO education within an enterprise, the specifics may vary significantly. There is no perfect formula for SEO success, and understanding and learning from what works and what doesn’t is a crucial part of the process. That brings us to one of the most important best practices in the world of SEO: communication.
How and what SEOs and managers communicate is a critical aspect of SEO operations. What people need to know and how to use that information goes far beyond simple data reports and analytics. Effective communication is equal parts substance and distribution. You need to know what feedback to provide your team and how to offer it in a beneficial way.
One of the best ways to practice good communication is to utilize a variety of channels. People respond to different types of interaction in different ways, so applying multiple methods of communication is key to maximizing absorption. Slack channel updates, email summaries, newsletters, and video resources are all effective methods of providing both content and accessibility.
On the flip side of this, documentation is also critical to engagement. Recording and addressing frequent questions and common problems is a great way to streamline SEO education while also freeing up your SEO team from having to answer an endless thread of emails about the same thing. In addition, steady documentation can also provide the constant feedback necessary for teams to learn SEO in real time, so they can see what’s working, what isn’t, and why. By employing different types of education initiatives, such as static knowledge-based resources, operational health reporting for websites, and interactive resources, you can reach people who thrive in a variety of learning styles.
When it comes to SEO education, variety is the spice of life. Utilizing a range of content, taking a varied approach toward implementation, and providing periodic feedback and check-ins will allow you to Always Be Educating in the SEO space.