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Join me at BrightEdge 2013 in a few days, where I’ll present a briefing focused on considerations to improve global and mobile SEO performance and then be part of a great panel with industry leaders, including Jason Tabeling from Rosetta, Ken Yamada from Gap, and Chuo-Han Lee from Symantec.

BrightEdge recently released its latest innovation, Content Optimizer. This product integration of BrightEdge with Adobe Experience Manager helps content authors optimize new content for search rankings, traffic, and conversions as new content is authored. It is also becoming part of Adobe’s efforts to inject strategic innovation into our SEO process. I intend to discuss four points that address the ever-increasing challenges of SEO to meet the rapidly shifting perceptions and needs of our customers around the world.

First, an innovative SEO organizational concept to support global and mobile SEO must be established. The need to innovate recognizes that change is afoot and new ideas are needed to embrace that change effectively. It also means that my organization of today will not get the job done without frequent intervention and direction being given. As a manager, we prefer our organizations to function on automatic pilot as much as possible with clear roles and responsibilities as well as clear ownership of products and initiatives. Managerial intervention should be the exception, not the norm. The manager should be able to monitor performance via established key performance indicators (KPIs) on a daily dashboard summary of data collected overnight. SEO must operate at the velocity, volume, and variety of social in order to adjust and adapt effectively to changing customer needs and perceptions. This fact alone speaks volumes to the need to develop strategies and products that can span the global delivery platform inventory of desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone screens in localizing our SEO product to the country, region, and ethnic culture we are trying to reach. These are the key questions we must ask to insure we identify the top markets with the greatest potential and how to operate in the marketing segment.

Second, the customer must be offered a value proposition in the SEO content marketing effort. Value to the customer can come from many sources. You can educate the customer, be a source of answers for customer questions, and geolocate your SEO product to provide focused, local content about your brand, to name a few. The key point to be made here is that your brand, through the SEO effort, must obtain value in return. Of course, you want to make the return value as subtle and clever as you can so as to not appear to be doing the hard sell, but the bottom line is that your brand must develop differentiation and a competitive edge in the market. I like to refer to it as creating unfair advantage over my competition. What are some questions to ask your team in making this a reality?

Third, there are specific resources and capabilities needed to allow SEO to innovate and change in addressing the changing needs and perceptions of the customer. Once again, the three V’s of social marketing comes to bear. SEO must innovate to match the velocity, volume, and variety of feedback that will be received via corporate-owned websites, social media product pages, and paid search campaigns—Yes, SEO must integrate with paid search in gleaning critical information about the market segment and audience. Information (data) is the raw material, and data analytics is the power to make that information work for you in driving your SEO program. Budgets must be established to build attributional models that identify audience, market, and feedback in real time. SEO organizations must be optimized for speed and empowerment to act, without waiting for permission. SEO products must be scalable and flexible to shift from platform to platform seamlessly and easily in the global sphere of business.

Fourth, how do you sustain competitive advantage once it has been achieved? Ah yes, what is the secret sauce? I obviously can’t share exactly WHAT we do. However, I will allude to HOW we do it. This comes down to a heavy focus on leadership, strategy, integration, and organization. You need to ask yourself these questions as the global manager of SEO:

  • Is your team encouraged, empowered, and rewarded for innovative thinking?
  • Are you aligned well with the larger organization’s product and service goals and objectives? And do you have a strategy in place to capitalize on this?
  • Do your internal team business practices provide a process, path, and effective means to learn from ongoing operations, fast track feedback into actionable tasks to optimize your SEO plans, and provide for attribution so you can identify whom your valuable team members are in making change happen?
  • Does your SEO plan have the capacity and agility to make changes quickly and effectively?

Competitive advantage is like military secrets in war. The other side is always collecting intelligence on you for the purpose of countering your advantage and mitigating the power you have over the situation. Business intelligence is a ruthless game, but knowing the rules of the game and how success is defined for you are clear paths to success.

I look forward to meeting many of you at BrightEdge Share 2013.

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