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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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