It is the end of the year and most in-house SEOs have a bit of budget left – it’s use-it-or-lose-it-money. This article will help you identify great, useful, action-oriented ways to reinvest in your SEO program in a way that will help you throughout 2013.
SEO Conferences & Events – When we do SEO Organization Assessments, one of the key things we find in companies lacking a Best in Class SEO program is a lack of conference attendance. They read the major publications such as Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Journal. These are not enough in isolation, you need to attend conferences and talk to other people who have been in your shoes. This is why the In-house SEO Exchange is so useful, especially when it’s paired with the Search Marketing Expo conference (you get the best of both worlds!). The In-house SEO Exchange is an open-the-kimono in-house only event with an agenda driven by its attendees. Some SEOs attend 1-2 times a year. New for 2013 is a 2-day Enterprise-Level In-house SEO Exchange. Any of the these events would be a great use of budget and you can buy tickets today:
- March 11-12, 2013- SMX West– Super early bird pricing ends December 21, 2012
- March14, 2013 - In-house SEO Exchange at SMX West – Super early bird special ends December 21, 2012
- May 1-2, 2013- Enterprise Level In-house SEO Exchange
- June 11-12, 2013 - SMX Advanced (Tickets sell out for this event every year)
- June 13, 2013 - In-house SEO Exchange at SMX Advanced (Attracts some of the industry’s best in-house SEOs)
- October 1, 2013 - In-house SEO Exchange at SMX East
- October 2-3, 2013 - SMX East
Private/Custom Training – Book someone to come onsite and conduct SEO Training for the team or do a Webex-based training. Even SEOinhouse.com could fit in a few WebEx based trainings before 12/31, so likely many SEO companies can still fit this type of engagement into 2012. If you cannot fit in the training for 2012, you can prepare all the content in 2012 and have the training occur in early 2013. This allows you to spend 2012 budget on all or a portion of the work.
Online Training Tutorials – There are several online training tutorials that are great for filling even intermediate/senior level SEO knowledge gaps – there is always something to learn! Three great resources include: Instant eTraining, ClickZ Academy and for a limited time Pubcon has their conferences sessions available on video. If you have anyone on your team with 3 years or less SEO experience, sign them up, it will be worthy every dollar spent.
Tools - SEOmoz (though you should already have this in your toolbox) is a great resource. If you’re truly ready for enterprise-level tools consider Conductor, SEO Clarity and Bright Edge (note, these are big purchases and may not be something that can be done between now and 12/31/2012). Another tool on my radar lately is Linkdex a smaller/lighter version of Conductor and SEO Clarity, with a much lower price tag. They have a few very interesting charts, such as one that illustrates the different types of links (blogs, forums, directories, etc.) a specific site should have.
Have an External Consultant Review Your Standards/Guidelines – Too many SEO teams have either undocumented or incomplete SEO standards and/or guidelines - or worse, they are not written in a way that other groups can understand and easily extract what they need to worry about. This is especially useful for enterprise-level companies who have to distribute the SEO workload and have other teams execute SEO without the SEO team’s involvement on every little detail.
Get an SEO audit – A big intensive audit usually takes 4-6 weeks, a lighter audit can take 1-3 weeks (based on our experience). Based on these timelines, you could get a small audit and have it done by the end of the year (if you hurry), or get a bigger SEO audit and either pay for it all in advance.
Get a SEO Strategy and Roadmap for 2013 - Another big gap we see when conducting an SEO Organization Assessment is the lack of a clear strategy and SEO roadmap. A clearly documented and communicable strategy is vital for 2013, because everyone in the organization that influences the website needs to clearly understand the SEO strategy and roadmap so that they can account for it in their projects throughout 2013.
Have an Expert Review your 2013 Strategy for Comprehensiveness - If you already have a good start on your strategy, have an SEO expert who excels at strategy review your strategy, poke holes in it, challenge your thinking and expand on it to take 2013 to the next level. This would cost much less than outsourcing a full strategy and is ideal for companies with smaller amounts left in he 2012 budget.
Get a Social Media for SEO Audit & Strategy - In 2013, the bigger the disconnect between SEO and social, the bigger the competitive disadvantage you have. 2013 is the year when social becomes an even bigger impact on SEO rankings, if you have not figured this out, now is the time to start making things happen. Many companies keep SEO and Social silo’d in different departments. As a result, they do not have a shared strategy and social isn’t given direction from management to do the things needed to maximize potential in the organic search results. This is a huge gap and it seems the larger the company and marketing team, the bigger the gap.
Buy a Block of Consulting Hours for Q&A - Few companies really have the level of expertise to fly solo with SEO and would benefit from having a senior level SEO to discuss challenges, solutions, etc. on an as-needed basis. Most companies would avoid many SEO mistakes if they had just invested a few thousand dollars to talk to an SEO expert about their SEO challenges, new functionality, redesign, etc. before they began development. This could be a game-changer in terms of your knowledge and accuracy in 2013.
There are plenty of ways to use remaining 2012 budget that will position you better for an optimal 2013.
Let's talk about how to use your remaining 2012 budget in a way that will take 2013 to the next level. What most people call about at this time of year:
- SEO Technical Audit
- SEO Strategy and Roamdap
- SEO Training - custom, on-site or via WebEx
- SEO Organization Assessment