Enterprise SEO is not an island unto itself. In a medium-sized or large company, it's nearly impossible for a single person or team to control everything related to optimizing the website, developing content, promotion, and analysis. Too many other people have decision-making abilities, competing priorities, or veto power over the strategic and tactical levers that the SEO needs to do their job well.
Whether you are an SEO agency, consultant, or in-house practitioner, here are the people that you need to buddy up to:
Public Relations Manager
Potentially your best friend when you get to the link building and content promotion phase of your SEO campaign, the PR team is essentially the mouthpiece of the company. Take advantage of their expertise and connections to help get the word out about new site features, company news, or any other newsworthy content.
Bonus Tip: Increasingly, PR folks are getting involved in social media and search-optimized press releases. Don't miss the opportunity to partner with them to increase your reach.
Who controls the website infrastructure and design? Sometimes it's a Marketing function, other times it's managed with IT resources. Get to know the decision-makers and figure out how you can influence their processes. They are gatekeepers to any on-site changes that need to be made. Given the pressures they are already facing with their jobs, you can bet that SEO is going to come in direct competition with some of their priorities and success metrics.
Bonus Tip: Recognizing and showing genuine appreciation for the work your designers and programmers put in goes a long way towards building a two-way relationship.
Senior-level marketing officers have the clout to bust through any obstacles that get in your way. The challenge is aligning their visions, objectives, and metrics with yours. Convince them that SEO is an efficient and effective way to make them look good and you will never have trouble getting buy-in or approvals from other marketing people that used to get in your way.
Bonus Tip: Build a strong business case for SEO by projecting results based on the metrics that matter most to the bottom line. Present different potential outcomes based on the level of resources committed to SEO.
Your Pay Per Click advertising specialists face many of the same challenges that you do. Share information and analytics for traffic volume, conversion data, pricing, competitive movement, landing page strategy, and keyword selection. By aligning your goals and looking for overlaps in strategies and tactics, you may be able to make each others' lives much easier.
Bonus Tip: Offer to help optimize PPC landing pages for higher Quality Scores. This will help them achieve lower Costs Per Click and improve their KPI's.
If you have access to top-line rankings, traffic, and conversion data as the SEO, good for you. Chances are your friends on the Consumer Insights (Analysis, Strategy, etc.) teams have even more sales, revenue, and forecasting information that can help you make decisions, guide your SEO strategy, and realize results.
Bonus Tip: Analysts often have the ear of senior management and can be a strong advocate for your SEO program if you can demonstrate its positive results. To do this, you need the data!
How To Get Their Attention
Approach #1: Persistence pays off. Show a genuine interest in their work and help them look good.
Approach #2: If Approach #1 fails, bribes often do the trick. Think beer or baked goods.
Approach #3: I'm not a big fan of this, but sometimes you just have to go over their head.