If you’re in a competitive space, the battle for top rankings is fought in a battle with other, similar business models. The difference between ranking one and two can sometimes be a result of length in the space, but in a long-term effort to secure top rankings, wins come to those companies that can scale their SEO campaigns in the most efficient way possible, creating links, content and efficient strategies in the least expensive, most manageable way possible.
Whatever company can do this most effectively will most likely get the rankings, get the traffic and get the money, creating a turnover that means more money that can be spent on SEO and SEO processes, which creates a wider gap between one and two. Every business must do their best to grow their SEO efforts, get links and scale their campaign to win the battles that happen every day in the SERPs.
Here are just a few tips to get your scaling started so you can grow your SEO efforts to the top of the SERP ladder.
1. Hire well – and hire cheap. SEO campaigns have several layers, with each having various levels of experience required. Some of it is strategy intensive, with heavy experience required. Other parts simply require labor hours – parts like low quality content creation, article directories, rank tracking, and etc. These tasks shouldn’t be assigned to high-paid SEO vets, they simply need to be done. However, there’s enough required that you don’t want a McDonalds employee to be working the ship. Instead of craigslist, get on job boards at colleges and post for intern and part-time positions to fill these roles.
You’ll be able to get smart individuals who aren’t looking for career growth right away. You’ll have decent turnover, but getting three or four people doing the low-level tasks will enable you to weed out the less skilled at an inexpensive rate. For those who prove to be linchpins, you can offer full-time roles as SEO Analysts later down the line.
2. Build out in-house processes. Every time a task is performed, you should contemplate ways that you can refine and streamline that process so that you a) don’t have to do it again or b) do it faster. Implementing Standard Operating Procedures creates a company culture and a consistent standard, and also installs a methodology for future use. A few good suggestions for SEO process improvement we use at Single Grain are screen recording (Jing and Camtasia), for employee training videos, and information-architecture based organization formulated on usage frequency.
If you have a process that requires little brain power or any kind of data entry or repetition, you can build out a process to do it automatically. You’ll have initial sunk costs, but after that, your SEO campaigns will be that much more effective.
3. Outsource where necessary. SEO tools are numerous, and each one offers an opportunity to speed up a task. Instead of building out an application to do an SEO task, investigate the multitude of SEO tools available to see if someone has done it for you already. Most are free and offer a speedy alternative to doing the work yourself.
There are also several outsourcing websites you can use to get your more monotonous tasks done, quicker. Odesk, Elance, Textbroker and Mechanical Turk are all good options for your various SEO tasks. Rand Fishkin has a good post on SEOMoz about the strengths and weaknesses of each.
4. Put in the work. There is no instantaneous way to scale your SEO campaign. Many of the ways to do so come from working through a SEO campaign and uncovering the multitude of ways you can automate and outsource pieces of it efficiently. These differ depending on the vertical, but they all exist. Scaling intelligently comes with time putting in the man hours, understanding where you can scale, and immediately taking the steps to do so.
Those who continue to undergo data entry and repetitive tasks without urge to improve their processes will inevitably get left behind in the SERPs by those that chose to do so.
5. Test, rinse, repeat. Every time you implement a process or application to help with scaling, testing is crucial. If you miss even one minor detail, long-term problems can show their face in the future and cause you major stress. Undergoing strong quality assurance (QA) assessment procedures are important to make sure your scaling operations provide large positive ROI, not huge loss.
6. Think about hiring a SEO company. For many internet businesses, hiring on an external SEO company may be your best bet for immediate return on investment. Strong SEO companies already have all of the above standards in place, and since they have already done the work of refining the processes to reduce cost, their mark-up for profit will actually make it preferable for you to outsource to them rather than hire internally. Building out a SEO team is time-intensive and may take years to turn into an efficient, thriving machine, so using an external panel of SEO experts may provide the highest positive return.
While an external SEO company is doing your work, think about hiring an internal SEO intern or a relatively inexperienced SEO to begin the build out internally. Be wary, though, as losing long-term focus can turn this process into a time and money leech. Ask your SEO company for advice on how to do this, if they’re value-focused and are looking out for your best intentions, they will supply good advice on how to turn your external SEO hires into internal operations.