When everyone works together, SEO just works

Ian Lurie

SEO works best when everyone works together: Creative, PR, social media, writers and yes, the SEO team.

I’ve preached that for years. But it almost never happens. The PR agency ignores us. The dev team smiles like they just smelled sour milk and then leaves. The branding team holds up relevant holy symbols and backs out of the room. And I spend much of my day justifying, pleading, begging and cursing my way towards an aneurysm I’ll no doubt have around age 50.

Every now and then, though it all falls into place, and you get a fantastic demonstration of just how much butt a company can kick if they get everyone working together. This is one of those times.

So I’m going to brag. Deal with it.

The plot

Last week one of our clients, Full Circle, launched their service in Boise, Idaho. They wanted to make a decent-sized splash. We wanted to start moving up in the rankings. They do organic produce delivery. It didn’t take a keyword research genius to realize we needed to rank for phrases like “Boise organic produce delivery”.

We get rolling

Full Circle and their PR agency, Brotherton Strategies, put together a press release. They wrote the press release with their audience and SEO in mind. The title fully describes the release, and there are even links:

Full Circle press release, SEO-ready

At the same time, we created a set of dedicated Boise-related pages for their site:

Full Circle page for Boise

Instead of making these ‘orphaned’ PPC landers, though, we connected them to the rest of the site, too. Full Circle’s team let us move around the site and add links here and there to ensure the page had parents.

I find new friends

I’ve never met 75% of the people involved with the Boise launch. But they’re all my friends forever:

  • The PR agency told us when the press release would hit the wire.
  • They coordinated with us regarding outreach. We contacted some bloggers and influencers, and they contacted others. We used a Google spreadsheet to track progress.
  • Full Circle’s team bought a Living Social deal in Boise, timed for the launch.
  • Everyone responded near-instantly regarding copy drafts, page designs and strategy.

It works! It really, really works!

A quick look at today’s rankings shows Full Circle dominating the rankings. I don’t think this’ll last—there’s some audition effect, plus the third-party pages will fall off after a while. But it’s sure a nice way to launch in a new city. Here are the rankings for “Boise produce delivery:”

Organic produce delivery rankings: SEO victory!

And “Boise organic produce delivery:”

Organic produce delivery rankings: SEO victory!

It was easy

Here’s the thing: With everyone in communication, working together, it was easy. OK, the Portent account manager on the project will probably club me to death for saying that. But it was fairly straightforward. Minimal drama. It seemed almost… routine. If everyone works together, SEO works, too. Imagine.

Now I’ve doomed us. I actually said that something went well. I’m knocking wood. spitting over my left shoulder, throwing salt over my right and saying kinna hurra four times. Remember, when Google suddenly adopts a “pesticides-only” policy bans all of my client because of their association with organic produce, it’s not my fault.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at www.ianlurie.com

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  1. Ian,
    I agree “When everyone works together, SEO just works” though unless you work with a company who only wants results but doesn’t grasp the concept of with teamwork comes results. It can be hard in that situation, but when the communication is there with limited drama it’s a lot more enjoyable when you see the turn out.
    Great post!
    – Devin

  2. I remember when I first came online how much SEO scared me. As a content writer I had to pick up the skills quickly. Then I wasn’t just scared of how to do SEO I got scared about the Search Engines blocking my content. It has really been this year that I feel that I get why we do it and why it makes user experience better.
    I started studying Information Architecture and Usability and it has given me a lot of insight into why SEO works the way it does. In the end good SEO practice is good for you because it means people can easily find information without thinking to hard. I really would like to see more campaigns that can come together like this. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. Hi Ian,
    I cannot agree more. SEO requires information delivery across the digital landscape of a business to convey relevance. If all business units within the company are in alignment on the corporate goals, then access and green lights to the necessary areas of this infrastructure make it easy to optimize and rank higher. SEO should is an essential to all things concerning business.

  4. @Susan I think that as SEOs we need to learn a lot about all of the disciplines we touch. Studying information architecture and usability was a smart move on your part, and it really makes it easier to bring everything together. Nice!

  5. Nice post Ian!
    Please notice that your Facebook meta og codes contain the info of the homepage for all pages.

  6. I like this. While I’ve slowly been rolling out our SEO value adds one at a time, it makes sense to do these massive bursts of SEO valuable actions as well.
    SEO is a lot like building your lung capacity:
    Sprinting’s great, long distance is cool, but the best runs for building your lung capacity involves going on a long run and having multiple sprint-bursts during your run.

  7. Great article. When you get all cylinders (in this case teams) firing at the same time It’s magical.
    I especially like the mention about how you did your outreach. Targeted, personalized and relevant Outreach is key. Having good tools that allow to find the best partners, complete your outreach, record the conversation, and the track the links is valuable.

  8. Ian great job on dominating the SERPs so quickly. That really shows the power of everybody working together. I especially like your idea of using Google Docs to get everybody coordinated. Thanks for the advice.

  9. Ian, I agree with this post with all my heart. In all aspects of business or in life things are always more successful when unity is established and everyone works together. I would like to add that another important piece of everyone working together is the sales team. If the account manager and sales rep are on the same page and the rep knows how to let the client know exactly how the SEO will be done, you will have a happy client and manager.
    Great post, thanks for the examples.

  10. Ian, thank you for your great post. You are definitely correct in that SEO campaigns can be much smoother when it is looked upon as a team effort. I find that it just doesn’t make business sense to take on clients with completely unrealistic goals…concentrate on the customers who will benefit and who you can deliver a high ROI.

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