Great SEO Happens When You Keep Your Ego Out of It

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Being an outside SEO partner is always a little tricky, especially when you are working with a larger organization, because you aren’t physical in the office to help projects along. You have to rely on your point of contact at the client company (who hopefully doesn’t leave anytime soon!) to keep you up-to-date with what’s going in internally, and make sure you aren’t caught off guard by any major changes like a website redesign, new VP of Marketing, or change in the marketing messaging.

And while most of the people I work directly with in a larger company “get” SEO, it can sometimes be difficult getting the rest of their team on-board, especially when egos come into play.

One of my SEO clients was a large B2B company with numerous product divisions. Numerous product divisions means numerous product managers and I don’t even know how many chains of command. My point of contact was pretty high up in the food chain and should have been able to make the final call with regard to SEO. However, they constantly had to deal with the egos of the company’s product managers, each with their own agenda and opinion about how the company’s SEO campaign should work.

Obviously, each product manager had their own quotas to meet, so naturally, they believed their product should be the main focus of all the SEO and content marketing work. Optimizing the various sections of their site was almost always more complicated than it needed to be, because each product manager had their own idea of what the best keywords were (even if the number don’t back them up) and how their section of the site should “read” to human visitors and the search engines.

When we first started working with this company I suggested that the product managers take up some of the blog commenting and content writing (since they know their niche better than I could ever hope to), and start building relationships and links on great industry-specific sites.

My thought was, with a handful of product managers doing a little bit of link building, plus the work that my team was doing, we could really make a dramatic impact in a short time. The brand was very established and the site was well trusted. Since the company exists in so many niches, there were so many angles we could take and hundreds of keywords we could go after and see real results for in a short time. But guess what—no one wanted to do it because they didn’t see the value in it for themselves.

No value in it for you?

How about building your personal brand and authority in your niche? Commenting and contributing to industry blogs is a great way to help both your and the company reputation and connect with a wider target audience. By building your own authority, you become a trusted name in your niche, and that’s something you take with you wherever you go, no matter what company you work for.

And how about the fact that when the company at large does well, chances are your product will reap some of the benefits alongside it. But the individual managers were so focused on their product and their product alone that the company’s overall SEO progress was getting drowned in their egos.

In my opinion, egos and red tape are almost always the death of a great SEO campaign. When your site has everything going for it— a well-established brand, search engine trust, teams of experts and more—egos are just about the only thing that can hold you back.

The size of this company alone was a huge boon—they should have been producing content at a ridiculously quick rate for their site and dozens of other industry sites in every niche they operate in. But even getting the company blog off the ground proved to be difficult because everyone wanted a say in how the final product looked, making sure their niche was given its “fair share.” The project kept getting delayed and their SEO suffered because of it. It’s always so frustrating to watch companies get in their own way!

Small and mid-sized companies are not exempt from egos either. No matter how big or small your company is, egos can stop your SEO campaign from being great and where it could and should be!

Nick Stamoulis
Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing, a full service Boston SEO firm. With nearly 13 years of experience in the Internet Marketing industry, Nick Stamoulis shares his B2B SEO knowledge by contributing to the Brick Marketing Blog and publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter, read by over 160,000 opt-in subscribers.
Nick Stamoulis
Nick Stamoulis
Nick Stamoulis

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  • Chandler Bryson

    Good point Nick, egoistic human behavioral is very harmful for every industry. Helpful behavior by manager with rest of employees can make a great impact.

  • Robins

    Other way of looking at it is to play on their egos, take bull by the horns. I mean, you could have tried giving them an ego boost by making them work hard for their respective products. Run a contest for the most most shared/liked content, creativity, high ranking etc. I don’t disagree with you completely as I am not sure if this would have worked in this particular company, but just sharing a different perspective.

  • Jordan

    “It’s always so frustrating to watch companies get in their own way!”

    This is the truth. It’s so easy to let every little detail become a problem of its own. Time just flies by as opportunities vanish. This is a good reminder to always keep the ball moving and keep the content coming. I think educating managers and team members about the benefits of SEO also goes a long way as well.

  • Cameron Whitaker

    I’ve seen many times how the ego of a business that has grown has impacted their sites SEO and usability. You have too many chiefs who all want the website to say or include something which creates a confusing mish mash of a website that isn’t clear and creates a horrible user experience. Since a big part of the success of a site these days relates to user engagement and social signals this can dramatically impact search engine results.

  • Micro SEO Masters

    A very good another blog post Mr.Nick…

    Being in the SEO Business is twice as hard then any other…

    Thank you for the post…

  • Marc Chamberlain

    Do SEO campaigns ever really die, though? They have lows and highs, but unless someone cancels the project they live and breathe for a great while without every “dying”. They just get killed by people who don’t want to continue them.