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SEO Isn’t Just SEO

Discover the complete SEO-related picture for successful digital marketing performance with this detailed guide.

Investing in SEO resources internally with consultants, software, or agencies with specific organic search goals in mind, is awesome.

What isn’t awesome is budgeting for and  “buying” something and then finding out that you need to pay more and buy even more things later.

Everyone hates change orders, new budget requests, and having to go back and ask for more than they thought was needed.

If you’re an in-house SEO or marketing manager – or someone who has accountability over digital marketing performance that includes SEO – you need to know the full picture of what is necessary to be successful and ensure that your marketing plan includes all the resources needed to meet your goals.

SEO isn’t something that can be done in a silo, on an island (metaphorically), or alone. It requires a lot of other disciplines and decision-makers.

In this article, I will share the 10 things you need to consider so you don’t get surprised with change orders or new expenses down the road in order to reach your SEO goals.

1. Executive & Management Support

As I unpack all the things that go into SEO that don’t typically include a job title that has “SEO” in it, it is important to start with the fact that your management or leadership team needs to fully understand and support SEO.

You must make sure they understand that SEO isn’t just SEO; they should have a grasp of the complexities of SEO and other necessary expenses, at least to the degree required for you to be successful.

That includes understanding reasonable goals, expectations, and resource requirements to be effective.

You don’t have to have a boss who is an SEO nerd, but you do need them to be aware and supportive of your full-scale needs, which includes the items that follow on this list – and maybe more.

2. Developed Products Or Services

With the investment of time, technology, and expertise that SEO requires, it is hard to do if there are gaps in product development, a lack of demonstrated sales, or a brand that lacks strategy and clarity.

Without any of those key ingredients, you might have a moving target or find yourself trying to achieve unreasonable goals.

The website you are optimizing and driving traffic to and the content you create for it can take a lot of work.

You don’t want to waste that work focusing on the wrong topics and content relevance you’re trying to build.

It can be expensive to retest audiences or constantly change your targeting and goals, essentially having to start over all the time.

3. Legal & Compliance

I understand the reasons for legal reviews, guidelines, and compliance within industries and companies. Ensuring that everything is done right is important.

However, it is something that SEO pros don’t think about at times.

Whether it is knowing what you can and can’t publish on the site, the lead times needed, or the full process for getting content and web updates through the process, this is another area that isn’t exactly SEO, but can have a big impact on it.

Industries like healthcare, financial services, and much more can expect to have a pretty stringent legal and compliance process, and it has to be factored into SEO plans, including anything ranging from timing to costs involved.

4. Content

I know some super-talented SEO professionals who are great copywriters.

In smaller companies, people often wear multiple hats. So the same person might be working on SEO strategy and tactical implementation, including writing copy and content connected to the SEO strategy.

However, the art and science of creating content can often be well outside of the skillset of doing SEO.

When it comes to implementing the plan and seeing content all the way through to success for the full customer journey and goals/objectives, people with titles that don’t include SEO are often needed.

Understanding where content fits and how to invest in it outside of the SEO roles is crucial – whether it involves an in-house writer or an external resource –  as content is a big part of SEO.

5. UX

An SEO pro’s job typically isn’t finished when a user clicks through from a search engine result to the website.

In fact, that’s often when the excitement starts. The user is now on your site, moving through your funnel or customer journey towards the actions that will help them convert and reach your end goals.

Yes, some SEO pros, agencies, etc, only report on “SEO” metrics and stop there. That’s frustrating to me, as I see too many clients and companies left to connect the dots on their own.

Then, there’s a disconnect between SEO, UX, and web development.

If there’s no one thinking about or implementing any conversion rate optimization (CRO) testing and thinking on the website, then there’s a big gap between all of the teams.

Yes, we want the site to be beautiful, accessible, and engaging.

We have to merge together the content, page experience, and conversion flow thinking – and SEO folks aren’t typically given the keys to the site design, page layouts, and aesthetics (nor should they be  – I admit as an SEO professional).

6. Dev & IT

Often going hand in hand with UX is the need for people in dev and/or IT roles.

Some technical SEO pros know their way around the back end of sites and server configurations.

There’s nothing better than a deep, nerdy conversation about this subject matter.

However, even if the SEO expert knows their stuff in this area, most companies have things locked down, with dedicated in-house or contracted roles with checks and balances in place.

Even if you have a great website and all the content management system (CMS) controls you might want for doing on-page optimization, there seems to inevitably be a development need.

Whether it is the implementation of content architecture changes with moving pages, changing URL structures, and implementing redirects, or the need to optimize page experience, it can be a big blocker if you don’t have the budget or availability of these resources in your plan.

7. Sales

Sales teams and people don’t need to be drivers of SEO strategy and tactics.

However, the age-old disconnect between sales and marketing teams is still very real in many companies.

I encourage making an effort to include salespeople and leverage them in your work.

Getting on the same page is a baseline goal, but getting valuable feedback from salespeople on content that resonates with prospects, what SEO conversions are turning into “won” business, etc., is important to help shape your strategy and overall optimization plan.

8. Your Clients/Customers

Similar to how sales can be a great resource for downstream data to help shape your SEO efforts, you should also be talking to your clients or customers.

Even if you have the best data in your customer relationship management (CRM) or systems in place tracking a contact from first touch point to lifetime value, there’s still value in getting their perspective.

In a world where our cookies and data are going away, closing the loop is even more important.

Having a plan, communications, and incentives in place to get feedback from customers is vital so you can use that to refine your targeting, strategy, and better leverage content and teams involved with the website.

9. Tech Stack

SEO relies on technology to do a lot of heavy lifting.

I laugh when I think back to my start in SEO nearly 20 years ago and how many things I did manually back then in documents and spreadsheets that tools and technology do in minutes today.

The research tools you need, reporting platforms, and even the new and exciting AI tools all have costs attached to them.

I know I’m not talking about people here who are outside of SEO, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention your tech stack and needs, as you don’t want to be hamstrung by not being able to invest in the right tools you need to do the best SEO possible.

Make sure that those who are making the SEO investment decisions know that, beyond the other resources you need from other functions, you also need additional dollars for the tech stack.

10. Your Own Skills/Team Investment

Similar to the investment in your tech stack, if you’re an SEO pro, you’re going to want and need more resources to invest in yourself and your team.

SEO is moving as fast as ever (if not faster).

If you’re the only person/people in your organization who understand it, you’re in a vacuum.

You’re going to want to get or leverage personal development dollars to join peer networks, attend conferences, get expert training, or level up however you want and need to.


SEO requires a lot of people who don’t have titles that include “SEO.”

As an in-house person accountable for SEO, you need a lot of other functions that include people (and likely dollars as well) to get the job done and meet your goals.

Consider these eight specific functions and the last two areas of investment to make sure you’re prepared for the true cost of SEO. Whether you get to be part of a budgeting process, own the budget, or have expectations of how SEO will perform, it’s critical to have a full understanding from the start of a project.

Understand all the parts and pieces, the full cost of the effort, know your ROI equation, and run a smooth plan to get to your goals!

More resources:

Featured Image: baranq/Shutterstock

Category SEO
VIP CONTRIBUTOR Corey Morris President / CEO at Voltage

Corey is the owner and President/CEO of Voltage. He has spent nearly 20 years working in strategic and leadership roles ...

SEO Isn’t Just SEO

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