This is the 16th installment this year of our Deep Dive Into Local series. For the week ending Monday, May 9th, Mary Bowling and Mike Blumenthal shared their thoughts about the previous week in local. The complete video, including links and commentary on critical happenings of the previous week is posted in the Local U forums (paywall). In the second half of that video, they take a deeper strategic and tactical dive into one interesting area that caught their attention during the week.
In this discussion, Mary and Mike discuss the role of the Local SEO at larger companies and why they need to be integrated into the larger marketing and web development projects.
Mike: So with that, why don’t we move into our Deep Dive? And this is really based on that article you referenced in Search Engine Land. So why don’t you lead off, Mary?
Mary: Okay, so most of us in local search have worked with medium to large size, to huge size brands every once in a while. And in my experience, I have not yet run into a brand that does a really good job of integrating their SEO with the other departments in the company. And that PR-SEO, that really is a match made in heaven, with both organizations working towards the same goal. But in most cases, they’re completely different departments. They don’t even talk to each other.
Mike: And not just PR and SEO, but PR, SEO, and social. Social ends up in its own little silo as well, right? I mean, if they’re not going to be — and it doesn’t make sense to me to have SEO as a subdivision of your web development, which is typically where it is, right? It’s not that web development shouldn’t be responsive, particularly when the site is built to the technical issues. It’s that SEO has become significantly more than that, and even if they are in that department, they should be seated right next to each other.
To some extent, PR has to understand the technical value of semantic search. And SEOs have to understand the intrinsic value of publicity and marketing. And I think that they really have to learn each other’s skill set to some extent and bring social into that mix, so that the three of them, the three groups, are functioning cohesively for unified direction that helps off- and online, right?
Mary: Yeah, I agree. I mean, the way this all happened was everybody got a website, and then they figured out they needed SEO, and it never came together as to online marketing and what it takes to have a really cohesive marketing plan that includes online marketing. And I know of one big brand that even has its own charitable foundation that has a huge budget that it can use to not just help its clientele or its customer base, but also to get links to promote the business further and to help the business rank better in the search results.
Mike: All right. And even with offline PR, right? Google has gotten a whole lot better at picking…I mean, obviously, it has to make its way online at some point. But Google is looking to understand offline prominence. So those types of articles that are now making their way to the regular press online have a huge impact, particularly in local, on rank and relevance and long tail — all of this. All of the technical things that we deal with in SEO are impacted by anybody that’s outputting information, whether it’s social, whether it’s PR, or whether it’s a charitable organization. Absolutely.
You just wonder sometimes. I mean, I see SEO people that are sort of stuck, and they can hardly influence the web dev people, because they made some CMS choice that doesn’t function very well. So it’s like, why have this person there if they don’t have a role in the functional marketing? That’s hard for me to understand.
Mary: I know, it almost seems as if they need to completely reorganize what they’re doing as far as marketing is concerned and make sure that they’re including all of the things that go into marketing, which is much more than just SEO or public relations, and getting them to all work together. I mean, that’s what big brands have going for them, is all these — this huge amount of resources, PR departments, big budgets, websites with huge domain authority. And they’re not using it to their advantage, and most of the time I see it’s because of internal politics and people vying for control of different things.
Mike: We talked about this several weeks ago. I think it was Timberland that was doing a good job of making good materials available to their local resellers. But there’s an example of trying to create cohesion between one of the remote nodes and the central thing. And I think that happens in social a lot, too, where social, PR, and SEO, and the website people should all be functioning together. It’s incomprehensible to me that they’re not. Go figure. Anything else?
Mary: No, I think that’s it.
Mike: Alright. Well, with that, we’ll call it a wrap, and we’ll look forward to seeing you next week.