Ecommerce currently makes up a whopping 43% of Argos’ business and is predicted to surpass 50% by 2015, so managing the company’s search strategy is an incredibly important job.
Patmore currently has two people working for him internally and also outsources part of the process to NetBooster, but even then he said that managing on-site SEO remains a huge challenge.
Argos is a massive business with lots of moving parts. Doing the real core SEO becomes a massive challenge when you don’t have control of the site as a whole.
As a result, some things that are considered as standard best practice get missed.
Patmore explained that the SEO team is one small cog in a very big machine, so it's natural that his priorities are often seen as secondary to overall business priorities.
So to give himself the best chance of success Patmore spends a great deal of time educating other people about SEO and why it’s so important for the business. This requires a lot of patience, particularly when working for such a large company where there is a rigid process map that controls how things get done.
So with many potential barriers in place, here are Patmore’s tips for managing the SEO for a major company:
1. Which tactics are going to have the most impact?
It’s tricky to get SEO strategies implemented, so focus on the plans that are likely to have the most impact rather than wasting time and effort on less important issues.
2. Be brave and make predictions.
Though it’s incredibly difficult to do, Patmore says he has to make predictions and try to say what he thinks will happen when implementing his plans. It also helps to explain the potential negative impact if certain plans are ignored.
3. Talk about money.
SEOs need to talk about money and work out how much the business will get in return for each development. Only then will budget holders begin to take them seriously.
4. What is the competition doing?
Patmore said that one of his most successful tactics is to try to sell things in based on what the competitors are doing, as losing market share to other brands can seriously impact the bottom line.
5. Piggyback on other people's plans.
Other departments in the business will be carrying out their own development programs, so look for opportunities where you can improve the site’s SEO by piggybacking on other people’s plans.
6. Publicise your outreach programs internally.
A good SEO will be able to secure links and coverage from major publications, so shout about your achievements as press coverage reflects well on the SEO team as well as gaining results.
7. Know your business inside out.
Make sure that you know the business inside out, including its current strategies, priorities and what makes your colleagues tick. This will enable you to speak in a language they understand and appeal to them more effectively.
8. Make friends.
Patmore recommended making friends around the business, as SEOs need to be able to work with all kinds of departments to get their plans implemented.