In my experience, red tape is often the death of any SEO campaign. Because SEO is so long term it can take a while to build momentum and get all the wheels moving in the right direction. This is due to a number of factors including the competitiveness of your niche, how old and trusted your website is, what kind of SEO and link building you’ve done in the past, and many more factors. But when you add red tape and internal office politics into the mix getting an SEO campaign off the ground becomes even harder which means it takes that much longer to start seeing the results and reaping the benefits.
Before you start optimizing your website and investing in an SEO campaign you need to have a clear understanding of where your website is going and what is in store for your brand. Think about how long it took to optimize your website (if you’ve already done so once with a certain strategy in mind) the first time around. How many hands were involved in the process? How many ideas and changes went back and forth? How many chains of command did each decision have to climb before it could be approved? I’ve worked with several businesses in my career that got their SEO campaign stuck in so much red tape that processes that normally would only take a month ended up taking three. The whole timeline got pushed back further and further because every little detail underwent a dozen changes before we were given the green light.
This is often why a fully flushed out SEO campaign can get a little tricky for startups that are still defining their brand, messaging strategy and unique value proposition. Every time they change the definition of their brand or rework their messaging (and how much red tape that creates!) to better appeal to a target audience changes are they change the language they use, which means they probably give up on old keywords and insert new ones. They are no longer a “lead generation service;” they offer “customer acquisition programs.” And while every business owner has the right to redefine his company as he/she sees fit, you have to keep in mind what kind of impact that will have on your SEO. If your SEO campaign has built a lot of content and links around “lead generation service” and related keywords and suddenly you shift gears chances are you are going to lose some of the traction you gained. You might not be all the way back at square one but you’ve probably lost what little ground you’ve gained or you’re giving up on some really great opportunities that were in the works.
SEO is never set it stone, but it’s important to avoid start and stop SEO and not let red tape hold you back. One of the best ways to prevent red tape from killing your SEO is to outline everyone’s role in the project before you even start. Who will have the final say in what? Who actually gets to have an opinion about the keyword research, the onsite optimization recommendations, the website design and so forth? While all hands on desk is essential, too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the soup!