An SEO strategy flywheel to win leadership buy-in and drive results

An SEO strategy flywheel to win leadership buy-in and drive results

- in SEO

30-second abstract:

  • From my expertise, each search engine optimisation has struggled to get buy-in on a suggestion sooner or later
  • An search engine optimisation’s job has modified lots in a decade. Now, prioritization is necessary for fulfillment
  • To have correct prioritization in your roadmap, you want a framework that builds in alternative evaluation, discovery, and measurement
  • It may be difficult to win-over stakeholders as a result of there’s skepticism in opposition to advertisers—and SEOs can have competing pursuits if we don’t get early buy-in and communicate by way of enterprise KPIs reasonably than search engine optimisation KPIs
  • The search engine optimisation Technique Flywheel outlined under is your ticket to unlocking search engine optimisation roadmaps that get applied

In right this moment’s search engine optimisation business, human challenges far exceed technical challenges. Our job as SEOs has advanced dramatically within the final 10 years. To indicate worth a decade in the past, SEOs manually audited websites and created a laundry record of search engine optimisation motion objects to repair. Prioritization wasn’t crucial to success as a result of advertising groups have been restricted, web sites have been smaller, and search engine optimisation didn’t have an apparent dwelling…ought to search engine optimisation stay with growth, content material, inventive, or advertising? As we like to say, “it relies upon.” 

Within the decade since we’ve discovered that search engine optimisation does require significant prioritization to get buy-in from all stakeholders. Prioritization is now necessary for 2 causes:

  1. Sources are finite—as SKUs and websites develop, the search engine optimisation sources often don’t
  2. Instruments have changed the necessity for guide audits however can’t exchange human experience in prioritizing in opposition to enterprise wants and aims

John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Tendencies Analyst at Google, even says this on Reddit:

As an search engine optimisation, part of your function is to take the entire attainable optimizations and determine which of them are price spending time on. Any search engine optimisation software will spit out 10s or 100s of “suggestions”, most of these are going to be irrelevant to your website’s visibility in search. Discovering the objects that make sense to work on takes expertise.

Nonetheless, trendy search engine optimisation success additionally requires extra than simply glorious prioritization. We’ve agreed on a standard perception that no matter the place search engine optimisation sits inside a corporation, it’s advertising! search engine optimisation = advertising. And, whether or not we prefer it or not, that makes us as SEOs advertisers. SEOs = advertisers.

Sadly, I’ve unhealthy information for you: folks despise advertisers, in line with Gallup polls.

Advertisers aren't people's favorite

So this presents apparent challenges for us as we attempt to win over people like enterprise executives, builders, content material writers, and many others., with this inherent bias in opposition to us as advertisers. 

Introducing: The search engine optimisation technique flywheel

The search engine optimisation technique flywheel was hard-fought by way of my private expertise. One of the best half is that this flywheel can be utilized by in-house SEOs, freelancers, and companies! 

As Myriam Jessier says to SEOs, “Coronary heart surgeons use checklists. You aren’t above them.”

To take this additional, we’re not above course of both – and in right this moment’s world, the method should transcend conventional search engine optimisation experience. SEOs should use processes to beat human and technical challenges. Processes can really feel mundane, boring, and probably even robotic. Far too usually have I witnessed SEOs painfully residing in chaos with no outlined roadmaps, processes, or common workflow cadence. However the reality is: we’re not above course of and it doesn’t flip us into robots. 

Fairly, creating course of makes us extra human. It eliminates the necessity to concentrate on “survival” techniques and reserves bandwidth to concentrate on extra impactful strategic initiatives. 

Having a group and varied stakeholders decide to a course of improves effectivity, permits for extra collaboration, and ensures we will see our suggestions applied. 

Introduction to the SEO strategy flywheel

1. Alternative evaluation – Construct assured humility into your course of

The first step is our alternative to reassess our strategic imaginative and prescient, layered in opposition to the brand new aggressive panorama from the earlier quarter. 

Too usually, we as SEOs are both too cussed in our strategic imaginative and prescient or too passive to make suggestions which may be experimental or difficult to get authorized. This results in both armchair-quarterback syndrome the place you’re blinded by hubris or imposter syndrome the place you’re too meek to make troublesome instances compelling. The goldilocks spot is what Adam Grant calls, “Assured Humility” in his guide ‘Suppose Once more’

The chance evaluation commits all groups to constantly overview website efficiency, and analyze and put together for any business/vertical change. Briefly, the chance evaluation forces assured humility. And assured humility is how we get higher—quarter after quarter. 

Most necessary within the alternative evaluation is to make sure that there’s an “outdoors” perspective from one other search engine optimisation knowledgeable to make sure that your findings are sound. At Brainlabs, this contains check-ins and QA with the Group Account Director and VP of search engine optimisation. This outdoors perspective permits us to assist slender in on probably the most impactful findings for our suggestions. 


  • Doing an audit, one can find somebody someplace alongside the road made a mistake (for instance, unimplemented content material, wrongly applied schema, and the opposite). Make certain to rectify this earlier than the Discovery Assembly the place you recap findings so that you don’t burn a bridge with an necessary stakeholder like a developer. 
  • At all times put the chance in enterprise KPIs, not search engine optimisation KPIs. 

2. Discovery assembly – Get buy-in from stakeholders early

Essentially the most collaborative a part of the method is my private favourite and probably the most influential: the invention assembly. The invention assembly is our time to construct relationships with all stakeholders—and perceive obtainable sources and urge for food for change. Put merely, robots can’t construct relationships–that’s nonetheless one thing we now have over any search engine optimisation auditing know-how. 

Having significant inquiries to ask stakeholders is a part of the rationale why the Alternative Evaluation is step one—you don’t need to go to this assembly empty-handed. The questions I wish to ask may be grouped into four buckets: Partnership, Enterprise, Business/search engine optimisation, and Sources. Whereas templated questions are a terrific begin, it is best to all the time tweak the inquiries to be related to the model. 

Instance questions embody:


  • What mission has been your favourite to date? Ought to we do extra of that?


  • Are there any modifications in your business or enterprise that may/will influence the web site or advertising efforts? 

search engine optimisation:

  • Is there something within the backlog of tasks that you just’re enthusiastic about? What can we offer to make a case for implementation?


  • With the financial uncertainty, will sources keep the identical in your facet? 


  • This assembly may be folded right into a QBR-esque assembly or, in the event you can swing the time, it could stand alone by itself, which is my desire. 
  • Invite stakeholders from a number of groups to get perspective (for instance, builders, execs, content material, model advertising, and different related members)
  • If time permits, have a mock name to make sure that the questions and presentation are well-crafted and the group is snug delivering them.

three. search engine optimisation roadmap creation – Put rubber to the street

Most SEOs attempt to skip on to this step first. However—be warned from my expertise—it’s a pricey mistake (in each time and political capital). Starting your search engine optimisation mission with a roadmap ends in a protracted record of unprioritized suggestions and little implementation, and the tip result’s a lack of belief and frustration with stakeholders. 

The roadmap, when preceded by correct alternative evaluation and an efficient Discovery assembly, will efficiently accomplish three issues:

  1. Lay out tasks with sufficient element for early buy-in
  2. Determine individuals for every exercise to keep away from a collective motion downside
  3. Act as an exercise log which makes measurement simpler

The sheet under is an instance of an search engine optimisation quarterly roadmap. We outline every mission and quantify the influence on the enterprise utilizing related search engine optimisation KPIs and enterprise phrases (outlined in pink). 

Subsequent, we embody a RACI mannequin (outlined in blue) to outline mission individuals by who’s Accountable, Accountable, Consulted, and Knowledgeable. 

Lastly, as soon as the Roadmap is authorized we add the center Mission Standing part (outlined in black), and observe every exercise so we will measure pre- and post-implementation success. 


  • Train ongoing assured humility with the roadmap and know when to pivot a mission
  • Repeatedly replace the roadmap and use this to information standing calls
  • Use the roadmap to outline useful resource allocation and mission administration—that’s, new tasks to be added have to be carried out instead of one thing else

four. Implementation – Get sh*t carried out

Whereas website implementation might fall to totally different groups, the necessary half is with the ability to assess who wants approval for which implementations early on. That method, by the point every suggestion is finalized then it could instantly be prepared for implementation. 


  • Since you could have a roadmap with outlined timelines, get growth tickets submitted early so the implementation group can put together sources for them in an upcoming dash
  • QA all implementations to make sure that the ultimate end result matches your suggestion
  • Use a website change tracker software to see when stuff will get applied

5. Measurement – Determine profitable efforts to scale

Step 5 is the place this framework turns right into a flywheel: Measurement. Having an exercise log in your roadmap means that you can simply establish pre- and post-implementation impacts. With the ability to tie efficiency again to a particular subset of optimizations means that you can scale these efforts to yield the compounding results of search engine optimisation. 

There’s no higher approach to win affect over a website’s growth group than by following up and sharing the outcomes of their work.  Make certain they see the post-implementation report and watch how simply search engine optimisation tasks get added to the event roadmap in future sprints!


  • Make certain implementation dates are correct (together with website changes)
  • Guarantee to account for seasonality in your evaluation
  • Monitor pre and post-measurement from the soonest crawl date after implementation, reasonably than implementation itself as it could take upwards of three months for a web page to be recrawled
  • Use an search engine optimisation A/B testing software for testing rating/site visitors influence—like SearchPilot for giant websites—and/or a conversion testing software like Google Optimize to check for engagement/conversion influence
  • Arrange monitoring for search engine optimisation KPIs as early as attainable to get sufficient pre-implementation knowledge

Course of = Success

The search engine optimisation technique flywheel means that you can dedicate your search engine optimisation group’s time and sources to search engine optimisation reasonably than reactively resolving prioritization conflicts. Committing to this course of builds assured humility into your work, will get stakeholder buy-in early, and simply means that you can scale profitable efforts. I encourage you to change this course of to slot in along with your present workflows and share your modifications with others within the feedback for inspiration. 

Subsequent quarter’s planning is true across the nook—go get it!

Travis Tallent is the VP, search engine optimisation at Brainlabs overseeing the search engine optimisation product to make sure account groups have the proper expertise, instruments, tech, and course of to do their jobs properly. Travis spends time having fun with nature, taking part in saxophone in a neighborhood band, and volunteering for LGBTQ+ organizations. Observe Travis on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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