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Scaling SEO Within an Agency

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Creating a SEO practice in an already 20-year established agency was the biggest challenge of my career. Creating a practice that is competitive, profitable and scalable is the holy-grail. With limited resources this took a lot of planning, trial-and-error, time and patience.

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Transcript of "Scaling SEO Within an Agency"

  1. 1. Copyright © 2013 PM Digital. All rights reserved. This information is deemed PROPRIETARY and CONFIDENTIAL by PM Digital. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. 1 SCALING SEO WITHIN AN AGENCY BY RICHARD CHAVEZ, VICE PRESIDENT OF SEO SEPTEMBER 26, 2013
  2. 2. 2 Copyright © 2013 PM Digital. All rights reserved. This information is deemed PROPRIETARY and CONFIDENTIAL by PM Digital. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. Creating a SEO practice in an already 20-year established agency was the biggest challenge of my career. Creating a practice that is competitive, profitable and scalable is the holy-grail. With limited resources this took a lot of planning, trial-and-error, time and patience.  About PM Digital  About Me  Creating a SEO Practice in an Established Agency • Benefit to the Agency • Challenges  Journey to Success • Understanding Strengths and Weaknesses • Initial Success and More Investment • More Success / Greater Recognition / Integration / Further Advancement • Continuum of Development and Improvement  Case Studies OVERVIEW
  3. 3. 3 Copyright © 2013 PM Digital. All rights reserved. This information is deemed PROPRIETARY and CONFIDENTIAL by PM Digital. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. ABOUT PM DIGITAL  Digital Agency servicing clients in retail, financial services, non-profit, CPG and more  Primary service offerings: SEO, SEM, Display, Email Marketing, Social Media and Creative  Clients include The North Face, Kirkland’s, Steve Madden, Burt’s Bees, Cricket Wireless and many more  8 clients in the Internet Retailer Top 100  Based in New York with offices in Scottsdale, AZ, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Columbia, SC
  4. 4. 4 Copyright © 2013 PM Digital. All rights reserved. This information is deemed PROPRIETARY and CONFIDENTIAL by PM Digital. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. ABOUT ME  Vice President of SEO at PM Digital  14 years of SEO experience (client side and agency side)  Cloaking to Today’s Best Practices  World Traveler  Visited over 20 countries and speak four languages  Rockin’ Guitar Player   Shared the stage with Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Robin Trower, Big Head Todd and Blackberry Smoke  I’m also the “nerd” that wrote the very first SEO rock song “Bot, Bot, Bot Let Me Show You What I Got” in 2006
  5. 5. 5 Copyright © 2013 PM Digital. All rights reserved. This information is deemed PROPRIETARY and CONFIDENTIAL by PM Digital. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. Creating a SEO Practice in an Established Agency
  6. 6. 6 Copyright © 2013 PM Digital. All rights reserved. This information is deemed PROPRIETARY and CONFIDENTIAL by PM Digital. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited.  SEO can be a very valuable revenue stream for agencies and enables them to deepen client relationships  SEO on average drives 30% of total client site traffic1  Investment in SEO continues to grow and at a faster pace than SEM and other channels  With 85% of Search Engine Result Page (SERP) real estate allocated for natural search2, SEO is a very powerful channel that cannot be ignored BENEFIT TO THE AGENCY 1. Avg. SEO contribution to total site traffic, PM Digital Study 2. Comscore
  7. 7. 7 Copyright © 2013 PM Digital. All rights reserved. This information is deemed PROPRIETARY and CONFIDENTIAL by PM Digital. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. CHALLENGES Sounds like a “no-brainer” – right? Wrong!  Agency and a lot of SEO talent was in NY  I was in Scottsdale, AZ  This significant and new investment brought-on a lot of pressure to show ROI and prove the model for the agency  Other divisions (ex. SEM) had established client budgets, resources and trust  I inherited a mess of dated deliverables (SEO products) and few resources (one employee and free SEO tools)  These limitations took a lot of planning, trial- and-error, time and patience to persevere
  8. 8. 8 Copyright © 2013 PM Digital. All rights reserved. This information is deemed PROPRIETARY and CONFIDENTIAL by PM Digital. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. Journey to Success
  9. 9. 9 Copyright © 2013 PM Digital. All rights reserved. This information is deemed PROPRIETARY and CONFIDENTIAL by PM Digital. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. JOURNEY TO SUCCESS How PM Digital grew a thriving SEO practice and more importantly, the steps taken to financially sustainability and scalability. Understanding Strengths & Weaknesses Initial Success & More Investment More Success / Greater Recognition / Integration / Further Advancement Continuum of Development & Improvement
  10. 10. 10 Copyright © 2013 PM Digital. All rights reserved. This information is deemed PROPRIETARY and CONFIDENTIAL by PM Digital. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. Understanding Strengths and Weaknesses Strengths • Enthusiastic team • Current staff adapted quickly to new direction • Support from Sr. management • New product & pricing • Created products based on real client need and competitor weaknesses • Overhauled several SEO products (tech, optimization, reporting, link building, etc.) to add greater value • Developed retainer model (very common with client renewals – sign of client trust) Understanding Strengths & Weaknesses Initial Success & More Investment More Success / Greater Recognition / Integration / Further Advancement Continuum of Development & Improvement
  11. 11. 11 Copyright © 2013 PM Digital. All rights reserved. This information is deemed PROPRIETARY and CONFIDENTIAL by PM Digital. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. Understanding Strengths and Weaknesses Weaknesses • Created all client strategy, new bus pitches • Executed and presented all advanced deliverables • Used free tools and excel for all reporting • 40 hrs./month minimum on reporting • Silos within the agency In the Weeds Understanding Strengths & Weaknesses Initial Success & More Investment More Success / Greater Recognition / Integration / Further Advancement Continuum of Development & Improvement
  12. 12. 12 Copyright © 2013 PM Digital. All rights reserved. This information is deemed PROPRIETARY and CONFIDENTIAL by PM Digital. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. INITIAL SUCCESS & MORE INVESTMENT  Hired experienced Biz Dev Support  Won new accounts and grew existing accounts • Thorough client review during pitch and renewal with biz dev  Recruited experienced talent, some from out of geo area • Hired a manager to handle day-to-day activities • Developed team structure and career path  Invested in team training and education programs (SEMPO, team training[ account management, innovation/knowledge transfer]) • Team’s overall SEO expertise grew – Promoted strong performers • Requiring less of my time on client work Analyst Strategist Sr. Strategist Manager Director Understanding Strengths & Weaknesses Initial Success & More Investment More Success / Greater Recognition / Integration / Further Advancement Continuum of Development & Improvement
  13. 13. 13 Copyright © 2013 PM Digital. All rights reserved. This information is deemed PROPRIETARY and CONFIDENTIAL by PM Digital. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. INITIAL SUCCESS & MORE INVESTMENT  Invested in SEO analytics/reporting technology (SEO Clarity) • 400% increase in productivity with reporting/analytics • Agency partner contributing to product roadmap to fit agency model – Automated SEO reporting  Time is spent on analysis and insights vs. producing charts – Client dashboards – Blended reporting: partner with SEM (secured increase in client SEM spend)  Shared success upstream (sr. mgmt.)  Moved to bigger office • Now in third office space due to constant growth Understanding Strengths & Weaknesses Initial Success & More Investment More Success / Greater Recognition / Integration / Further Advancement Continuum of Development & Improvement
  14. 14. 14 Copyright © 2013 PM Digital. All rights reserved. This information is deemed PROPRIETARY and CONFIDENTIAL by PM Digital. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. INITIAL SUCCESS & MORE INVESTMENT Understanding Strengths & Weaknesses Initial Success & More Investment More Success / Greater Recognition / Integration / Further Advancement Continuum of Development & Improvement SEO’s Contribution to Total Site Performance Automated SEO KPI Reporting Automated SEO / SEM Blended Reporting
  15. 15. 15 Copyright © 2013 PM Digital. All rights reserved. This information is deemed PROPRIETARY and CONFIDENTIAL by PM Digital. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. MORE SUCCESS / GREATER RECOGNITION / INTEGRATION / FURTHER ADVANCEMENT  Won several new accounts and grew/retained existing accounts • Agency/SEO became competitive with bigger agencies – Won several RFPs against competitors  Developed New / Advanced SEO Products and Client Strategy • Local SEO • Search Behavior Research – Search Informed Strategies  Taxonomy  Content marketing – SEO/SEM/Social Collaboration & Action Items • Cross-Channel Reporting (greater collaboration) – SEO / SEM (ecommerce and lead-gen) – SEO / PLA • SEO as a Multi-Channel Hub – In-market campaigns influence online behavior (top down) – Search-Informed Strategy  Growth & Success is recognized throughout the agency Understanding Strengths & Weaknesses Initial Success & More Investment More Success / Greater Recognition / Integration / Further Advancement Continuum of Development & Improvement
  16. 16. 16 Copyright © 2013 PM Digital. All rights reserved. This information is deemed PROPRIETARY and CONFIDENTIAL by PM Digital. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. MORE SUCCESS / GREATER RECOGNITION / INTEGRATION / FURTHER ADVANCEMENT Understanding Strengths & Weaknesses Initial Success & More Investment More Success / Greater Recognition / Integration / Further Advancement Continuum of Development & Improvement Blue = thermoball Red = better than naked Source: Growth in search demand, Google Insights
  17. 17. 17 Copyright © 2013 PM Digital. All rights reserved. This information is deemed PROPRIETARY and CONFIDENTIAL by PM Digital. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. MORE SUCCESS / GREATER RECOGNITION / INTEGRATION / FURTHER ADVANCEMENT  Continued team investment  Acquired competing agency • Integrated SEO team and accounts • Increased staff in NY and AZ • Continued to promote strong performers (AZ and NY)  Launched Account Management Team • Reduces communication issues from previous silos • Enables SEO team to focus on SEO work (fewer hats) – Team focuses on core competencies  Continued investment with SEO Clarity • More advanced SEO reporting and client insights – Term Not Provided – Share of Voice Rankings – Forecasting Model – Industry Performance Benchmarks (retail) – Data analysis for industry insights • Advance SEO products and selling capabilities – Local, Schema Understanding Strengths & Weaknesses Initial Success & More Investment More Success / Greater Recognition / Integration / Further Advancement Continuum of Development & Improvement
  18. 18. 18 Copyright © 2013 PM Digital. All rights reserved. This information is deemed PROPRIETARY and CONFIDENTIAL by PM Digital. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. MORE SUCCESS / GREATER RECOGNITION / INTEGRATION / FURTHER ADVANCEMENT Understanding Strengths & Weaknesses Initial Success & More Investment More Success / Greater Recognition / Integration / Further Advancement Continuum of Development & Improvement 1. % of natural search traffic by page one rank (top PMD client trafficked sites, June 2013)
  19. 19. 19 Copyright © 2013 PM Digital. All rights reserved. This information is deemed PROPRIETARY and CONFIDENTIAL by PM Digital. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. CONTINUUM OF DEVELOPMENT & IMPROVEMENT  Reporting and analytics continue to evolve • Based on current and future client needs • Based on perpetual changes in SEO • Continued efficiencies (increased productivity) – Site clarity – Share of Voice – Integration of 3rd party data (GWT, Majestic, Moz)  Requires team to use fewer tools  SEO product offering continues to expand and evolve • Innovation of current products with regular review (reality check) • Develop new products, business intelligence and thought leadership Understanding Strengths & Weaknesses Initial Success & More Investment More Success / Greater Recognition / Integration / Further Advancement Continuum of Development & Improvement
  20. 20. 20 Copyright © 2013 PM Digital. All rights reserved. This information is deemed PROPRIETARY and CONFIDENTIAL by PM Digital. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. CONTINUUM OF DEVELOPMENT & IMPROVEMENT  Business model and processes are evangelized throughout the agency • Measured growth, profitability, workflow • Established hiring model • Process is integrated/replicated in other channels • SEO is now the fastest growing division within PM Digital • PM Digital is now becoming a SEO employment destination – Growth path is readily available for strong performers  Over 2/3 of SEO team has been promoted in less than three years Understanding Strengths & Weaknesses Initial Success & More Investment More Success / Greater Recognition / Integration / Further Advancement Continuum of Development & Improvement
  21. 21. 21 Copyright © 2013 PM Digital. All rights reserved. This information is deemed PROPRIETARY and CONFIDENTIAL by PM Digital. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. KEY TAKEAWAYS  Share successes when they occur  Reinvest success early-on to create greater efficiencies for the future: • Staff • Technology  Recognize and reward team contribution • Success alone is not sustainable  Partner with other channels and make them aware of the benefit to them (WIIFM) • Helps reduce silos • Deepens client relationships • Access to valuable data  Be humble • There is always something to learn
  22. 22. 22 Copyright © 2013 PM Digital. All rights reserved. This information is deemed PROPRIETARY and CONFIDENTIAL by PM Digital. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. CASE STUDY Challenge:  A PM Digital Search Behavior Study of non-branded western wear revealed that the SEM campaign only had coverage for 2% of the terms analyzed in the study  With little SEM support, the SEO performance of these terms was low even though rankings were strong  Client competitors received a lot of traffic from these terms Solution:  New SEM non-brand campaigns and increased spend (yearly budget was already sealed, but client did approve additional spend) Results:  The increased coverage and spend led to a 25% increase in competitive SEM clicks in Q4 2012
  23. 23. 23 Copyright © 2013 PM Digital. All rights reserved. This information is deemed PROPRIETARY and CONFIDENTIAL by PM Digital. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. CASE STUDY Challenge:  Bedding retailer carried multiple brands and had strong sales and rankings for the brands at the carried  While the SEO success was strong, it was limited to top and bottom levels of the sales funnel  Blended SEO/SEM data showed strong SEM traffic and high consumer search demand, but low conversions for mid-tier searches (sub-category / brand + product type), content did not exist Solution:  PM Digital created sub-category pages at the Narrowing Stage for three top-selling brands • Pages went live in early October 2012 Results:  SEO orders increase: Q4 YOY: 32%  SEO revenue increase: Q4 YOY: 27% General Interest (bedding) Investigational (brand + bedding) Narrowing (brand + product type (fitted sheet) Conversion (brand + product name
  24. 24. 24 Copyright © 2013 PM Digital. All rights reserved. This information is deemed PROPRIETARY and CONFIDENTIAL by PM Digital. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. THANK YOU! Richard Chavez Vice President, SEO PM Digital 212-851-8681 rchavez@pmdigital.com www.pmdigital.com Blog: http://blog.pmdigital.com/ Twitter:  @PMDigital  @richardachavez
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