SEO has always been evolving. Stepping away from the ongoing debates about viable SEO tactics, let’s talk about the role of SEO in general to your growing e-Commerce business. It’s imperative to get this right now more than ever because your SEO strategy – or lack thereof – can make or break your e-Commerce business strategy.
Why you need to hire an e-Commerce SEO manager
Speaking in general, once your e-Commerce business enters the medium-to-large space, you can no longer afford not to have an individual specifically dedicated to improving, optimizing, and researching SEO strategies and tactics. Daily SEO activities like keyword research, target market research, on-page optimization, and off-page social and relationship building activities are enough to keep at least one person working 40 hours a week. This is especially true if your business is positioned in a competitive market where staying relevant in organic search results requires consistent optimized content and product development– i.e., researching viability of new products with regards to search audience.
The role of an SEO manager
A dedicated SEO manager’s responsibilities encompass all that is needed to implement, measure and report on SEO activities. This includes not only the daily activities listed above, but also thorough SEO analyses and audits performed regularly. Not only will these analyses help a business find out where it stands among its competitors, but it will also shed some light on how much manpower is needed to accomplish both short and long term results.
Tips for finding the right person
Green lights: In general, this individual should be well-versed in many aspects of inbound marketing, especially as it pertains to e-commerce. This is imperative because you’ll want someone who can work closely with other members of marketing, product development, website design, and development. This person will be evangelizing SEO by and large, therefore he needs to be both personable and professional with excellent communication skills. Here are specifics to look for:
- Solid data analysis skills and the ability to identify actionable insights from large data sets (depending on the size of your enterprise and the stores of data available)
- Proven e-Commerce SEO track record assuming ownership, moving quickly to implement ideas, and delivering results; you want someone who can confidently get things done
- Ability to drive clear, thoughtful, and comprehensive analyses of marketing programs. Again, they will be expected to communicate intelligently with others.
- Proven technical skills including understanding of HTML/CSS and basic scripting languages
- A proven track record is a given, but understand too that this individual will require important SEO tools – typically tools they’ve used in the past to do their job well for you. Be prepared to budget for this.
Red flags: Avoid individuals with very little implementation experience. Typically this is masked by words like consultant and strategist. Not to say these words are bad, but you want a manager who has adopted a strategic, data-first mentality and takes pride in his ability to walk the talk.
- Be aware of someone who does not embrace the relationships between all inbound marketing channels. Organic search depends on improvements holistically, and this individual should care about things like consumer sentiment on social channels.
- Avoid someone who is not up-to-date with the latest in the organic landscape. He should be able to speak intelligently about Google as if the company were his best friend.
- Avoid someone with low enthusiasm for SEO and learning more about the business in general.
- Obviously avoid the individual who condones search spam and promotes SEO tactics going against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Tron Lyngbø summarizes this role perfectly when explaining how e-Commerce SEO’s are different from SEO generalists:
[e-Commerce SEO's are] skilled in multiple disciplines, with a deep understanding of human psychology, conversion rate optimization, analytics, web design and development, social media marketing and communication, copywriting, economy, usability and user experience. The best e-commerce SEO specialists also have deep insight and understanding of commerce and how a retail business functions. Credit: http://searchengineland.com/best-practices-in-e-commerce-seo-176921