Sharing Your SEO Knowledge is Good

There is a school of thought that the in-house SEO should be like the Wizard of Oz… feared and awed and hiding behind a green velvet curtain where no one is exactly sure what it is he does, but clearly it must be important. I think that, while this might do happy things for one’s ego, it’s not necessarily the best way to go about dealing with the rest of your team/organization.

Some of the bad things about being the Man Behind the Curtain include:

  • Co-workers thinking you’re a pretentious ass who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else.
  • Superiors thinking you’re a pretentious ass who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else.
  • People (especially I.T.) deciding you’re a pretentious ass to whom they don’t want to talk, so they just exclude you from important decisions like making changes to the web server configuration, or changing hosting providers, or worse…. making “fixes” to the website.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a time to throw down and flex your “I know what I’m talking about and you don’t so shut up and do what I say” muscles, but all the fricking time isn’t the way to do it. Personally, I try to be Polly Anna Sunshine around the office as much as possible, and when I do flip the bitch-switch, it’s (a) for a really good reason and (b) is WAY more scary to the unfortunate target because it is such a drastic departure from my usual tone of voice and body language. (Maybe I shall share some of my more entertaining arguments with our consultants on the blog sometime…)

Anyway, some of the wonderful advantages and plusses to sharing your wealth of SEO knowledge with your team are:

  • Education increases understanding and that increases willingness to actively participate in new projects and initiatives. Help them comprehend the value and the methods and they’ll help you by buying-in sooner and being more effective when they participate because they understand the goals and they value the results of a good job.
  • General, regular education provides a framework for comprehension (so their eyes don’t glaze over and immediately tune you out when start blathering about online marketing and SEO… meetings are SO much more productive when people are actually paying attention).
  • Taking the time to educate your team gives you an opportunity to control what they learn and how they interpret the newfound knowledge. Ever hear the saying “If they don’t learn it at home, they’ll just learn it on the street”? Same holds true here. Make sure they’re learning concepts correctly and ways to implement them that aren’t going to get your company deindexed or something equally bad. It’s the best way to prevent someone from learning just enough to be dangerous and then deciding they’re going to “help”.

Ultimately, it isn’t going to hurt your job security to teach interested co-workers how to read the charts and reports you’re generating and to understand some general SEO and online marketing concepts. Teach them the difference between ppc and organic. Explain why online reputation management is important. Help them understand so they want to help you.