I just spent part of my morning writing up internal documentation to operationalize so-called SEO competitor analysis. If you don’t believe me and think this is just a rhetorical flourish, here’s a really boring screenshot.
As I was doing this, my last step was to record a high-level explanation of the document, which included this paragraph:
Clients have various ideas about what a competitor analysis is or should be, and they’re often requesting it by rote, as it’s something that SEO firms tend to do. Assessing competitors, however, tends to be of somewhat limited value, since many of them aren’t even trying for search traffic, or, if they are, they might be doing it naively.
After typing that, I immediately wrapped up the SOP and started writing this blog post. My intent is to have it up here on the blog so that we can send it to anyone requesting a competitor analysis. And I want to do that because we do this differently than the typical SEO firm.
This isn’t a clickbait title. I genuinely stand by the position that “SEO consulting” is a service that shouldn’t exist in the economy.
But before I dive into specifics and my case, I do want to offer a couple of important caveats.
I wouldn’t dispute that some SEO consultants offer some economic value and provide helpful services. There is economic value to increasing the visibility of content.
The fact that I don’t think the role should exist isn’t a commentary, per se, on people occupying that role. I don’t think “bathroom attendant” should exist as a role, either, but I’m sure many of them are lovely human beings with friendly demeanors and a good work ethic.
With that out of the way, let me build my case for why the role shouldn’t exist—and what should exist instead.
I’ve been on a listening tour of late, talking to product marketers that own their business’s content production, among others. My aim has been to discover subtle pain points, identify patterns, and possibly develop productized services to help.
A couple of weeks ago, I heard something interesting. “We have in-house engineers that want to contribute to the blog, but there are some barriers.”
This is exactly the kind of tidbit that I like to dig into, and it exemplifies what I mean about looking for patterns. Hit Subscribe has been around for six years, and we’ve occasionally, on request, taken on client engineers as if they were in our author pool to help produce content for the company. And, as a long-time blogger before that, I’ve also observed companies, often app dev consultancies, try to tease a steady content stream out of their engineering groups.
I suppose I could hurriedly try to roll out a productized service and scoop up the opportunity, but that’s not really my style. Even if we didn’t phase productized service rollouts (alpha, beta, general), I like to run lean. Why roll out some kind of offering when I could just write about it and see if anyone finds this interesting?
So today, I’d like to explore the idea of using internal engineers to create content. Assuming you have folks that are interested in creating content (I wouldn’t try to force it), here’s a series of steps I’d recommend to establish a successful program.
Courtesy of Danial Igdery (https://unsplash.com/@ricaros)