Defining your company’s culture is a key step in building overall success.
If your vision is undefined, clients and potential customers will be able to tell.
In today’s internet-heavy, fast-paced, and saturated market; standing out means more than just having a vision and correctly using buzzwords.
People are looking for uniqueness and originality to connect with your company.
Company culture is not just important for driving sales and getting clicks.
It’s also integral to employee retention and overall motivation.
In the context of an SEO agency creating this company culture can be tricky for a few reasons, some more obvious than others.
A big reason why company culture is hard to define is that most SEO agencies are remote-first.
While remote-first work is definitely here to stay, it makes team building and alignment that much more of a challenge. Addressing this issue is one of the most important hurdles to overcome in creating a stable working environment.
Other challenges include:
- Other departments do not understand the importance of SEO.
- Lines of communication aren’t fully developed.
- The difficulties of cross-departmental collaboration.
- An unclear vision that is understood by all, resulting in a team that is not aligned.
If your team can keep these challenges in mind, it is possible to create a high-functioning SEO from the get-go that paves the way for a solid working environment for all.
What is SEO culture?
First and foremost, it’s important that you understand exactly what we’re talking about when we say things like “SEO culture.” If that isn’t clear, none of this will make any sense!
When we talk about SEO culture, we are referring to the way your SEO team works with each other and with other departments in your organisation. This could be referring to a surface-level interaction or a deeper alignment that comes from a company-wide awareness of the company’s values.
The information you gather with strong SEO not only helps with marketing, but can drive product development and influence customer service, too. You can get ahead of consumer demand and, with your finger on the pulse of trends, identify and capitalise on them as they arise. A connected team can share this knowledge to help all departments operate optimally.
A company with a good SEO culture, then, is not only well-informed on what their consumers want and need, but that knowledge is readily shared with all members of the team. Let’s see how that works in practice!
Where do you begin?
The most daunting part of any endeavour is getting started. But sometimes, the best place to start is the most obvious.
Clearly define your vision and mission
Building a company culture starts with the well-defined company and employee values. The best way to do this is to clearly lay out the company’s mission and vision. With these values, the company is able to set the tone, while giving the space employees to shape and mould the culture they work within.
An in-depth understanding of SEO is necessary for this to happen.
When your company has a defined mission and vision, it will help align your team on all verticals. An aligned team will always function better because they understand the point of what they are meant to be doing.
After deciding on a cohesive mission and vision, you’re ready to start doing the thing!
That first step is essential, however, because it directly affects the ability of your team to prepare for the future.
Employees are only as good as their leadership. If they are unclear about what is expected of them from their higher-ups, it will show in their work. The work environment will likely become tense and unproductive, and the company will be worse off for it.
This can be avoided, however, by using the mission and vision statements to set clear expectations and goals with the company’s values in mind. Here are some other tips that can help your team stay on track:
- Make sure your vision statement is properly communicated to all departments and teams.
- Communicate company goals often, especially if they change.
- Update your team on their progress regularly to keep them motivated and to keep them on track.
When SEO teams collaborate, they can work together to overcome writing hurdles or vent about problems they have with clients and come up with solutions for them together. With teamwork, each individual can impart their SEO wisdom on another, potentially answering questions people might not have even thought to ask!
One of the biggest drawbacks of remote-first work is the difficulties (at first) of navigating teams dispersed all over the world. This can make it difficult – but not impossible! – for teams to collaborate and work together properly.
If your team is located in the same country or city, you can offer a meet-up space or small office so that people can meet properly in-person. This option is only viable if your team is in the same geographical location, but it could really help create a better company culture.
Another way to foster collaboration is through online meeting spaces or Slack groups that bring people from different departments together. This can be done in a few ways;
- Hosting regular online team-building activities.
- Promoting open communication between all employees.
- Regularly recognising the contributions of individual team members to the whole team.
The better teams work together, the better they can create a working environment that is both on track and high-functioning.
Provide opportunities for development
The younger generations entering the workforce don’t just want a career. They want a job that pays the bills but is also fulfilling.
Basically, they want to have their cake and eat it too – but who could blame them?!
Part of creating a good company culture is providing employees with opportunities to develop their skills further. When they understand the company’s values, it is easier for them to see how they could add value themselves.
Opportunities for development can include things like extra training and education, personal mentoring, or encouraging employees to take on new and challenging projects. Helping your team become better at SEO and writing will not only keep them interested in their work but will inevitably help your company in the long-run too.
Recognise and reward
When an employee is really going the extra mile, it’s imperative that their efforts are, at the very least, recognised. If possible, it’s important to reward them, as well.
Writing so much content all the time can sometimes be overwhelming. Taking a moment’s break to praise a writer for their good work will not only help give them pause but will likely increase the quality of their work further.
Writers are always looking for constructive feedback. I don’t mean a barrage of red text and an angry email about what went wrong. Instead, some constructive criticism peppered with compliments and suggestions for improvement. This, coupled with incentives and bonuses for doing good work can also help build a positive company culture.
Encourage work-life balance
Working in an SEO agency can be tiring. Writing thousands of words about different topics can easily cause burnout. This leads to the employee becoming jaded and, eventually, has a negative impact on the quality of their work.
By encouraging a work-life balance, you can prevent burnout and avoid your employee from becoming jaded. Though it’s important for them to hit their KPIs, it’s also important for them to feel good about the work they are doing.
Here are some easy ways to help your employees balance their work and life:
- Offer flexible working hours.
- Promote a culture of self-care and mindfulness.
- Have understanding when it comes to personal or family responsibilities.
When employees feel like their time and lives outside of work are respected, it helps them to avoid feeling like they have to push themselves to their limits to succeed. Everyone deserves a break once in a while.
As with anything, there is no one solution to creating a solid work environment for the SEO team.
It will take a lot of trial and error to get the pieces to fit together just right. We’ve outlined some tips and tricks in this article to help you get there.
Take what works and leave what doesn’t, but don’t be afraid to try!
At the end of the day, however, a remote-first SEO agency can only succeed if its values are aligned. If you can figure out just how to do that, you’re on the right track to success!