Having worked in-house managing large SEO Teams for enterprise level sites I often find myself in a position to review the existing agency (or agencies) as well as the toolset the team has and propose a new plan based on the needs state the team has moved into. The first in this process is to talk to each team member and get a feel for the engagement with each agency, what tools they use, what they like and don’t like about the agencies and tools, and what they wish they could have. From there, reach out to the various companies that provide services by reviewing Enterprise SEO Agencies, and tools.
After that has been done and the team is settled on a plan, the next step is to gather cost estimates for each, and draft up a business case to present to executives. I have been in positions where I manage the budget myself and in positions where I have to gain approval. Either way, a business case is the best way to express and share out what the plan is.
The below is an example of how I draft up the business case:
Add something positive about the team and existing agencies and toolset followed by a summary of where the changes you’re proposing will make the team just a bit better.
The issues primarily lie within:
- Foundational –
- Crawling the site and quickly identifying technical issues,
- Determine recommendations to resolve technical issues
- Write JIRA and follow-through to completion
- Growth/New Strategies –
- Identifying keyword sets that have potential for growth (low hanging fruit)
- Determine recommended strategies
- Executing on recommendations
- Content Improvements
- Write new content and refresh existing content
Summarize any obstacles that you might find to complete this. In most cases onboarding can be a lengthy process with budget approval and procurement. Onboarding once all contracts are signed can also be an obstacle, especially with tools. Any limited resources the company might have on your end that could cause delays could be an obstacle as well. This is a great place to set up any potential issues you might face to set up expectations from the start.
Any risks associated from the tools not being what the team expected, to the cost per benefit not being what you anticipated can go here. It’s always good to have something, even if it’s just one sentence, but don’t overload with a long list as it could open up for questions like “why are we doing this if there is so much risk involved?”.
I usually add one line that mentions contract terms, focusing on length, to include the few months of onboarding and ramp up and then time to start to see success (2 year is ideal to see any positive numbers, 1 year at minimum).
List out how you plan to report on the successes you mention before. From time spent on pulling reports or doing work now as a team to how it could be faster once the agencies and tools are onboarded. It’s not necessary to attach revenue increase here, as you would other business cases, since this is more of a team efficiency and organizational improvement play.
- Foundational –
- From x days to crawl x pages to x day to crawl x pages
- From x issues identified per week to upwards of x or more
- From x issues resolved per week to upwards of x
- Growth/New Strategies
- From x projects influencing $x each a year to x projects influencing $x each
- Content Improvements
- From x pages per x to x pages per x
I usually summarize the obstacle and risk here and add any additional expectations that need to be set before this. Stating here that the team won’t see these successes for 6 months to a year, and improvements to SEOs portion of the business’ revenue in 2 years. Be sure to state why so that the executive team can fully understand why they won’t see immediate results.
Summarize your full recommendations here. An example would be to say you will keep/drop x agencies and x tools and add x agencies and x tools with a plan to implement and get the team engaged.
Basis of Decision
This is a good place to add your current struggles and how the new plan will resolve them.
Cross Team Function/Communication Recommendations
I like to have any open communication and engagement across the organization to show that the agencies and tools aren’t just for SEO. The more other teams can make use of them, the more likely you are to get buy-in from key stakeholders.
Here is where you list out your agencies and tools recommendations. Pros, cons, what will be used for, etc.
I posted an article on Search Engine Journal that covers the major SEO Tools for Enterprise companies that can help you with your case.
Having been through this process multiple times, it’s always good to review at least once a year and draft up a new document each time. This way key stakeholders can see that you are follow-through with your plan, or on top of any adjustments needed to keep the budget maximized for your team.