It was a dark stormy night in the warm January weather of Tuscaloosa. Our project team was gearing up for the development of a dashboard application. Suddenly the lights went out and a chill filled the air – the project had been disbanded and the team was alone and afraid. “What are we to do?” the team pondered. Abruptly, the lights returned, shining brightly on a new Search Engine Optimization (SEO) project with Procter &Gamble, the world’s largest consumer packaged goods company. With hope restored, we prepared to determine which sites needed our help and the best way to approach the project. We began to learn about P&G and its brands and websites, while simultaneously increasing our knowledge of SEO and how search works. The skies seemed to darken again as we pored through the plethora of information on SEO, but the team would not give up. We wanted to be able to conquer any SEO task that our client could present to us.
As we went to our client kickoff meeting, we thought we could see a light on the horizon. Feeling confident in ourselves and prepared with several questions, we knew we would impress the client and get good information. However, we were unprepared for the rainstorm sneaking in. As our client discussed the project with us, we realized our expectations of the scope of the project were too low-level. Yes, we were dealing with SEO, but we were not recommending or implementing best practices for individual sites. We were dealing with search governance, the internal logistics of how the search should be organized and executed company-wide. This includes a competitive assessment of the SEO and analytics industry, coupled with a current capability assessment made up of gap and cost-benefit analyses. The team was taken by surprise, but although the skies seemed to darken, the team knew they would find the light and accomplish the client’s task. Fortunately, an Elmo piñata will keep team morale high!