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Wiideman Consulting Group Specializes In SEO Consulting, Training, Strategy & Procurement

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Below is our recent interview with Steve Wiideman, President of Wiideman Consulting Group:

Q: Can you describe Wiideman Consulting Group?

A: The best way to describe Wiideman Consulting Group would be to say that we’re “the elite of the elite” or “the agency’s agency”, a team of search marketing specialists with competencies in each discipline of search. We have forensic technical SEO consultants, content strategists who aren’t afraid to organize 200,000 keywords to build an information architecture centered around keywords, local Maps specialists and link-earning consultants. Together, we fill in the gaps for agencies and enterprises needing senior expertise to build a well-rounded SEO or SEM road map.

Clients come to us to troubleshoot ranking issues, prepare for a website move or upgrade, or to build a comprehensive strategy for managing search engine marketing and optimization. We have an intake form to collect all the information we need before we begin our audits and to gain access to digital tools such as web analytics. After a short kick-off call, the auditing and strategy-building begin and typically complete within 45 days of the call. We then hop on a call to review tech, content, link-building, and any special request (such as online reputation, local SEO or e-commerce). The client approves the tasks they want to include in their road map, and an account manager will migrate everything to the project management system, broken down by search discipline. Then we’re off to the races!

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How We Structure Our Organization for Success

Structure is the lifeblood of our organization and helps build a corporate culture that’s predictable, casual, transparent and synergistic. Having broke out of a balanced matrix organizational structure, there’s 100% accountability on all team members and no one person managing people and things, we’re all hands in with sleeves rolled up.

Team members cross-train with each other, allowing for business continuity during periods where employees are out of the office or as overflow when things get busier than normal. Every team member has full access to a shared Google Drive folder, our project management system, multiple Slack workspaces, and our CRM (Salesforce), again allowing for business continuity when a computer or laptop breaks down. Files are rarely stored locally, which safeguards important files and improves client-vendor transparency.

Slack is broken into specific channels for internal client conversations, search discipline (analytics, tech, local, content, links, etc) and third party contractors who support us are invited to the respective single channel where we can interact with them. For example, web developers can be found in #techseo and web data analysis can be found in #analytics.

Working with clients all over the globe, we aren’t client-facing here in La Mirada, so we keep dress code relaxed, no clocking in or out and flexible on telecommuting when needed. While at the same time, we’re all in the same mindset, following the same industry news websites, Twitter feeds and social buzz happening at every moment. Having served in the U.S. Army, the culture reminds me a lot of being a squad where everyone’s routines are nearly identical (only without the stress that comes with being a soldier).

Search Team Structure

To have an effective Search Team, an organization (ours included) requires the following resources:

Senior Search Strategist

This is the person in the group with the greatest amount of industry experience and the most well-rounded. Typically this person came from a heavy technical background and evolved to understand the psychology of online buyer behavior, and versatile enough to cold call and build relationships that result in the earning of links. A multiple-personality type, partly introverted, extremely analytical, understands both people and programs, and isn’t afraid to put themselves out there. Expect to pay in the $175,000 to $250,000 per year range for this team leader.

Advanced Technical SEO Consultant

The biggest tech geek in the room might not be able to write a compelling title for a website, but they will be able to help you understand information architecture, taxonomy, interlinking, and duplicate URL mitigation. Their strengths are in helping improve mobile usability, conversion rates, speed, site security, and web crawl efficiency. If anyone can troubleshoot a recent drop in search engine rankings, it’s this forensic expert. Expect to pay in the $120,000 – $150,000 per year range for this resource.

SEO Content Strategist

The process a search engine optimization content strategist has to go through is the single reason most companies struggle with SEO. They simply don’t want to put the time required into building an “end-all” information architecture to rank for the maximum amount of search terms. The process begins with looking at existing data from Google Analytics, Google and Bing Ads, and Google Search Console. This data-driven approach allows the marketing leaders to know that we’re optimizing for keywords that have proven themselves already. Next, all the major competitors in the industry are put under the microscope using tools such as SEMrush to reverse-engineer and aggregate keyword insights, resulting in a frequency table of the most common (and most relevant) keyword targets.

The SEO Content Strategist then organizes those thousands of keywords into tabs within an Excel workbook and then into keyword clusters based on user intent (learn, compare, buy). Keywords are sorted by search volume and organized into page-level Content Recommendations, giving the priority keyword the most emphasis and the derivatives, synonyms, and related keywords visibility for the search engine’s initial crawl and cataloging. Expect to hire in the $75,000 to $125,000 range per year for an experienced SEO Content Strategist.

Web Visibility Strategist

Link Building is a faux pas term in today’s search ecosystem, so we call our modern day link builder a Web Visibility Strategist, also called Digital PR by many agencies. This extrovert has to also be analytical and technical enough to use a CRM for managing relationships and relationship stages. We prefer Buzzstream for this and our strategist will typically have 10-20 different projects setup per account we support. Projects might include Toxic Link Cleanup, Intersecting Competitor-Earned Links, Business Listings and Citations, Unlinked Mentions, and Broken Links.

The sequence of outreach and approach types include Reference, Cross-Promotion, Contribution and Sponsorship (the latter being the least desirable since it borders on being a “paid link” and high discouraged against). Expect to spend between $120,000 and $150,000 per year for this relationship and outreach expert.

Other team members include a Local SEO Strategist, E-Commerce Consultant, and Web Data Analyst, all equally important to an effective SEO Strategy.

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Repeatable Structure & How We Help Hire for Our Clients

We’ve found our organizational structure to be extremely repeatable and have helped build digital marketing departments for some of the most well-known agencies in the country. We recently helped one of our agency partners hire a Senior Search Strategist who helps manage one of the largest self-storage franchises in the country, so far nothing but positive feedback.

Hiring is a slow process, but we have it streamlined by filtering out less qualified candidates using a questionnaire (Google Forms) that asks questions only someone with real experience could answer, regardless of how much they Google for the answers. We also insist on seeing previous reports and case studies, even if they have to not disclose the name of the client. Those that are unwilling to share are usually those that can talk the talk, but not walk the walk (in our experience at least).

Having a balanced matrix organization, few managers and a dedicated consultant for each discipline of search is the hallmark of a successful SEO agency or consultancy. We’re proud of what we’ve built and have enjoyed the process along the way. We hope other agencies learn from our mistakes and can build a corporate culture diverse in skills and expertise and balanced by a shared passion for digital marketing.

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