In large organizations, it takes the effort of several internal groups to accomplish top level business goals. When natural search optimization for web sites, commonly called SEO, is moved in house, it generally is the task of a combination effort from IT and Marketing. Below are five steps for moving SEO in house, as well as tips for accomplishing those steps.
- Share your business goals: Before getting started with implementing SEO, develop a plan that states your business goals and find out what stakeholders want the in-house SEO team to accomplish.
- Bring in an experienced consultant:An on-site, experienced SEO practitioner can help you tailor your plan for meeting company goals within the SEO process. You will have writers/editors, graphic artists, IT personnel, marketing personnel, brand managers, and others all playing a role in the success or failure of the SEO process, and you need authentic support and documentation to get your team pointed in the right direction.
- Define your internal target audience: As you know, there are many different steps in the SEO process, and the tasks may be done within different internal departments. These departments may include editorial staff, web design, web developers, programmers, marketing, branding, and so forth. The key is to design the SEO process in a flexible manner for each task in order to reach all internal groups. A clear understanding of your internal target audience helps the consultant convey important concepts to individual internal departments in an organized manner.
- Define your documentation objectives: Once your key managers are identified, you can design the SEO process and message to fit your intended audience. Stakeholders must receive significant guidance and documentation from managers to become excited about the information covered in the SEO process. For instance, define objectives that show how your SEO process is related to accomplishing company business goals and addressing real issues affecting the managers’ day-to-day activities. Stakeholders and managers can then use this information as a desktop reference to assist in performing their day-to-day tasks.
- Develop an SEO best practice outline: The outline should cover the full scope of all web site challenges related to acquiring the natural search traffic and goals by stating clear objectives and using examples and case studies that have achieved these desired outcomes in other related companies. Once you have developed your SEO best practice outline, you can decide whether to develop further in-house SEO staff or outsource various portions of natural search optimization to a vendor that can cover your implementation needs at a lower cost.
A Path For Bringing SEO In House
- Compile a Needs Assessment Report
- Identify your internal managers
- Integrate natural search with paid search (when paid is in-house)
- Set up ROI metrics: measurement and reporting
- Cover the natural search basics
- Create SEO/SEM best practices: distribute company-wide
- Look ahead: plan one-year in advance
- Review your Needs Assessment Report
- Rinse and repeat
SEO requires a wide-angle view. There are currently many legitimate ways to influence your natural search traffic to achieve business goals:
- Content editing
- Link building
- Image optimization
- Video syndication
- Press release news syndication
- Blogosphere influence
- Local and regional indexing
- Product feeds
- Book and catalog publisher feeds
- Landing page conversion and engagement optimization
- Social media implications and synergies
- Mobile marketing
Regardless of whether SEO is developed in-house or outsourced, the need for SEO planning to predict what’s coming around the corner is critical.
Paul J. Bruemmer has provided search engine marketing expertise and in-house consulting services to prominent American businesses since 1995. As Director of Search Marketing at Red Door Interactive, he is responsible for the strategic implementation of search engine marketing activities within Red Door’s Internet Presence Management (IPM) services. John Faris, who co-authored this article, is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Analyst at Red Door Interactive. Faris’ primary role is to create initial SEO recommendations and execute strategic recurring SEO for Red Door’s Internet Presence Management clients. The In House column appears on Wednesdays at Search Engine Land.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.