I am a big fan of large enterprise organizations having an in-house SEO team. However, there are strong arguments for supplementing the efforts of your in-house team with help from external SEO expertise. Below are a two major reasons why.
The Complexity Of Topics
It has been stated many times by the search engines — there are hundreds of different factors involved in determining rankings for search queries. The complexity has only grown over time, as the search engines constantly seek out new signals for improving rankings. There are many ways that this happens, but one that people often forget is that there are many ranking algorithms which are scenario based.
Here are just a few simple examples of scenario based algorithms:
- If you search for [Pizza], the search engine may show you local results. This is true for all kinds of locally based searches.
- If you search on [hotels] and your prior search was for [Rome], you may see some results for [rome hotels].
- If you are passionate about music, and you search on [jaguar], you may see Jaguar guitars in the search results.
- If you conduct a search while on a Smartphone, you may get more action-oriented results.
- If you follow someone on Google+, something they have shared or +1′ed may be raised in rankings on Google.
Scenario-based algorithms are just one aspect of the complexity of search. New signals become available all the time. One of the most notable ones is rel=author, which I predict will become the new ranking signal story for 2013.
It is a high-quality signal indicating which authors write stuff that people like. Bing is conducting its own major experiment with its social sidebar, which offers an entirely new paradigm for integrating social media into the search experience. You can expect a lot more from Schema.org in 2013, too. These types of changes are taking place all the time.
There Is Great Value In Working With Many Sites
As readers of my writings know, I am not at all a fan of chasing the algorithm. I believe people should focus on producing great content and promoting it effectively.
That said, it is still a great value to having the experience of publishing on many different sites. This offers both SEO and traditional marketing benefits. You get to see what works!
One client might be inclined to try one type of promotional strategy, and a different organization may do something else. One company may be aggressive about testing a new rich snippet markup and be willing to invest in it long before other clients are.
One client might be struggling with implementing something on their website that someone else has already mastered.
When you try to do everything in-house, you are forced to deal with all of these challenges on your own. You need to learn everything. You need to do everything. You need to be right nearly all the time. You don’t have a lot of time or chances to get it right. Ouch.
Don’t get me wrong. In my view, any large enterprise should have an in-house SEO expert. It just makes sense. At a minimum, this will provide you with someone in a great position to be an internal SEO evangelist. This is worth his or her weight in gold. Seriously. They can also interact with internal teams and answer a great deal of questions without any outside help. They can also help build a culture of SEO awareness.
But, if your in-house SEO is a good one, he or she will recognize the value of outside help. They know that one person, or one team, working on one website, can’t do it all by themselves. There is simply too much complexity in SEO today, and it is not going to get better or simpler. The sophistication of the search engines is only going to increase, and so is the challenge for the average Web publisher.
In my view, the ideal enterprise SEO team includes both an in-house person or team, complemented by an external team. Hire the right external team, and they will help you understand the current best-of-breed practices and keep you one step ahead of the curve.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.