In House Search Marketing focused on the daily tasks and challenges faced by in-house SEOs and search marketers, dealing with everything from budgetary issues to office politics. In-house search marketing isn’t just for big businesses and household brands anymore — small businesses, start-ups and developing brands often utilize in-house marketers to manage all aspects of search, social and PPC as a way to fully control their online marketing efforts and expenditures. Columnists shared advice based on the successes and failures experienced as in-house SEO & SEM practitioners– whether getting executive buy-in and bigger budgets, employing search agencies and vendors, or recruiting additional in-house expertise. This column no longer runs as a standalone column and has since been incorporated into the All Things SEO column.

How To Terrify Executives Into Linkbuilding

scared-businessman-featured Much has been written about the poor in-house SEO, fighting the good fight to inculcate SEO awareness and best practices throughout the organization. This is an unenviable task and more than one in-house has shared a narrative with me that sounds something like this:  SEO:  "So, I’m concerned that we’re not proactively link-building and that may have a negative impact on our high quality in bound traffic." Executive:  "But when I type-in the company’s name, we are number one in Google." SEO:  "Yes, well you are getting personalized results AND there’s a lot more to . . ." [...]

Annual Budgeting Guide For The In-House Marketer

When Q4 rolls around, in-house search marketers, like me, probably feel a heady mix of anxiety, dread and oddly, excitement. All this can only mean one thing, it is annual budgeting time! Stressful deadlines, aggressive goals, but also great ideas and opportunities all roll into a couple of intense weeks (and I feel for those retailers with a big holiday shopping season, you have that to contend with too). The key for success is not only to survive budgeting, but make the most of the opportunities for an in-house search engine marketer it presents. Get Organized The first step is to get o [...]

Aspirations Of Incompetence: Benchmarking Competitors

Why oh why do we obsess over our competitors’ SEO strategies and tactics? Business leaders, frequently molded from concentrated Type-A material, can’t help but obsess over performance relative to competitors. They celebrate gains in market share, the thrill of stealing a client and the schadenfreude of a competitor’s stock decline. When introduced to SEO, they obsesses over comparative ranking reports. And yet, none of this really makes any sense from an SEO perspective. Following a competitor’s SEO lead, especially around specific tactics, can lead you to striving to be ju [...]

In-House Video Marketing Via YouTube

The second largest search engine on the web after Google is YouTube. In-house search engine marketers often overlook the promotional possibilities of YouTube, but with the relatively recent proliferation of cheap and easy video filming technologies (iPhones, Androids, Flips), leveraging YouTube’s massive search volume is something in-house search engine marketers should give at least as much time as they devote to other second-tier search engines like Bing, Facebook or Twitter. Create A Brand Channel Establishing a YouTube presence is the critical first step. Setting up a brand channel and [...]

How You Can Build Links Easily With Product Reviews

The art of building links to increase search rankings has been a big topic in the SEO community for a long time. This always seems to be the topic of discussion at the Search Engine Optimization meetings I attend each month. Everyone seems to be looking for the latest and greatest ways to increase in-house links. All of the examples below are great ideas that any link builder can use at an agency or in-house. In my experience, my business ( has shown to benefit from each of these tactics and we’ll touch on each in the following. Empire Covers has consistently targeted [...]

Am I KW Crazy? A Guide To Tackling An Ubercompetitive Keyword Strategy

In which I recommend (a very limited) focus on ranking reports . . . I’ve long railed against the stupidity of keyword ranking reports and the insufferable myopic thrashing that occurs when consultants or business units get wound around the axle trying to diagnose a two spot slip for a favorite pet term. (Or worse, a litany of pet terms.) More link juice! More sculpting! More pages! More linkbait! More PageRank! More SEO! If you’d like to learn more about why letting ranking reports dictate your SEO strategy is shortsighted, feel free to read Excuse Me While I Have a Ranking Repor [...]

Time Management Tips For In-House Search Engine Marketing

If there’s one complaint that is universal for in-house search marketing managers, it’s that there just isn’t enough time or resources to get everything done. And usually, this complaint is valid; rare is the case of over staffing for search marketing. Often, one person may handle SEO as well as paid search and hey, for fun, they do the social media too. A feeling of being overwhelmed will certainly befall any search marketer at some point in their career, so here are some tips to accept the things you can’t change and focus on what’s important for search marketing success. First [...]

Sanity Saver: Seek Out Local Search Meetups In Between Conferences

I have attended many conferences in the last ten years, including Search Marketing Expo, Search Engine Strategies, and Internet retail events. Generally speaking, I’ve been pretty impressed with all of them. However, the reality is, these conferences are expensive. In fact, the average cost of attendance is around one-thousand dollars, not to mention the cost of transportation, hotel and food expenses. The typical person employed in the online marketing field probably cannot afford the luxury of attending these seminars. I personally can only afford about two conferences a year, but I’ [...]

Hello, Goodbye: 5 Lessons Learned 5 Weeks Into A New In House SEO Position

When I told my editor Elisabeth that I wanted my next in-house column to cover my experience changing companies – from Avvo to Urbanspoon -  she smiled – "you know this has been done before in this column, right?" And she’s right. Even in a nascent industry like SEO, fluid job markets mean that some experienced SEOs have made the company switch three, maybe four times. Handling the transitional politics of a new role with aplomb is a part of the in-house SEO skillset. When I started with Avvo 5 years ago, it was just a concept and we had the luxury of incorporating SEO deeply i [...]

Overcoming Common Obstacles To Bringing PPC In-House

Before I begin, I do want to say I respect a lot of people who do outsource aspects of their business to other companies, and there are some great companies that will do a great job. I’m writing from my personal experience, and what has worked for my business. I am a big advocate of bringing all aspects of your online business in-house. It’s common wisdom that you can "save" money by outsourcing, because you get experienced people working 24/7 on your company. However, for my business, outsourcing repeatedly cost more and delivered poorer quality work. Pay Per Click (PPC) advertis [...]

+1 For The In-House Search Engine Marketer

After years of minimal change to the format of AdWords ads (some ad extensions are the only radical change), all paid search ads now have the +1 button right after the headline on their right side. How will this new social aspect impact paid search marketing? And what can in-house search marketers do now to capitalize on these changes? The +1 Potential The most obvious speculation regarding the influence of +1 on paid search is that +1 counts will directly impact quality score. And similarly for organic search, that +1 counts will become a ranking factor. Google has always been keenly [...]

What Your UGC Or Community Site Can Learn From Google+ And Quora

We have a lot to learn in the upcoming Clash of the Titans cage match:  Google vs. Facebook. The nastiness has already started with Facebook blocking the chrome extension to download FB friends and numerous petty PR quips. Twitter further kicked the hornets’ nest by letting their data agreement with Google lapse. (This was a move that seems to have caught the Google product and communications teams entirely off-guard - check out Vanessa Fox's post which broke the story.) Every site that has some dependence on user generated content or community interactions can learn a lot about build [...]

Think You Have To Outsource SEO To An Expensive Firm? 5 Things You Can Do In House

Once upon a time, I had a lot of faith in SEO firms. I sought out top companies in the industry and paid thousands of dollars. What I got in return were minimal results, and what turned out to be minimal effort. If you're an e-commerce manager, you might be surprised to find out how easy it is to save money on the "low hanging fruit" of SEO by shifting part, or all, of your SEO efforts in-house. There are 5 major parts of SEO that you can move in-house, and save your company between $20,000 - $120,000 dollars a year. Keyword Analysis When I used an SEO firm, I was charged between $ [...]

5 Handy New AdWords Editor Features

In early May, Google released version 9 of AdWords Editor, with some fantastic new changes for in-house search marketers engaged in hands-on management of campaigns (and one annoying alteration). Today, I'll show you how to get the most out of these new features! Manage Negatives More Efficiently In prior versions of AdWords Editor, negative keywords and placements were managed on separate tabs. Largely in a move to save space within the editor, the negatives are now moved to the same window as the newly dubbed "positive" keywords, placements and audiences. Besides saving space, this move [...]

Public Relations: Link Building On Steroids

Caution:  This starts as a mean spirited post, but there is some humility forthcoming, please persevere through the rant. The following is a rough recollection of a conversation I had with a PR professional recently about BusinessWire’s press release services that come chock-a-block full of SEO promises: Her:  "You need to switch your wire service to get more SEO out of your press releases." Me:  "Really, how much SEO are we getting from our press releases now?" Her:  "Well, I don’t really know how this stuff works, but you should be doing keyword research to make sure Google ca [...]

How To Hire A Great In-House Search Engine Marketer (Or Not)

At search engine marketing conferences, I am often asked for advice on how to hire people for in-house search engine marketing jobs. Usually over lunch a business owner turns to me and says something like, I came here to learn more about all this search engine stuff and what I learned is that I need to hire somebody to do this, but how do I do that? Or, how did you get your job? This has happened enough times that I thought it would serve well for me and those looking to hire SEM staff to put my advice in writing! The Timeless In-House Or Agency Debate Whether to outsource search marke [...]

Dr. Harry Potter? The SEO Name Game In People Search

On March 12, 2008, the name of Eliot Spitzer’s pay-for-performance paramour, Ashley Dupre was finally sniffed out by a New York Times reporter. Immediately, our Avvo profile page for Texas Attorney, Ashley Dupree Russel was inundated with traffic. The site was hit by millions and millions of people trying to find out anything about the women who could command $1,000 an hour trysts with the NY Governor. Note that the spellings are different:  Dupre vs. Dupree and one is a middle name – yet the Avvo profile was Google’s best guess (for a little while at least) for what people were look [...]

Yahoo-Microsoft Search Deal: A Failure Or Success For In-House Marketers?

After Yahoo's 1st Quarter 2011 earnings call, quite a bit is being written about whether the Microsoft-Yahoo deal is a failure or success for Yahoo. In my opinion, the more compelling question to ask is:  has the deal been a success for search engine marketers -- especially those in-house? The Results Nothing screams marketing success like direct paid search revenue, and many search marketers aren’t seeing the same kind of revenue generation with Microsoft that was experienced with Yahoo. There are many confounding factors as to why any individual paid search account might be doing better [...]

Where To Start Once You’ve Gone In-House

In last month’s column, I made the case for going in-house and shared my experience of switching from a successful consulting and lead gen career to joining the ranks of Silicon Valley’s startup scene. That article talks about some of the things to consider before accepting a job and what to expect as an in-house SEO. Now that you’re through the door and in the house, lets talk about where to go and what to do next. Starting Fresh Or Starting Over? Fresh off of Clicker’s recent acquisition by CBS, I’m actually getting to go through the process of starting in-house all-over agai [...]

Cosmo Quiz: Should You Get In Bed With An SEO Agency?

girl-bed-computer-featured I’ve spent the past 5 years in-house and over that period, I’ve never hired an SEO agency; however, I’ve been pitched more times than I can count. Additionally, I’ve been exposed to hundreds of SEO agencies through my work with doctors and lawyers.  During that experience, I’ve seen the spectrum of some really great work to some abhorrently shoddy SEO practices. Over this period, I’ve become increasingly convinced that SEO should be an in house function for two primary reasons. First, SEO touches many departments. It is extremely difficult to outsource anything that requi [...]

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