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 Paid Social Media Advertising Can Work For In-House Programs

In-house search marketers are often struggling to find ways to grow their responsibilities. For many, the search engine marketing program itself will only get so big or complicated before it settles into a healthy size for the organization that runs like a well-oiled machine. In-house marketers who are looking to grow their skills, expand their responsibilities and experiment with something new should make a case for testing paid social media marketing. Here are some ways you can put in-house marketing skills to work on campaigns to drive direct sales, fans, likes, and followers! Test The [...]

An Alternative To Ranking Reports

Last month I wrote Ranking Reports Rant, a diatribe against using ranking reports to evaluate SEO success. The reasons are many and include personalization of results, taking your eye of the long tail, increased clutter and testing on SERP pages, and the danger of having agency compensation tied to ranking reports. There were more than a few agency readers who took umbrage with my post: "but the clients WANT ranking reports!". Matt McGee countered with a brave suggestion: refuse to provide ranking reports and refer those clients who insist on them to another agency.  Why would Matt turn a [...]

The 15 Minute Paid Search Tune Up: 3 Quick Fixes

In preparation for my upcoming appearance at SMX West as a PPC pro in the Paid Search Tune-up Clinic with the SMX Mechanics session, I’ve been thinking more about quick fixes for paid search marketing accounts. Next time you are waiting to get your oil changed, login on your laptop and consider these three 5 minute quick fixes to tune up your paid search accounts. Quick Fix #1: Test Some New Ad Copy There’s always more ad text testing to do! Maybe the account has got winning ad text from a test long ago, but they’re getting stale, throw up a couple of ads to test something new. Or [...]

Making The Jump To In-House SEO

First things first, let's start with a little background...If you would have told me a year ago that I'd be working as an in-house SEO, I would have laughed in your face and told you to go do something dirty to yourself. Yet, here I am today, working as an in-house SEO, and I couldn't be more pleased with the decision to try something that I never thought I would do again: work for someone else. A little under a year ago, as I was on my way home from a surf trip in Mexico and had just crossed the US border, an email came through my phone. It was from the former CEO of, Jim Lanzon [...]

Excuse Me While I Have A Ranking Report Rant

I had lunch today with a young, ambitious entrepreneur. He’s fresh out of a prestigious tech university, has a fledgling company and visions of shaking up a big industry. He wanted to talk about search. Him:  "I’m pretty psyched, we just launched about 4 months ago and we’re already ranking number one for <insert obscure phrase>." Me:  "So, how much traffic is that generating?" Him:  "Well, none." Me:  "So how useful is that ranking?" Him:  "Well, if we can rank for that, I just need to get us ranking for terms that will get us traffic." Me: "errr. . ." I hate ranking r [...]

Successful SEM Tactics For Marketing Mobile Apps

Got a new mobile app that needs marketing? I wish I could say there’s an app for that, but for in-house search engine marketing managers, marketing a new mobile app involves a lot of the same elbow grease and detailed, tactical campaign work as a search engine marketing campaign. The App’s (Finally) Approved After a lengthy wait, your company's iPhone, iPad or Android app is approved for download. Hurrah! Hopefully the development team built in great keywords to the app name and description to give the best advantage possible for being found in app store searches, so it's time to move on [...]

Reflecting On What I Have Learned As An InHouse SEM, Time To Move On

Back in 2001 when I started my professional career in online marketing, SEO was still pretty new. Paid search had literally just materialized in the form of (anyone remember penny bids?!). Everything was still soft and new. Negotiating ad buys was as simple as cutting the seller’s price in half. Paid search could be left on cruise control with an Amex plugged into the account for weeks on end. Flash ads were brand new and ad networks were just starting to take off. Social media was limited to discussion forums and blogs had only just begun to gain exposure. Yet, for all of tha [...]

Google vs. Bing: The Fallacy Of The Superior Search Engine

I can still remember when my when I first switched over to Google on the recommendation of my brother’s girlfriend. She’s literally a rocket scientist and carries a lot of intellectual weight with me; her endorsement was fairly simple – "it returns great results". To understand what "great results" means, transport yourself back 10+ years ago and try to remember the search user experience – one dominated by short tailed queries and multiple paginated results until you could find what you were really looking for. We didn’t complain because it was free and much better than that old [...]

3 New Years Resolutions For In-House Search Engine Marketers

Every day in every way, you can become a better search engine marketer. Here are some resolutions to start 2011 off right! Stop Making Poor Mobile Choices There are still many search marketers out there who are running the same desktop search campaigns in mobile. Remember when you did that for content targeting five years ago and how well that turned out? Now is the time to make healthier search engine marketing choices. Run separate campaigns for desktop search and for mobile. Mobile search and desktop search campaigns don’t have the same conversion rate, so you will definitely want to [...]

Of Salary Surveys, Training Options And Twelve Days

It’s that time of year again, when an in-house SEO’s mind turns to spiked eggnog at the company party and tinsel around the cubicles. With 2011 looming large in our collective monitors, it feels like the right time to share some love. Again this year SEMPO has run the Industry Salary Survey. Started a few years back, this survey is a great tool coming into the new year to help explain to your uplevel managers and Human Resources exactly what your skills are worth. In past years, the survey was split into In-House and Agency versions. This year they have been combined into one survey, [...]

6 Strategies For Introducing New Hires To Your SEO Program

The most important function of the primary SEO is ensuring departments across the organization are pulling together strategically. SEO can never be a siloed department – it has multiple inputs/outputs and needs to transcend organizational boundaries. Effectively coordinating multiple departments into a cohesive SEO plan is a managerial nightmare. SEO’s have to deal with differing levels of buy-in, technical understanding, departmental calendars, and stakeholders who may have little or no interest in SEO. My recommendation? Start at the beginning, with an SEO onboarding training program [...]

6 Things On An SEO’s Holiday Wish List

Dear Santa, I’ve been a very good SEO this year focusing on nice and skipping most of the naughty. I know the elves have been very busy building iPads and Kinects for the other SEOs, but please carefully consider my more selfless wish list below. 1. Widely Accepted Cost Accounting Metrics For SEO Now I’m sure we are far from getting to GAAP level accounting for online marketing, but one of the recurring themes among SEOs and at conferences is the inability to get high level buy in. A universally adopted cost accounting metric for SEO would go far in removing frustration among SEOs [...]

The In-House Search Engine Marketing Holiday Wish List

Now is the time of year for putting together wish lists for Santa, and it got me thinking about what I’d most like to get as an in-house search engine marketer. While the gifts search engines send advertisers are sometimes appreciated (does another USB drive mean I was naughty or nice?), I think all in-house SEM managers would love a present from the list that follows. Dear Microsoft: Please Bring An adCenter Negative Matching Fix If you haven’t noticed in the transition from Yahoo, Microsoft adCenter’s negative matching is subpar. There’s no exact negative matching (which Google sup [...]

How To Frame Your SEO Conversations So Work Gets Done

Getting buy in for your SEO work is critical. For in-house SEOs, there is usually at least a small measure of politics involved and a number of different levels of understanding during each phase of sign off. During all of your conversations, pitches and back-room deal making (ex. I’ll wash & wax your car for a month if you install the rel=canonical code for me), have you ever asked yourself if you’re having the right conversations with the right people? And, are those conversations being held at the right level? Having the right people in the conversation is obvious and critical. A [...]

How To Get Started With Google Twitter Ads

About a year ago, (October 2009) Google inked a $15 million Twitter deal to include tweets in search and finally, the day has come where AdWords advertisers can take advantage of real time Twitter feed access in their Google display ads. Google Twitter Ads Twitter ads follow a standard Google display template for all supported display sizes (though I think 300x250 is clearly the most popular in terms of getting the most impressions served and rendering best.) Advertisers can customize a default message, their username (e.g., and some color components. The latest twe [...]

Managing Sentiment – Using Your Inhouse Social Program To Shape Actions

Yes, this is going to be another social article. I reasoned there just aren’t enough of them online, and one more would complete the stack nicely. Rather than cover what it takes to build a social program for your business, I want to examine specific areas of your social media program. Last month, I noted one approach to creating an award winning social media program. This time, I’d like to look deeper into sentiment. After that, we’ll touch on managing expectations within your company and with customers. Sentimental Me Tracking, measuring and understanding user sentiment is one of the [...]

How To Dress Like An SEO For Halloween

In the spirit of Halloween, I thought I’d write a guide for Creating an SEO Costume for October 31st just for fun. Most likely, you already have all of the elements in your closet. Like many industries, we share a common look, and the following is an admittedly broad brush stroke composite of SEO people I’ve come to know.  I have described "SEO Costume – Male" here, which may suggest I think of this as a male dominated industry. Nothing could be further from the truth – some of the best people I’ve known in the industry are women; however, I’ve never really understood anything abo [...]

Retargeting Is The New Black

If you’re an in-house online marketer like me, no doubt your inbox also seems to be coming increasingly inundated with solicitations to try the exciting world of retargeting or remarketing or remessaging solutions. In the seemingly endless sea of provider choices, are any of these types of retargeting worth the technical effort involved and how can marketers select the best partner? Retargeting Basics When considering any retargeting, it is important to have a good technical understanding of how the solution works. The success of retargeting for an organization may hinge on the robustness [...]

Will Your Inhouse Social Program Win Awards?

Recently I decided to delve deeper into social media than I ever have. Trying to wrap my head around the actual value behind social, in its many forms, I began actively posting on Twitter – like a madman. My goal was simple: get more followers. No clue what I’d do with them, but getting them was goal number one. A few weeks later, I found a use for those new followers. I reached out for feedback on behalf of Bing around their recently-introduced and updated webmaster tools. Plenty of folks responded, the feedback was valuable and applied to future work. Value established, I took a keene [...]

Lawsuits & Lemonade: There Really Is No Such Thing As Bad PR

For my inaugural post as a regular columnist for In House SEO, I’ve been trying to come up with a way to introduce myself and our company, Avvo, without making the post about myself and Avvo. Last week, the writing gods delivered in the form of a lawsuit filed against Avvo.  The saying, "there’s no such thing as bad PR" is an old public relations maxim that holds very true when it comes to SEO. What follows is a discussion on how to turn public relations lemons into SEO lemonade. But first, a little background information . . . Avvo is an online legal directory. We rate and profile 90% [...]

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