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 Leverage Google AdWords Placement Reports For Better Performance

If search engine marketers are only using AdWords Placement Performance reports to exclude sites, they’re seriously under-utilizing the information Google is giving them. Read on for additional ways to leverage the goldmine of data in placement reports. The basics: add site exclusions & managed placements The AdWords Placement Performance report is available in the Reporting tab in AdWords. The primary purpose of the report is to provide data on the performance of display network (aka content targeting) sites in Google’s AdSense network. AdWords advertisers can see impressions, c [...]

What Traits Make A Person Best Suited For In-House SEM Roles?

Just when I thought I was in-house, I pulled myself out. After five years working continuously and exclusively as an in-house SEO, I have decided to cast my lot with the hoards of independent consultants and contractors out there. This decision has caused me to reflect on the relative benefits and drawbacks of life as an in-house search marketing professional. Many pieces have been written on the relative merits of in-house versus contracted SEO support – indeed, entire conference sessions have been dedicated to the subject. These discussions, however, have tended to focus on what is best [...]

SEO Metrics: Proving Value With Research, Data And Tact

When it comes to SEO, it is a quantitative marketing medium that is all about metrics and results. That means if you can't provide data/research that proves value, as well as analytics and reporting to back your results, you're basically asking for a whole lot of drama. Putting together the research behind a business case is just as important as showing off (self-promotional or not) your wins with others. I can't stress this enough to colleagues or direct reports; it's incredibly important because showing hard facts is one of the best ways to get everyone's attention. Proving the value I [...]

Best Practices For Mobile Search Marketing Campaigns

As part of the continuing series on expanding in-house search marketing efforts beyond traditional search, this week the focus is on mobile search marketing campaigns. Read on for a guide to getting started and mobile search marketing best practices. Mobile search share Some marketers argue that mobile queries still represent too small an overall volume to make the effort of running campaigns worthwhile, but it is worth noting that Google’s mobile query share has grown 5x over the past two years. While some individual verticals may still be seeing modest query volumes, mobile search [...]

The SEO Rap Sheet: What Does Your Mug Shot Look Like?

While attending the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle this year, I was very eager to sit in on the SEO Mega Session to see a panel of industry vets. True to form, this session was chock-full of useful insights, lots of ribbing, and more than a little eye rolling between the panel members. At some point during the session, Stephan Spencer mentioned the idea of an "SEO rap sheet." I thought this was an excellent way to characterize how those managing search marketing programs should view their efforts. Food for thought To make sure things are clear, let me plainly state – there is no SE [...]

The Algorithm Ate My Lunch: Responding to Catastrophic Ranking Changes

One of the most unpleasant situations an in-house SEO can face is a major search engine algorithm change that results in a massive downward shift in rankings. Some webmasters have reported search engine traffic losses of up to 90% as a result of Google’s "Mayday" update, and similar catastrophes have been attached to every algorithm update significant enough to have been named. There is only one course of action open to you in such situations: figure out what the problem is and fix it. While this can be a difficult and harrowing prospect, the good news is that any issue that resulted in s [...]

Facebook Advertising: An In-House Guide To Getting Started

If your in-house programs for Google, Yahoo and Bing are running like well-oiled machines, it’s time to start poking around for new online marketing channels to test. An option many online marketers report increasing success with is Facebook ads. Facebook advertising doesn’t work quite like a search engine does, so read on for a primer to getting started. Setting campaign goals Many in-house marketers are running Facebook ads to promote their Facebook social media marketing efforts by promoting a page, group, or other Facebook feature. There’s nothing wrong with setting a goal rel [...]

The Only Constant Is Change

Lately, I’ve heard a lot of folks chattering about the hot topics of the day. Google traffic is down after their update, mobile SEO is the future and now the flutter is about the apparent changes we’re seeing in the sitemap protocol. I suspect in house folks have a split view on these topics. On one hand, there are invariably people inside your company following SEO, ready at a moment’s notice to spread the news and hit the panic buttons. The flip side to this, of course, is your struggle to get folks to even acknowledge the very basics of SEO work, meaning the vast majority of employ [...]

Creating And Maintaining An SEO Timeline

Nothing is more certain in the world of SEO than the fact that things will change over time. Rankings, search traffic, search algorithms and your website’s structure and content are all mutable. In order to maximize the value of your optimization efforts, it is important to know not only the nature of any given change, but when it occurred. At a fundamental level, it is impossible to make a relationship between cause and effect without knowing the sequence of events. To this end, it is useful for SEO to plot relevant events and data against a timeline. This is especially true for in-house [...]

SEO Automation: Streamlining Workload With Templates, Tools & Modules

Spending lots of time redoing and recreating the same tasks can be draining. You don't want to have to type out hundreds, if not thousands of title tags, it's just not sensible. But along those same lines, there are a lot of other things that can be automated or "modularized" (yup, I just made that up!) to streamline your day to day work. Creating templates and guidelines Creating a set of guidelines for the entire site is a good tasks to take on and set in stone. Once you have a mapping of sorts for the Meta Data, URLs, etc. you have a set of guidelines that the engineering team can use [...]

In-House SEM & Affiliate Search Engine Marketing Terms

There are few topics in search engine marketing with such varying, vehement opinions as affiliates and PPC marketing. Allow affiliates to bid on brand terms? Allow them to buy search engine marketing at all? In-house search engine marketing and affiliate program managers should debate the issues and benefits below and define search engine marketing policies that are appropriate for their organization. Allow all search engine marketing The least restrictive policy for affiliates is to permit all search engine marketing. As you might expect, this broad allowance can lead to some serious is [...]

Internal SEO Communications: A 3 Step Plan

Are you struggling to communicate your program's successes and plans across your organization? Do you have a hard time getting people to pay attention to SEO in your company? Let's take a look at a three step plan to improve your internal SEO communications. Newsletters I'm sure everyone has thought of this approach by now. Not hard to see why either. A dedicated internal SEO newsletter is an obvious way to spread any news on the topic. The challenge is to get people to read the thing, though. Your best approach is to apply the best practices for email marketing and apply them to [...]

Q & A With Brent D. Payne, In-House SEO Director, Tribune Company

Brent D. Payne is the SEO Director at Tribune Company, whose properties include the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Baltimore Sun. In one form or another, Brent has been engaged in search engine marketing for over a decade. He’s also a well-known name in the SEO community, with many speaking appearances augmented by an extremely active Twitter account. As one might expect from a highly experienced and social SEO, Brent has much to say about in-house SEO, optimization of news content … and a whole lot more.  I hope you enjoy his insights. Q: Describe the career path that brou [...]

Inside The Big 3 Search Engine Marketing Desktop Editors

Still managing your paid search marketing accounts through the online interfaces? If so, you're about to discover more efficient ways to work offline with Google, Yahoo and Microsoft desktop tools and revolutionize your paid search account management. Desktop tools download complete paid search accounts into an offline management tool for easier editing. Bulk updates, searching within the campaigns and copy/paste functionality are all much easier in a desktop tool than the online paid search interfaces. Additionally, offline editors provide a risk free method for making account edits, once [...]

Attributes To Look For When Hiring An In-House SEO

Hiring a search professional for an in-house role can be a daunting task. SEO as a profession lacks a large, experienced talent pool, and it is especially rare to find good search marketers with in-house experience. However, an individual with the right personality, skills and background can make a great addition to your team, even if they have not worked in the industry before. There are a number of attributes you should look for when hiring an SEO:  the key is finding the combination that is right for the role you are hoping to fill. Independent learner There are perhaps few fields as [...]

What To Expect From An SEO/SEM Agency

To many, I must seem like a curmudgeon who hates agencies. I often write about their failure to do this or that, or their overcharging for so little worthwhile output. Today, I’ll broaden the scope a bit and try to create a list of expectations you should have and that your agency should meet. Some will be blatantly one-sided, others may seem obvious. In the end, though, you’ll have a list of things to help you determine if that agency you are going to hire has what it takes to deliver the goods for you, and some points you need to consider from their side as well. Time Most agencies [...]

SEO Roadmap & Strategy: Getting Aligned With Product Development

SEO roadmaps are very important for an in-house SEO. They are the basis for task prioritization, seeing how things fit into the grand scheme, and they give you a broad understanding of which projects you want to push. The best part is, you now have the ability to match up your roadmap to the product development roadmap 1:1 (one for one). Some of the examples I use will be fairly vague, purposefully so, because it's more about the type of project and not that name. What are your quick wins? Quick wins are a great way to make progress on already existing infrastructure problems that can be [...]

Go Green With Your Time: Recycle Your PPC Work

In-house search engine marketers, even at a large company, are usually a very small group of people. Your team of one (or a few) needs to manage multiple search engine marketing platforms efficiently and effectively. One strategy for success is to become a rock star at recycling the search engine marketing work you’ve already done. Share the SEM love Have an awesome Google account but feel like Microsoft Advertising or Yahoo just won’t be worth the effort? Export your AdWords with a simple find and replace of tracking codes to recycle your account into new Microsoft Advertising and [...]

Connecting For Links: Recruiting Link Building Partners In-House

What is the hardest task in search engine optimization? Whether the question is asked in a formal poll, on an online forum or over a cup of coffee, the answer most commonly given is "link building."  With good reason:  an external link, by definition, is something outside an SEOs immediate realm of control.  External link building requires strategic focus, a large commitment of time and effort, and no small amount of creativity and resourcefulness. The existence of an in-house SEO program does not lessen the importance of link building or obviate the need for a well-thought out and well- [...]

Maximizing Go-To-Market Strategies For SEO

Working for startups and companies launching new products, features, and verticals consistently makes it very important to ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck and not make startup seo mistakes that many others make, including fortune 500 companies. The point is, you want to leverage the most out of the buzz, the press, the publicity, etc. that you can get via a launch of a new product, vertical, or feature. Conversion and entry points First and foremost, you need to be sure that the places that you want to maximize your SEO efforts to matches user intent. Obviously thi [...]

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