Not Everyone Has The Aptitude For SEO

Large companies with many divisions have many SEO opportunities, yet also many challenges. One of the first things I do when consulting with companies on how to implement enterprise-level SEO is to identify who needs to do what. But that doesn’t always work out, because not everyone has the aptitude for SEO.

Yesterday I spoke with an in-house SEO at a billion dollar company, responsible for 30 sites. She clearly recognized there is no way she can do it all, and SEO needed to be pushed down to the different divisions. Her question was, “how do I do it if they don’t seem interested and clearly don’t have the time?”

After we talked about how to push SEO down to the divisions, with her overseeing it all, I could sense some clear hesitation on the rate of success. It turns out that there are 3 specific product managers that she feared wouldn’t do what they needed to be done – keyword research. As she went into the reasons why, I put it into perspective with one sentence:

“Not everyone has the aptitude for SEO.”

She was taken aback. It hadn’t occurred to her that some people might not be a good fit to take on SEO duties, despite them having the role that clearly needs to be taking on SEO tasks in any organization, especially one of this size. One could argue that they may not be in the right job, but if they’re doing stellar in all areas, you may not want to sack someone for not being able to master SEO. Instead, focus on securing buy-in and holding them accountable for getting the work done under your terms (aka, predefined solutions).

How can someone without the aptitude get the in-house SEO tasks done? You, as the in-house SEO must outline how and what they need to do.  Here are a few options I have recommended to various companies:

  • You document the process to the Nth degree so that anyone can do it, and tell them how long it would take (I’ve done it, it can be done).
  • Establish that someone in the company will execute the task(s) when needed. This person could be someone in another division who can do the task(s) well, or someone in a centralized SEO team that does this type of busy work for the entire company.
  • Establish an agency relationship for this exact situation, so that whenever the need arises, those without the aptitude drop an email or pick of the phone to reach the agency that, you, as the in-house SEO, have already vetted and approved for their use. Tip: It’s extra easy if you already set the agency up as a vendor and each division has virtually zero administrative work and pre-defined pricing to kick off these mini-engagements.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Search Marketing | In House Search Marketing


About The Author: is a free agent SEO strategist available for SEO site audits, SEO training and helping in-house SEO programs become a well-oiled machine that cranks out profits. The In House column appears weekly at Search Engine Land.

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  • ksandridge

    >>You, as the in-house SEO must outline how and what they need to do. <<

    Love it. And this is SO true. I’m not with a large company, but I do help out a lot of folks in the Real Estate field who want to improve their SEO skills. A list like this will be very helpful to me – and them!


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