Professional SEO: Hand Off to Bob or Outsource the Job
We are often asked if professional SEO (search engine optimization) can be done effectively utilizing in-house talent. Despite our obvious self-interests on the subject, our answer is always a qualified "yes"? you can achieve professional SEO results using existing talent. However, for every company we have known that has met with great in-house SEO success, we know of many more that have seen their in-house efforts fail. We have also discovered the companies that have succeeded share some common traits.
If your company is considering doing SEO in-house, there are some critical questions that you should address before you proceed.
Search engine optimization takes time, and your internal SEO expert will need to have a great deal of it at his or her disposal ? especially at the project's outset when target audiences, keyphrases, and optimization schemes are first being established. Even after the initial optimization effort, the nature of SEO will require this person to spend ample time keeping up with industry trends, monitoring campaign progress, performing A/B testing, and expanding the campaign as new product and service areas are added.
Perhaps even more important than time, achieving professional SEO results requires a unique set of aptitudes. The person responsible for your internal SEO initiative must possess the ability to learn quickly and to look at your website from a macro-perspective, marrying together the needs of sales, marketing, and IT. He or she can not be an aggressive risk taker, as this is often a surefire way to get your website penalized and potentially removed from the major search engines. These gifted people exist in many companies, but given the unique attributes that these individuals possess, their time is often already spent in other crucial areas of the business.
Without enough time to invest in the project or the right type of person to execute it, an internal SEO initiative is likely doomed to fail.
As mentioned above, professional SEO, by necessity, involves marketing, sales, and IT. The SEO expert must work with marketing to find out what types of offers and initiatives are working offline to help translate them effectively online. He or she must work with sales to identify the types of leads that are most valuable so that you can target the right people in the keyphrase selection process. And, finally, your SEO expert will need to work with IT to determine any technical limitations to the SEO recommendations, learn of any past initiatives based on a technical approach, and get the final optimization schemes implemented on the website.
Sadly, in many businesses, these departments have a somewhat adversarial relationship. However, it is the duty of the SEO expert to act as a project manager and coordinate the efforts of all three departments if you are going to get the most out of your campaign. No professional SEO project can be completed in a vacuum. For whatever reason, it is often easier for an outsider to get adversarial departments on the same page, in the same way that a marriage counselor might convince a woman of her undying love for her husband while the husband is still grimacing from a well-placed knee in the parking lot.
This may seem like a small consideration, but it can have a tremendous impact on the success of the campaign. If you have added this responsibility to some poor soul's job description with the direction that he or she should "do the best you can," you'll be lucky to make any headway at all (especially if the person is not enthusiastic about SEO). Whether SEO is done in-house or outsourced, someone will have to take responsibility for showing progress, explaining setbacks, and continually improving results. Without this accountability, it is very common to see an initiative fade as the buck is passed.
It's a reality ? professional SEO expertise has a steep learning curve. While the information on how to perform the basics of optimization are freely available on the web, much of the information out there is also contradictory, and some of it is actually dangerous. It takes time for someone unfamiliar with the discipline to sort the SEO wheat from the SEO chaff (on a side note, a "quoted" search of Google reveals that this may actually mark the first occasion in human history that the phrase "SEO chaff" has been used ? we're betting it's also the last). Simply put, if the person you are putting on the job has no experience, it will take longer to get results. This may not be a consideration if you aren't counting on new business from SEO any time soon. However, if you are losing business to your competition due to their professional SEO initiatives, time might be a larger factor.
Often, companies will attempt this specialized discipline in-house in order to save money, and sometimes this works out as intended. However, accurate calculations of the cost of in-house labor that would be involved versus the price of the firm you would otherwise hire should be performed to make an accurate comparison. When making this calculation, also factor in the opportunity cost of the resource ? the tasks that your in-house people are not able to perform because they are involved in SEO.
In addition, if worse comes to worst and your in-house SEO expert is led astray by some of the more dangerous "how-to" guides available, it can cost even more to repair the damage than it would have to hire a professional SEO firm to perform the optimization from the outset. And an internal SEO campaign gone wrong can cost even more than the stated fee ? websites that violate the terms of service of the major search engines (whether intentional or not) can be severely penalized or even removed, costing you a lot of lost revenue when potential customers can not find your website for a period of time.
Search engine optimization can create huge sales opportunities, and slight increases in overall exposure can have not-so-slight increases in your bottom-line revenue. If you believe that your talented in-house resource will, given enough time, achieve results equal to or greater than those that could have been achieved by the professional SEO firm you might have chosen, it may make sense to do it internally.
However, in addition to a better knowledge of industry trends, one clear advantage that search engine optimization firms have is the benefit of the experience and macro-perspective that comes from managing many different websites over time. Professional SEO firms can watch a wide range of sites on a continual basis to see what trends are working, what trends aren't, and what formerly recommended tactics are now actually hurting results.
This macro-perspective allows professional SEO firms to test new tactics as they appear on a case-by-case basis and apply those results across a wide range of clients to determine what the benefit is. It is harder for an individual with access to only one site to perform enough testing and research to achieve optimum results all the time, something that should also factor into the equation.
Neophytes to SEO can make mistakes that can lead to search engine penalization or removal. This happens most commonly when they have an IT background and treat SEO as a strictly technical exercise. We are often called in to assist companies who have had an internal initiative backfire, leaving them in a worse position than the one they were in before they started. The simple truth is that you cannot perform effective SEO without marrying your efforts to the visitor experience, but this is not something that is intuitively understood when people approach SEO for the first time.
However, professional SEO firms are not perfect either. Some firms use those same optimization methods that violate the search engines' terms of service and can get your site penalized. So, if you do decide to outsource, educate yourself on SEO and do some research on the firm. Know the basics of the business, find out who the firm's clients are and how long they've been in business, and ask for professional references ? just like you would do with any major business purchase.
If you have considered all of the above questions, and your answers to all seven are "yes," your company may be uniquely equipped to achieve professional SEO results in-house. If you answered "no" to any of the first three questions but "yes" to the rest, it does not necessarily mean that you can't perform SEO in-house ? just that you may not be in a position to do so at this time. Taking the actions required to get you in the right position to answer in the affirmative might be worth your while. However, if you answered "no" to any of the last four questions, you may want to consider outsourcing the project to a professional SEO firm.
A professional SEO firm has the resources, the time, the expertise, and, most importantly, the experience, to launch an SEO initiative for your website that will have a positive effect on your bottom line. Whichever option you choose, it is important that you fully embrace the channel. A half-hearted initiative, whether done internally or outsourced, can be as ineffective as taking no action at all.
About the Author
Scott Buresh is the CEO of Medium Blue Search Engine Marketing. He has contributed content to many publications including Building Your Business with Google For Dummies (Wiley, 2004), MarketingProfs, ZDNet, SEO Today, WebProNews, DarwinMag, SiteProNews, ISEDB.com, and Search Engine Guide. Medium Blue, an Atlanta search engine optimization company, serves local and national clients, including Boston Scientific, DuPont, and Georgia-Pacific. To receive internet marketing articles and search engine news in your email box each month, register for Medium Blue's newsletter, Out of the Blue.
Onpage Optimization: Essential for Effective Offpage Optimization
Onpage optimization is the process by which various elements on an individual web page are structured so that the web page can be found by the search engines for specific keyword(s) or keyword phrases.
Effective Search Engine Use
The Internet is a wonderful place full of resources that can be really helpful for us.
Feed me - Satisfy the Search Engines and Your Sites Visitors With Keyword-Rich Content
Search engines love content. Graphics may make your site look great, but a nice picture does not attract a search engine. Or a searcher for that matter. Good, relevant content does.
The Other Side of the Search Gods Abracadabra!
Thousands of servers ...billions of web pages.... the possibility of individually sifting through the WWW is null. The search engine gods cull the information you need from the Internet...from tracking down an elusive expert for communication to presenting the most unconventional views on the planet. Name it and click it. Beyond all the hype created about the web heavens they rule, let's attempt to keep the argument balanced. From Google to Voice of the Shuttle (for humanities research) these ubiquitous gods that enrich the net, can be unfair ...and do wear pitfalls. And considering the rate at which the Internet continues to grow, the problems of these gods are only exacerbated further.
Twelve Steps to Higher Search Engine Placement
Recent studies suggest that more than 80% of new visitors to any web site get there as a result of a search engine query. If this study is to believed, it certainly suggests that working to get high rankings in the search engines might be the most effective thing you can do to bring traffic to your site.
2 Lesser Known Ways to Brainstorm for Internet Home Business Keywords
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) doctrine states that you should always find a keyword that has little to no competition and that has high demand so that you can rise to the top of the search engine results and dominate that particular keyword. The problem with the internet home business area is that many people online are creating new websites with the typical keywords like "work from home" and "home business" so as a result it is almost impossible to rise to the top of the search engines or risking having to pay lots of money for pay per click advertising.
Get Traffic You Need - Make Your Links Work
So you have built a nice web site with good solid content and now want to start selling your products or services.
You Have More Web Sites Than You Think You Have: The Importance of Deep Submission
If I ask you how many web sites do you have? You may say "One, yes it is www.mycompany.com " or "two" in case you have a second organization or company. When I first began promoting my web sites I was, like most people, only thinking in terms of one web address, the url of my main page. And I thought that this main page was a difficult one to promote because it was the index page of a magazine that covered a wide variety of fields (environment, arts, science, politics, spirituality, etc). How could I optimize a page for so many keywords, which market could I focus on?
The Value of Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing vs traditional offline marketing. Most often, traditional offline marketing such as TV and radio ads cater to the masses. Out of the tens of thousands of TV viewers or radio listeners, there may only be a handful of prospects who are interested in your services or products. Sometimes, having spent thousands of dollars on these advertising channels doesn't produce effective targetting at all! It all comes down to ROI and target marketing.
7 Simple Steps to Spy on Your Online Competition and Acheive a High Page Rank
My Grandfather ran a small Grocery Store and when you wouldask him a Question about his Business he would laugh andreply does Macy's Tell Gimbel's. (At the Time Gimbel's wasa major Competitor of Macy's in the New York DepartmentStore Market.) Well if Macy's were on the Internetback then they could be telling Gimbel's a lot. If Gimbel's knew which tool's to use and what steps to take to 'spy' on Macy's.
Absolute & Relative Links How Do They Rank?
The question for this article is whether or not you should use "absolute url's" or "relative url's"? Not only that, this article researches whether or not Google ranks these methods differently.
Do You Have a Bad SEO Company, or Are You Just a Bad Client?
I admit it, our SEO services are pretty bad.
Search Engine Optimization: What Is It?
Search Engine Optimization is the creation of a web page, purposely designed to rank well with the Search Engines.
Search Engine Marketing: Are You Accidentally Hiding From Potential Customers?
You may be hiding if the search engines can't 'see' all of your site's relevant content.
The Real Search Engine Optimization Guide
Nowadays, there is so much talk about SEO (search engine optimization) that it has become an industry of its own. Still, 90% of webmasters don`t know how to achieve high search engine positions. In this article, you`ll learn what the 90% doesn`t...
Five Tips for Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization sounds so daunting for most young companies. Who has time for dealing with metatags and keyword density when you're trying to get a company off the ground? Below is a simple list of five things you can easily do to improve your visibility on search engines.
Google Bring Deskbar Search To Windows Desktop. Now Any Website Can Take Advantage Of This
Google's premier of desktop search proves that the desktop is an extremely valuable marketing real estate. Google, which holds about 75% of the Internet search market, just introduced "Deskbar" ? a small desktop application that allows users to search Google directly from their desktops. Google currently rules the Internet, but positioning themselves on the desktop gives them the power to rule not only the Internet, but also the entire personal computer.
Analyzing Googles Backlinks Is Close To Worthless
Whats the Big Hurry?
Quite often I get asked what the magic solution is for getting better Google ranking. Sometimes the questions sound fairly naive, something like this:
SEO = Search Engine Optimization, tips on successful page ranking
One of the key things to remember when developing your web-site presence is to always evaluate your competition. See what's working for them; how they market their products and services, and even evaluate their KEYWORD and DISCRIPTION tags.
|© Athifea Distribution LLC - 2013|