We have been often asked if professional SEO (search engine optimization) can be done efficiently utilizing in-house talent. Despite our own 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 now have known that has met with excellent in-house SEO success, we know of many more that have seen their in-house efforts fail. We have also found out the companies that have succeeded share several common traits.
If your company is considering doing SEO in-house, there are several critical questions that you should address before you decide to proceed.
Do I have the proper sources at my disposal to achieve professional SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION results? Search engine optimization takes time, and your internal SEO expert will need to have a lot of it at his or her disposal : especially at the project’s outset when target audiences, keyphrases, and optimization schemes are first being founded. Even after the initial optimization effort, the type of SEO will require this person to spend ample time keeping up with industry trends, monitoring campaign progress, executing A/B testing, and expanding the campaign as new product and service areas are added. Perhaps even essential than time, achieving professional SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION results requires an unique set of aptitudes. The person responsible for your internal SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION initiative must possess the ability to understand quickly and to look at your website from the 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 search engines. These gifted people can be found in many companies, but given the unique attributes that these individuals possess, their own time is often already spent consist of crucial areas of the business. Without enough time to invest in the project or the right type of person to execute this, an internal SEO initiative is likely condemned to fail.
Do I know which departments of my company must be involved, and will they work with a good insider? As mentioned above, professional SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION, by necessity, involves marketing, product sales, and IT. The SEO expert should work with marketing to find out what types of offers and initiatives are working offline to help translate them effectively online. She or he must work with sales to identify the particular types of leads that are most valuable to be able to target the right people in the keyphrase selection process. And, finally, your own SEO expert will need to work with IT to determine any technical limitations towards the SEO recommendations, learn of any past initiatives based on a technical strategy, and get the final optimization schemes implemented on the website. Sadly, in many businesses, these types of departments have a somewhat adversarial relationship. However , it is the duty of the SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION expert to act as a project manager and coordinate the efforts of three departments if you are going to get the most out of your campaign. No professional SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION project can be completed in a vacuum. For whatever reason, it is often easier for an outsider to obtain adversarial departments on the same page, in the same manner that a marriage counselor might persuade a woman of her undying love for her husband while the husband is still grimacing from a well-placed knee in the parking lot.
Will someone end up being held accountable for the results? This may look like a small consideration, but it can have a huge impact on the success of the campaign. Should you have added this responsibility to some bad soul’s job description with the path that he or she should “do the best you are able to, ” you’ll be lucky to make any headway at all (especially if the individual is not enthusiastic about SEO). Whether SEO is done in-house or outsourced, someone will have to take responsibility for displaying progress, explaining setbacks, and constantly improving results. Without this liability, it is very common to see an initiative fade as the buck is handed down.
Can I afford delayed results based on a learning curve? It’s a fact – professional SEO expertise has a steep learning curve. While the information on how to perform the basics of optimization are usually freely available on the web, much of the information out there is also contradictory, and some of it is in fact dangerous. It takes time for someone unfamiliar with the discipline to kind the SEO wheat from the SEO chaff (on a side notice, a “quoted” search of Search engines reveals that this may actually mark the first occasion in human history that the expression “SEO chaff” has been used – we’re betting it’s also the last). Simply put, if the person you are wearing 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 SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION any time soon. However , if you are losing company to your competition due to their professional SEO initiatives, time might be a larger element.
Will it cost me less to do it in house than it would to choose a professional SEO firm? Often , companies will attempt this specialized discipline in-house in order to save money, and sometimes this works as intended. However , accurate calculations of the cost of in-house labor that might be involved versus the price of the company you would otherwise hire should be performed to make an accurate comparison. When making this particular calculation, also factor in the opportunity price of the resource – the tasks that the in-house people are not able to perform as they are involved in SEO. In addition , if worse comes to worst and your in-house SEO expert is led astray simply by some of the more dangerous “how-to” guides available, it can cost even more to fix the damage than it would have to employ a professional SEO firm to perform the optimization from the outset. And an indoor SEO campaign gone wrong can cost even more than the stated fee : websites that violate the conditions of service of the major search engines (whether intentional or not) could be severely penalized or even removed, charging you a lot of lost revenue when potential customers can not find your website to get a period of time.
Do I believe that the end result Items get in-house will be equal to or greater than the results I would have got from a professional SEO firm? Seo can create huge sales opportunities, and slight increases in overall direct exposure can have not-so-slight increases in your bottom-line revenue. If you believe that your skilled in-house resource will, given plenty of time, achieve results equal to or more than those that could have been achieved by the expert SEO firm you might have chosen, it might make sense to do it internally. However , as well as a better knowledge of industry trends, a single clear advantage that search engine optimization companies have is the benefit of the experience plus macro-perspective that comes from managing many different web sites over time. Professional SEO firms can watch a wide range of sites on a continual base to see what trends are working, what trends aren’t, and what formerly recommended tactics are now actually hurting outcomes. This macro-perspective allows professional SEO firms to test new tactics because they appear on a case-by-case basis plus apply those results across an array of clients to determine what the benefit is definitely. It is harder for an individual with entry to only one site to perform enough screening and research to achieve optimum outcomes all the time, something that should also factor into the equation.
Do I have at least a small tolerance for risk? Neophytes in order to SEO can make mistakes that can lead to search engine penalization or removal. Preparing most commonly when they have an IT background and treat SEO as a purely technical exercise. We are often called into assist companies who have had an internal initiative backfire, leaving them in an even worse position than the one they were in before they started. The simple truth is which you can not perform effective SEO without getting married to your efforts to the visitor experience, but this is not something that is intuitively recognized when people approach SEO for the first time. Nevertheless , professional SEO firms are not perfect either. Some firms use all those same optimization methods that break the search engines’ terms associated with service and can get your site penalized. So , if you do decide to outsource, get educated on SEO and do some research within the firm. Know the basics of the company, find out who the firm’s customers 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 regarded all of the above questions, and your solutions to all seven are “yes, ” your company may be uniquely equipped to obtain professional SEO results in-house. In case you answered “no” to any of the first three questions but “yes” towards 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 the moment.
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Taking the actions required to get you within the right position to answer in the affirmative might be worth your while. However , if you answered “no” to the of the last four questions, you may want to consider outsourcing the project to a professional SEO firm.