What is in-house SEO?

What is in house SEO_Sarvotarzan

The amount of time that is needed to perform effective SEO depends on the size and complexity of the website, as well as the competitiveness of the market space the organization is pursuing. An organization’s size and vertical scope also have an effect on the overall complexity of the SEO process. Here are some of the ways that SEO considerations can affect the complexity of a site:

Keyword research

More pages mean more keyword research. Solid keyword research is needed to help drive the site architecture and content plans.


Title tags

Title tags (your page titles) are still an important ranking factor, and an important piece of the search results page itself. This means that you need to take the time to write the best possible copy for generating the highest click-through rates. For very large sites, you may have to design an algorithmic method to choose these for you.


Page content

The content must be unique and substantial enough for a search engine to understand what the page is about. Google’s Matt Cutts has mentioned that two to three sentences of unique can suffice to achieve ranking (http://www.stonetemple.com/matt-cutts-and-eric-talk-about-what-makes-a-quality-site/). If you sell products and receive content from manufacturers, you need to invest the resources to write unique product descriptions; otherwise, you risk being omitted from the search engine’s indexes or ranking lower because your content is a duplication of other sites’ content.


Meta descriptions

Meta descriptions are important because search engines often use an excerpt from your meta description in the SERPs, and the description they provide for a page can influence its click-through rate. While you cannot directly control the description used in the SERPs, you can influence it. For example, by including the keywords that you are targeting with a page within its meta description text, you can make the relevance of your page clearer to the searcher. The larger the site is, the more writing you will have to do, because search engines value unique meta descriptions for each page on the site. For very large sites, you may have to design an algorithmic method to choose these for you.


Link development efforts

As sites scale, the complexity and need for links grows. You need to research the competitiveness of your targeted keywords, and make plans for link development so that execution neither grossly exceeds nor falls short of the necessary effort. The more websites/domains your company owns, the more link development is required. Likewise, the less authoritative your website is, the more link development work is required.


Web-based partnerships

Websites of all sizes engage in partnerships and relationships with other entities (charities, businesses, consultants, clients, distributors, agents, etc.). SEO professionals know that all of these partnerships represent opportunities for acquiring links and link relationships, and that when they are properly leveraged they can result in massive value-adds for the organization. For larger organizations, these partnerships can be more complicated in nature. The more complex the organization is, the longer it will take to leverage these opportunities for SEO.


PR Team/PR Agency

Your PR team is your friend when it comes to link development and content distribution – so be sure to integrate your SEO efforts with your PR efforts. Truly advanced organizations task a link metric to the PR firm they use so that the teams are asking for links with every story they pitch. You should too.


Development platforms and CMSs

The development platforms and CMSs used on larger sites can often create a number of limitations regarding SEO implementation, and frequently require extensive, costly, and time-consuming workarounds before optimization efforts can be implemented. If you have a non–search friendly CMS (most are not search engine–friendly), you will have to do more customization work. It is recommended that you work with an expert to understand what is needed so that you develop it right the first time (since you may need to recode things every time you upgrade the CMS).


Solutions for Small Organizations

Some organizations are not equipped—either structurally or financially—to have an entire SEO team to handle the SEO workload we have been discussing. In fact, only one person may be knowledgeable about SEO, and that person may be only a part-time employee. Or there may not be anyone within the organization with the time or skills necessary to optimize the site, so outsourcing may be required. This section will give you direction on how to handle SEO in a small organization.


The In-House SEO Specialist

Building SEO knowledge in-house can be challenging in a small organization where most of the employees are already performing multiple tasks. It is often good to have an SEO consultant on call to answer questions and validate solutions. If you need to assign SEO to existing talent because you don’t have the budget to hire an agency, consultant, or contractor, you should consider engaging an SEO professional to evaluate the aptitude of the person(s) you have in mind for the role. The cost of this assessment from an independent consultant can run anywhere from several hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on a variety of factors. Countless companies have underestimated the specialized skills and investment required for successful SEO. It’s a role unlike any your organization has seen before—this person needs the technical skills, marketing panache, and political savvy to work his or her way into your website development processes, and the

innovative, outside-the-box thinking that will generate creative solutions to search engine crawler needs. Choosing the wrong person can be a costly mistake in terms of time wasted and missed opportunities. As with larger organizations, it is important to develop a basic level of SEO knowledge throughout the organization. SEO still touches on management, marketing, and development, and it is important that all of these departments have a basic understanding of the issues. We will outline some of the ways to effectively and rapidly learn about SEO and build up in-house knowledge in “Working with Limited Resources/Budget”.


Working with Limited Resources/Budget


Learning SEO and doing it on your own can be a challenging task, for two major reasons:

The demanding, ever-changing landscape of search algorithm behaviour is often unpredictable and non-nutritive.

There are literally thousands of details and tactics to learn, some of which may have little impact on their own but, when used in various combinations with other components, can have a powerful influence on rankings. Herein lies the “art” aspect of mastering SEO. Fortunately, many SEO training tools and materials are available via paid subscription at Moz (http://moz.com), SEO Book (http://training.seobook.com), Instant E-Training

(http://www.instantetraining.com), Market Motive (http://www.marketmotive.com), ClickZ Academy (http://www.clickzacademy.com), among others. If you don’t have the budget for a subscription, you can try public blogs and resources such as the Moz.com and SearchEngineLand.com.


Basic low-budget SEO ideas

You can do varied things at a reasonably low value to enhance your site’s overall improvement, including the following:


Use the free search engine tools

Use the free tools provided by the three major search engines. Create accounts in Google and Bing Webmaster Tools and verify yourself as a site owner on both. This will provide you with access to diagnostic tools, such as robots.txt validators, as well as reports on backlinks, spidering activity, server errors, top search queries, anchor text, and more.


Find the best keywords to target

Use the Google Keyword Planner (https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner) to find keywords with high search volumes. Then use the Moz Keyword Difficulty & SERP Analysis Tool (http://moz.com/tools/keyword-difficulty) to get an estimate of how hard it would be to rank for the terms you have identified.


Check out your competitors

Assess your site and those of your competitors for SEO success factors such as keyword-rich URLs, title tags, and  tags, keyword prominence, and so on. To survey your and your competitors’ title tags across a large number of pages, use the search engines’ site: operators and set (in the preferences) the number of results returned per page to 100.


Optimize your title tags

You want each title tag across your site to be unique and focused on a relevant keyword theme. Make each title tag count, because of all the elements on the page, it’s what the search engines give the most weight; it also heavily influences the searcher’s click decision from among the search results.


Optimize other critical elements

Analyze the text, HTML, inbound links, internal links, anchor text, and so on to determine your ideal configuration for success. Include a dose of your own critical thinking.


Measure, test, measure, and refine

Test your assumptions and the assertions of others—particularly SEO bloggers (not every piece of advice you find will be accurate or applicable). Measure key performance indicators (KPIs) and treat SEO like a series of experiments. Make iterative improvements to your URLs, title tags,  tags, internal linking structure, anchor text, page copy, link acquisition efforts, and so on. What styles of KPIs must you live and aim to improve? At a minimum, consider checking rankings, traffic, and conversion metrics. However, you can also check other metrics, such as the number of different search terms used to find your site (for this, use Google Webmaster Tools, SearchMetrics, or SEMrush, the number of different landing pages where search visitors arrive, the growth of inbound links and the addition of any notable inbound links, and so forth. Books to help you understand using analytics that we recommend are: Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability and Science of Customer Centricity, Avinash Kaushik (Sybex) and Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics by Brian Clifton (Sybex).


Test different ideas

Get one great idea for a tool, service, resource, or page, and bounce it off some folks in social media, in SEO forums, or privately through email to an SEO expert whom you trust. Hire a developer who can help you build it – consider leveraging your online relationships via LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to mine recommended developer talent.

Many in-house SEOs have had success finding copywriters via sites like Craigslist or Textbroker to write articles for nominal fees ranging from $10–$50 per article (few companies and in-house resources can compete with these rates), though remember the old adage that you get what you pay for, and this applies online as well. Again, consider leveraging your online contacts to find highly regarded talent within your budget.


Leverage low-cost tools

Consider using one of the following tools:

WordPress (http://www.wordpress.org) or Drupal

These tools are popular with dynamic and static website/application developers, respectively. Most of the time they are used to build web pages, but they also offer a range of reporting tools.


Xenu’s Link Sleuth (http://home.snafu.de/tilman/xenulink.html)

This is a simple link-based crawler. Web developers use Xenu to check for broken links on a regular basis, but for SEO purposes the best value comes in the form of simple internal link analysis. By ordering the Xenu Sitemap based on “links in” and “page level,” it is easy to detect possible internal linking abnormalities that may interrupt PageRank flow or decrease anchor text value; and of course, you can save all this information as a report. Xenu gathers loads of information, and it is a very useful tool, even for in-depth SEO purposes.


Screaming Frog SEO Spider (http://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/)

This is a small desktop program you can install on your PC or Mac that spiders websites’ links, images, CSS, scripts, and apps from an SEO perspective. It fetches key on-site  page components for SEO, presents them in tabs by type, and allows you to filter for common SEO issues (or slice and dice the data how you see fit by exporting it into Excel). You can read, analyze, and filter the crawl information as it’s gathered and updated unendingly within the program’s interface.


Microsoft Word (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word/)

Although it may seem to be an unconventional tool for a web developer/SEO practitioner, Microsoft Word is undeniably one of the best copywriting and publishing tools that practically all users are familiar with. It has many intrinsical options that facilitate to provide high-quality content, analyze existing content, fix and locate essential grammar errata, and above all, easily automate and synchronize all features and changes with other users and publishing tools. For additional techsavvy of us, there is always the scripting option for fine-tuning.

As with most SEO tools, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you use the preceding tools properly, they can be very helpful, but if you lack experience or try to use them for the wrong kind of task, they can cause pain and misery. Making proper on-page optimization decisions usually takes days. Even for a relatively small site, it is possible to cut that down to fewer than two hours by using the tools and methods we just described. Of course, there is a difference in the quality of work and the documentation you’ll get with these tools compared to what you’d get with more conventionally priced SEO services, but they do have their place.


SEO webinars

There are numerous free SEO webinars available that will expand your knowledge. Great sources include Instant E-Training (http://www.instantetraining.com), Moz (https://moz.com), Digital Marketing Depot (http://digitalmarketingdepot.com ), and SEMPO (http://www.sempo.org).


Limited cash options

If you’re on a tight budget, create a blog with great content and promote it via social media (Twitter, Facebook, and Google+). Execute the SEO action items identified in this book, and leverage the free tools and guides we’ve mentioned. Attend free webinars. Do what you can for SEO. Then, invest in an hour or two with a consultant to do an ad hoc site review. You can also check with SEO firms to see which ones are offering special introductory packages, as some firms offer special pricing just to get started with a client.

These are just examples of things you can do, and countless other options are also available. Whatever you do, don’t short-circuit the process of developing in-house expertise, even if you hire outside help. That in-house knowledge will be invaluable over time, and if you have hired a quality outsourcing partner they will be delighted as it will make their job easier. They may even help train you or your team.


Solutions for Large Organizations

The challenges of performing arts SEO for an oversized organization ar a touch completely different from those for alittle organization. This is true notwithstanding whether or not {you ar|you’re} functioning from associate degree in-house position or are associate degree outsourced SEO adviser. Some of the challenges can stem from the size of the site, which can range from 10,000 to tens of millions of pages, potentially spread across multiple domains, countries, and languages.

Large organizations are usually complex entities, and many of these organizations may make decisions by committee, or review all decisions with a committee before finalizing them.

Many necessary comes (SEO or otherwise) is delayed or maybe canceled during a giant organization because of an absence of understanding by one key player. In the world of SEO, efforts are often delayed by someone in IT/development, marketing, sales, or management—and it can be challenging to get a meeting with the people you need to persuade, let alone accomplish the task of persuading them. Patience and persistence are essential, and adhering to the following large-organization SEO guidelines is recommended:

  • Get buy-in, if you can, from the head of IT, the head of marketing, the head of sales, and senior management. Those people will likely control your fate. If you’ll get 2 or 3 department heads and senior managers on board, you should be in good shape.
  • continuously check that you cite cost. Make sure all people involved understand that they’re potentially leaving X visitors on the table every day, and that at the current conversion rate that means N potential leads and Y potential dollars. Include the opportunity gap—where the clients are versus where they could be—in every report.
  • Insist on a sound web analytics plan. Successful SEO projects depend highly on quality analytics information. If your company currently cannot implement a quality analytics solution, yet you have support for implementing SEO, look at other KPIs, such as rankings combined with search volume and estimated clicks per position in the search results. You can also rely on the data from Google and Bing Webmaster Tools, which will provide some quality information.
  • Provide detailed reports even when you’re not asked to. As the disciplined people around you are likely to be unfamiliar with the basics of SEO, SEO practitioners need to over-communicate.
  • Educate, educate, educate. Always explain why you are making a given recommendation. Just make sure you are speaking in the language of the recipient (i.e., talk technically to the developer and in business terms to the marketer). This is where many SEO efforts fizzle out. When you conduct training properly, you can create an almost overwhelming amount of buy-in and interest in SEO. Companies often go wrong when they think one training session is enough. Unfortunately, interest will wane, and if you don’t offer continuing education you can be back to square one in 6 to 12 months.

Be confident. Cover your bases before each meeting. It’s important to speak confidently on what you know, but it’s also important not to speak about what you do not know. There is nothing wrong with speech communication, “That’s an honest question. I don’t have an answer for you right now. Let American state do some analysis and acquire back to you.” Most development groups can respect that answer if you’ll be able to do your analysis and acquire back to them quickly. Be mindful of the Ugly Baby Conundrum: the website is the baby of the programmers, designers, and business sponsors; when you point out a site’s SEO needs and flaws, it’s like you’re saying, “Your baby is ugly.” When you look at a site for SEO, you will probably find many issues. Be sure to mention what has been done well in terms of SEO, and be unbiased when presenting the issues you’ve found.

  • Don’t make technical presentations to the executive team—they want metrics and action plans showing progress (or lack of progress). Although they might understand what you’re saying, their brains are tied up with 99 other things. Just get to the point: what’s gone well, what hasn’t, and what you need from the team to fix it.

Contracting for Specialist Knowledge and Experience

Even if you have a solid in-house SEO team, sometimes it makes sense to get help from the outside. Why would you want to bring in external expertise when you have a strong team already? The answer lies in the complexity of SEO itself. SEO has dozens of sub-disciplines, including video optimization, local search, image optimization, competing for search traffic in other countries, link development, usability, and strategies for social media properties. If you need help in one or more of these areas, don’t hesitate to seek assistance from outside your organization. It’s also possible that your SEO team has mid-level, but not expert-level knowledge of SEO – and contracting out for expert level guidance of your team is often a wise investment. Another reason to bring in an SEO consultant is to conduct an audit of your site. This should help identify the things you’ve missed, confirm the things you’ve done right, and highlight new opportunities. Here are the ideal times to engage a consultant to perform an SEO audit:

  • When you need to understand the amount of work that will be involved in optimizing your site
  • When you have done what you know about SEO and need advice on what to do next (or as part of an annual training, to help develop better expertise in-house)
  • When others in your organization need justification of your SEO recommendations
  • Before a site redesign (or at any time you make major changes to a site), so that you can learn what needs to change and what you can do to make the next website more search engine–friendly.

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