Lee Odden

Pubcon: In-House SEO and PPC

Jessica, DAn, Ana, Allison & Jill

The last regular session of the day I decided to attend was on In-House SEO and PPC which was moderated by Melanie Mitchell and included Jessica Bowman, Dan Perry, Ana Schultz, Allison Fabella and Jill Sampey. The issues that in-house search marketers experience are the same issues that SEO agencies experience when performing enterprise SEO and PPC programs.

I walked in at the start of Jessica Bowman’s presentation who was talking about roadblocks to internal search engine marketing efforts:

  • Adds projects to man hours
  • Inconsistent with other goials
  • Goes against existing progrtamming standards
  • Were not technically feasible
  • Added to the project timeline and cost

Once you get executive buy in, you cannot stop. Most opposition stems from lower and middle management. Middle managers need to get upper level support.

You plan of action needs to constantly and consistently reiterate the SEM message to all employees. The buy in includes a preview that SEO will run into roadblocks. It will take time and there will be complaints. Prepare executives for obstacles before they happen.

  • Devlop a 24 month internal PR campaign for SEO
  • Create a SEO presentation you can use internally: Why it makes sense and that it gets high priority and give to anyone and everyone
  • Offer SEO Brown bags
  • Train everyone on SEO
  • Have regular SEM update meetings for all levels
  • Use the same slides you used to get buy in
  • remind them of the timeline and progress
  • The internal PR campaign for SEO never ends

Now up is Allison Fabella, SEO Manager for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who discussed SEO at the middle management level.

There are four sections to consider for middle managment in-house SEO::

1. The product manger – Your first and last defense for the longevity and success of a SEO effort. They approve each phase of the project.

2. The developer – The backbone of your SEO and can directly impact traffic positively or negatively.

3. The designer – Plays design cop to the layout and aesthetic of your web pages. Educate them on how search engines “see” web pages

4. The content producer – Directly affects whether content has a chance of ranking. Give them examples of how ironic or clever headlines show up in search compared to literal references.

Achieving SEO Harmony

  • Estahlish your credibility by making quick changes that will show results. This is critical when you are new to the organization.
  • Document your successes. Theirs, not yours. Emphasize how SEO benefits them, not you.
  • Be omnipresent and locate your SEO at the intersection of development, design and content if possible.
  • Goals and Accontability – attach success to the productivity of those in the organization helping implement SEO.
  • Make sure SEO gets included in the life cycle checklists
  • Training – train everyone in your organization on SEO. More education and awareness the more they will appreciate SEO.
  • Compromise. “Well, what CAN be done?”

SEO in middle management isn’t so much about writing content, coding pages, desiging grapihics. It’s about leadership.

Next up is Dan Perry from Cars.com who says when you’re first meeting company executives, to stay at 30,000 feet and speak their language. Show them the math that demonstrates financial opportunity for SEO implementation.

Train everyone on SEO. With marketing and PR, explain you can influience brand perception by optimizing the display of brand messaging. IT needs to know that small changes can have large impact. Biz Dev needs to be realistic. SEO is built in to new hire training to let them know the company puts a lot of value in SEO.

Build SEO into the process for new content development and publishing. Seek out SEO Superstars that will help evangelize the benefits of SEO to the organization. Be available to people in the organization who have questions about SEO.

Have a plan and show the math (opportunity to generate revenue), show what the competition is doing, be ready because it will involve a lot of work.

Next up is Ana Schultz Marketing Manager at Qwest who talked about the pros and cons of in-house and agency PPC.

For PPC the pros of in-house include better internal communication and product offer knowledge. The cons include the difficulty of staffing and the available talent pool. Technology and information sharing can be a challenge.

Do the due dilligence for SEO budget justification. Quantify the results for each initiaitive. Ensure the implementation process is clear and too many page owners can mean content can easily get overwritten.

Last up is Jill Sampey from Blast Radius and previously an in-house SEO from ThomasNet.

Use an agency or not? Look at the specific goals at a specific point in time. How complex is it? What is the learning curve and is it unique to the business? What bandwidth, talent and time available. Who are the stakeholders involved? Do you have the right access to the stakeholders who will evaluate success of the program.

The Agency Advantage: Training is less of an issue because the agency will have expertise that can hit the ground running and less overhead to get started. Many agencies will have proprietary tools of benefit not present within the company. An outside party like an agency often carries more respect than someone in house to champion a project. Agencies can be a catalyst for change to provide outside perspective and involvement. An agency can offer another set of eyes and a perspective as a result from working with many different companies and industries that are not as obvious for people in-house.

Potential Issues with Hiring an Agency. The agency is external and removed from the core business. Agency engagements can be expensive if objectives aren’t clear. Hiring an outside agency requires management of the agency. Finding the right agency is difficult and should be considered according to the specific needs.

Make your own ROI goals instead of putting it on the agency to come up with ROI. Emphasize the value and importance of analytics and make sure you have access to the data/reporting.

Take a look at all of TopRank’s Pubcon liveblogging coverage here and Pubcon photos on Flickr.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.