Companies often have bad experiences with SEO (search engine optimization) agencies and decide the solution is to bring SEO in-house. That can be a good choice, or a very bad one, depending on whether the company avoids the most common mistakes of bringing SEO in-house. In this video we explain the most common 7 mistakes that companies make (audio transcript follows the video).
Ross: Hi, I’m Ross Barefoot with Horizon Web Marketing and the Horizon Web Marketing Academy. This is going to be a bite-size SEO video. I’ll try to keep it painlessly short.
I’m going to talk real quickly about in-house corporate SEO. A lot of companies are bringing SEP in-house or they already have SEO employees or departments that are dealing with SEO. That often can work really well or sometimes it can turn into a nightmare.
What I put together here is seven don’t do its, that’s in-house corporate SEO types of mistakes that can torpedo an SEO program. Let’s move through them really quickly.
Number one: delegate to the busy person. I know there’s a saying that, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person”. No, not so much. If you take a person who’s already got a full work load and you tell them, “Hey, by the way, do some SEO here,” it’s not going to happen. Your effort’s going to fail.
That leads us, also, to number two, what I call “Foolish optimism” and it’s sort of in this same vein. It’s sort of, also, this type of attitude that, “Well, we can get SEO done with a few minutes here and a few minutes there.” Unfortunately, SEO now is a time-intensive practice. It’s also pretty broad. There’s a lot of different components to it. For a larger company, let’s say if you have 10, 20, 30 million dollars more in revenue well inept the boards, it’s really the type of the project that is going to need even more than one person. You’re going to need a team if you’re going to bring it in-house because it’s going to take a team to get everything done. So being optimistic is great but being foolishly optimistic about how much you can get done with hardly any time investment, is a huge mistake.
Now let’s talk about number three: no authority, no respect. This is the Rodney Dangerfield point. Namely, if you set up an SEO department or you put in place an SEO staff member and they don’t have authority or respect from the other departments, particularly from the web developers, they’re not going to make much progress because here’s how it goes. They go to the web guys and they say, “Hey, we need to make this change because od x, y, z.” The web developers will say, “Oh yeah, right, that’s just SEO. We’re not going to worry about that until when we get to it” and “when we get to it” means “never.” If you have a situation where your SEOs are not getting the respect that they need, the effort’s going to fail, as well.
Next item, number four and this kind of is all part of a culture, the executive team not on board, isn’t really invested, or doesn’t really believe int he success or even in the mission of the SEO team or the SEO person. If that’s the case, if the executive team is only giving grudging permission for this to move forward and they don’t really understand the value it brings to the organization, you need to work on changing that before you start hiring SEO people or start training SEO people in-house.
Now let’s go on to number five, ignorant manager. I’m not saying this as an insult. Maybe you’re one of those, all right? Ignorance is nothing wrong with that, just means you haven’t learned about something, right? Well, a manager who, let’s say, is a financial person, human resources person, maybe hard-core marketer and who is expected to then supervise and manage an SEO team or an SEO individual is going to have a very hard time because, for one thing, they won’t really know if the person is qualified, doing the right job. It is fairly detailed and there are a lot of things you can be doing that are wrong. So the person who’s managing them doesn’t need to be an expert but they do need to know something about SEO. That’s another reason in-house SEO efforts often fail.
Let’s take it down to number six, unrealistic or nonexistent goals. So if an SEO team is just told to make things better, what’s going to happen? Like in any other business department, nothing really much is going to happen or the wrong thing is going to happen. But what about those goals being realistic? First of all, there need to be existing goals. They need to be specific. They need to be realistic and they need to match the business mission as well as what SEOs can accomplish. That leads back into point number five. If you’re the manager and you don’t know anything about SEO, it’s going to be really hard doing a good job with number six.
Now let’s talk about the last one and that is whether you delegate SEO to a person or a team in-house or you bring on new people, the lack of skills and training is one of the biggest mistakes that companies make. Here’s how this normally works out. You’ve got, I don’t know, Barbara in marketing and she just finished a project and Barbara maybe has a pretty empty schedule so somebody has the bright idea, “Let’s have Barbara do SEO for us.” You call in Barbara, “Hey, Barbara. Do you know about SEO?” “Well, I’ve heard of it before.” “Why don’t you educate yourself on SEO a little bit and then you can do SEO for us.” What happens, well, YouTube videos, You to me courses, blog posts, in other words, just a hodge-podge of bits and pieces of information that aren’t really coherent. It’s going to lead to a poor effort at best. Sometimes it can lead to doing outright damage.
So, if SEO is going to be important which it is for most companies, the training needs to be in place. And when you come to hire a person, sometimes it’s hard to evaluate their skills, especially if we go back up here to the ignorant manager point. Sometimes it’s best to hire or delegate based on character and train for skills. There is a way to get in-house corporate training and one of those ways is to hire us to do it. You knew this was leading up to some sort of a pitch but I won’t make it a hard pitch, just a soft pitch. That is, if you’d like to contact us, we do private in-house corporate training, minimum of three employees or more. We also do workshops that you can send your employees to to get them trained. So keep that in mind, look for the links below and I’ll see you next time. Oh wait, also, subscribe, right? Hit the subscribe button. It’s something you could say. All right. Talk to you next time.
Ross Barefoot got his start in small business managing an importing company in the bicycle industry. While there, he tried his hand at programming to find more effective ways to track, market and sell his company’s range of bicycle parts. He loved the web marketing side of things so much he became a professional web developer in 2001, starting a website design business in Western Colorado. He took his first SEO certification course from the Search Engine Academy in 2002, followed it up with another in 2004, and decided to jump full time into SEO training and consulting in 2011, becoming a Master Certified Instructor with the Search Engine Academy, where he continues to serve on the Board of Directors. Today, Ross is CTO, trainer and chief SEO strategist at Horizon Web Marketing (www.horizonwebmarketing.com), a full-service digital marketing agency based in Las Vegas.