The search marketing industry is currently going through a transition phase in which many companies are considering bringing SEO in-house rather than relying on the services of 3rd party search marketing firms. With training from organizations such as the SEMPO Institute as well as the need for companies to have tighter integrations with online marketing efforts, the transition to in-house becomes a much more obvious choice.
I thought it would be interesting to ask some of the top In-house SEO professionals their thoughts regarding the biggest advantages of In-house SEO. I asked 6 different analysts all from various companies such as: Business.com, ResortQuest, NetConcepts, Classmates.com (formerly), Time Inc and Yahoo. Here were there responses:
"Often search engine optimization is an after-thought, if it is thought of at all. The biggest benefit for bringing search marketing in-house is that you have someone internal who can champion and represent SEO in the hallways, at meetings, and through relationship building. Also, it gives everyone in the company someone to reach out to for an immediate answer and/or involvement when the need arises." - Jessica Bowman, Business.com
"Having search marketing in-house makes search marketing a top priority. Thus, ROI becomes much more important. Often, out-sources solutions focus on traffic, and not the quality of the traffic. Because many at the executive-level do not understand and/or appreciate search engine marketing, an in-house team is forced to constantly look for new ways to improve ROI. Plus, having the department in-house allows for quick changes and strategies. This can often counter-act any unwanted press or take advantage of news-worthy items quickly" - John Ellis, ResortQuest
"The biggest advantage in bringing search marketing in-house is the combined synergy from: long-term cost savings, long-term revenue/conversion improvement, and having readily-available expertise and advocacy on all stages of online marketing projects from inception to project launch." Chris Smith, Netconcepts
"The biggest advantage to bringing Search Marketing in house really depends on the company and that scale of the campaigns. Search Marketing as a whole is usually split into 2 categories; 1) Paid Search Marketing (Or PPC) and 2) Natural Search Marketing (or SEO). Even when the paid search campaigns are handled in house there is usually a vendor brought in to manage the bidding, and the overall campaigns. The same can generally go for natural SEO. Vendors are often brought in for more man power with a larger site, or to help the in house SEO justify projects or bugs to those that still remain skeptical. Even the larger companies like Classmates.com and other even larger corporations bring in vendors to help with their paid and natural campaigns." Jennifer Mathews Somogyi, Classmates.com (formerly)
"I think the biggest advantage to having an in house SEO expert, is the familiarity with all of the in-house technology and business cultures. Having worked with many of the top consultants and SEO agencies I have noticed that once the consultant drops off a document the internal work of translating that document into ownership and getting approval starts. In many cases proper prioritization of the recommendations based on business needs to be applied. In addition its very easy for a company to just say yes to a recommendation from an outside agency. As an in-house expert you need to understand what the recommendation truly does and how to best execute for your specific business with your specific resources. Making sure you execute the SEO items that have the biggest SEO impact with the least amount of effort. " - Rudy DeDominicis, Time Inc
"The biggest advantage would be understanding. Having worked in agencies and in-house I've learned immersing oneself in products, platforms and content affords a depth of understanding no out-sourced expertise can match. It takes time to get to know how things work, and more importantly, how the people in the company function individually and as a team. I see myself as an internal consultant, advising at every step of production and liaising with almost every department; programmers, web developers, designers, content editors, project managers, sales and marketing. Educating each stakeholder is a vital factor in success, illustrating the benefits of SEO, teaching best practices and passing on knowledge to create a culture where sites are designed to accommodate human users as well as search engines." - Aidan Beanland, Yahoo
After reading the thoughts from the experts above it appears the 2 of the main advantages are Understanding and Relationships. Understanding relates to knowing the people, the environment, the business and the technology. Relationships primarily deals with the trust and comfort factor of dealing with someone within the same organization rather than a 3rd party. However, both go hand in hand when trying to form the optimal In-house SEO team.
Also checkout, my in-house SEO Series at Web Analytics World.
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Manoj has been in the Digital marketing industry for over 10 years with experience at some of Canada's largest companies: WestJet and Shaw Communications. Manoj first started in the search marketing industry with Enquiro Search Solutions, where he spearheaded web analytics, SEO Training and the development of cutting edge search marketing solutions for clients. Manoj is also an entrepreneur in the Mobile and Local Deals space.
Manoj is a Professional Speaker having participated at events such as Web Analytics Congress (Amsterdam), Emetrics, Web Analytics Xchange, WebTrends Engage, Internet Marketing Conference, Social Media Innovation Summit and Search Engine Strategies. He has also contributed to several leading online publications such as: Search Engine Land, Marketing Pilgrim, WebProNews, Search Engine Guide and the Web Analytics Assocation.
He founded and successfully sold Web Analytics World (a top 100 Digital Marketing Blog – http://adage.com/power150) and was voted #39th Most Influential Digital Marketer in North America – 2009 (see: www.Invesp.net)
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