Agile In-House SEO: 3 Ways to Save Time and Boost Rankings

by Meaghan Thomas November 18th, 2010 


As in-house SEOs, are we really agile? There are so many factors that go into ranking well in the search engines. Can we be agile with so much on our plates?

The fact that we have so much to juggle just strengthens the need for an agile approach. Below are three suggestions for getting more agile with SEO.

1. Get Funding. Dispel the SEO is “All Profit, No Spend” Myth.

2276783536_b89caa2db3_z Some people are under the impression that SEO is pure profit and that it requires no spend. In some local and long tail cases, you can rank well without much investment, but if you’re working in a competitive search space, you need a decent budget.

I’m not saying you need money so you can buy a ton of links. I’m saying you’ll save yourself a lot of time (and speed up your ranking success) if you have money on hand for things like content development and promotion.

It’s your job to campaign like hell for a budget. Take the time to create a comprehensive proposal that lists everything you need to get first-pages results. Here are a couple tips to writing a proposal that gets attention:

  • Use your competitors. Highlight the main differences between your site and your top three competitors. Do they update content more frequently than you? Do they have a more mature or diverse link profile? Are they listed in the top paid directories? Be transparent about your site’s weaknesses (and your competitors’ strengths) and you’ll get some attention.
  • Speak their language. SEOs sometimes drift off into jargon-riddled tangents (or so I’ve been told). Speak the executives’ language. Focus on proving the value of each investment you’re proposing. If you show them that doing “A” will likely* get you to the “B” positions in Google for “C” keywords in about “D” months, you can show that will equate to “E” traffic, which will expect to convert at about “F” %, which will result in “G” dollars. *Note: You have a responsibility to explain why you can’t make exact promises on when they’ll see ROI. Don’t oversell it, be honest and inform them of the possible risks/loss of investment associated with each task.
  • Get them excited. Show them where you want to be ranking in the next 6 months to 2 years. Illustrate what that could mean for their bottom line. Inspire them. Show them where you can take them if you had the resources you need.
  • Give them a few options. Don’t give them the opportunity to flat out reject your proposal. Be flexible and list your needs in order of priority. Give a couple tiered options for each need. For example, if you want funds to hire contractors to create 25 pages of copy a week, also show what it will cost to do 20, 15 or 10 pages a week. If you manage multiple sites, you can also propose your plans for one site. In a few months, once that site starts to show rank increases, they’ll be throwing money at you to spread your plans to the other sites.

2. Outsource Time-Sucking Tasks.

feet desk kickback relax You want your staff spending time on skilled SEO tasks. If you’re squeezed for resources, you or your full-time staff probably shouldn’t be focusing on time-intensive (but necessary) tasks, such as directory link submitting, guest blog post fishing, social bookmarking and the like.

Outsourcing can really free you so you can focus on the meaty SEO projects. Once you run the numbers on the time and cost savings, it’ll be an easy sell to finance.

Find a trustworthy SEO outsourcing company to help you out. There are many out there. Make sure you do your research because along with the good guys, there are also some spammers out there.

3. Automate Internal Linking.

automate internal linking We all know a solid internal link strategy is essential. I’ve seen sites stuck on the second page of the SERPs because they lacked a comprehensive internal linking structure (despite having quality inbound links and frequently updated content).

After implementing a consistent internal link plan, those websites shot up four to 10+ spots over a relatively short period (1-5 weeks, in most cases).

If you’re manually doing internal linking (or having writers do it), it’s time to automate it and divorce yourself from the monotony. Nearly all CMSs have some function that will automate this for you. If you’re running a WordPress site, I've heard good things about SEO Smart Links.

I’ll admit that I’ve wasted time manually linking. This is mostly because I was working in a CMS that was built in-house; however, looking back, I should have taken the time to convince one of their developers to help me write a script to automate the process. It would have saved me hours and hours of work.

What Are Some Other Ways We Can We Save Time And Boost Rankings?

The third tip might appear a bit obvious at first glance (or maybe they all do, I don’t know), but I wonder how many obvious time-sucking tasks we perform every day?

Every so often I try to reevaluate my processes to ensure I’m making the best use of my SEO time. These were the tips I listed because at some point in my career they were things I knew I needed to do, but for one reason or another I never got around to doing them (probably because I was too busy wasting my time).

Please share your time-saving SEO tips by adding them in the comments below.

(Please note these are my personal views and not necessarily the views of my employer.)

Meaghan Thomas

Meaghan Olson is a writer and digital marketer living in Chicago. She's a believer in the power of words – and in the technology that makes those words matter. Meaghan is the SEO Director at and she runs a site dedicated to giardiniera, the most delicious and under-appreciated condiment in the world. On the weekends, you can find her in section 157 at U.S. Cellular Field cheering for the White Sox.

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5 Responses to “Agile In-House SEO: 3 Ways to Save Time and Boost Rankings”

  1. Jon Wade says:

    I am not convinced about auto-linking internal posts. I have tested SEO Smart Links on a couple occasions, most recently was in September, and it has a few problems too. One problem it has in not always recognising when a link is already present and creating a 2nd link within a link. Not good.

    Personally I prefer to choose my links. I generally link to a few of the most relevant pages plus a category or tag page. If I cannot think which pages to link to I highlight the keywords, put them in the custom Google search and see what comes up. That way I link to the pages that are already performing well for those keywords.
    .-= Jon Wade recently posted: PC Support Security Scams – ZFSENDTOTARGET CLSID Trick =-.

  2. Meaghan says:

    Thanks for the comment, Jon. I've experienced the same thing with SEO Smart Links, ending up with two of the same links on a page because it didn't recognize I already had manually entered one in there. For me, I think this tool, and ones like it (unless someone's found an answer to this problem?), is best used when you're starting from scratch on a site that has no/minimal internal links in place.

  3. Jon Wade says:

    The problem I had was not 2 of the same link, but a link within a link.

    e.g. if I had a link on a page like:

    "Learn how to create automatic SEO Links"

    which I manually created, SEO Smart links would also link "SEO Links", creating a bit of a mess, sort of hijacking my own link, and one SEO friend suggested that Google could potentially treat such a link with deep suspicion, as if you are link spamming – this line on my site was separated from the content and bolded, my link was actually a text advert and no follow too. After that I stopped using SEO Smart links.
    .-= Jon Wade recently posted: PC Support Security Scams – ZFSENDTOTARGET CLSID Trick =-.

  4. […] Agile In-House SEO: Three Ways to Save Time and Get Results, Search Engine People […]

  5. I gotta say guys, while the title is catchy (particularly to me because I'm writing about the Agile Manifesto right now), agile is not an epithet that can be applied to SEO. In my humble opinion, that is. :)
    .-= Patricia Skinner recently posted: Keyword Research Done Right =-.