Search engine optimization isn't just a few taps on the keyboard or clicks of the mouse. There is usually an enormous amount of work that needs to bedone on a consistent basis to achieve the results you want. Which means that to be successful you need to know how to scale your in-house SEO! There are 5 simple steps you can take to do this.
Step 1: SEO Is A Never-ending Story
SEO is obviously not web design. Depending on the size of the project a web designer works on a site for a few days, weeks, or months, and their job is done. Its like a divorce; they move on and so do you. However, search engine optimization is a totally different ballgame. Your site needs work done for it to rank well on search engines after the initial design is finished. And that's an on-going process. In fact, it never ends: there has never been a website that has achieved "maxed out SEO". So be prepared for a long-term commitment to SEO. It simply can't be done in a weekend, a few days, or a couple of weeks. It just doesn't work like that.
Step 2: Preparation- If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!
Every company with in-house SEO professionals should start off with a complete site audit and marketing plan.
Your site audit should have an A to Z list of everything that needs to be fixed as well as a list of every online marketing channel that you can take advantage of. Then, get a 6 month SEO marketing plan in place that acts as a layout for which tasks get done when. Spread everything out; don't dedicate an entire month solely to link building and the next just do social media. It is better to evenly disperse the tasks and keep it consistent on a month to month basis.
By taking the time to get prepared and devise a plan of attack, you will effectively be able to scale your in-house search engine optimization. You can make decisive and precise moves, rather than trying to figure things out as you go. This will save you a ton of time in the long-run.
Here are the three simple steps involved in the preparation:
- Step 1- Look at the list of things that need done.
- Step 2- Identify repetitive, tedious, and time-consuming tasks that can be automated.
- Step 3- Decide which tasks your in-house SEO staff can and can't do.
Step 3: Automation
Don't spend half your time measuring results. Here are the checks that are absolutely needed but could and should be automated:
- Ranking check- This should be done monthly.
- Results check- Checking the number of visitors and conversions should be done monthly.
- Technical SEO check- Seeing if there are any 404 errors, broken links, malware, or other issues found in Google Webmaster Tools should be done bi-weekly.
- Social check- How often you measure progress on social media sites depends on your specific niche and strategy. Regardless of how often you need to do this, there are tools that can generate and email these reports automatically.
- Link building check- There are tools available that you can use to count, analyze, and keep track of your internal and external links.
- On-page optimization- There are so many different aspects of on-page optimization that it would take an eternity to find and fix all of them if you do not use some kind of tool to help you at least once.
Tools such as SEOmoz, SEO PowerSuite, RavenTools, and Web CEO can help you automate most, if not all, of your recurring checks.
Step 4: Intern or Outsource
When you made your plan chances are numerous tasks don't require you to be an SEO expert while there are other things your in-house SEO employees simply don't know how to do. Just to name a few:
- Article writing
- Infographic design
- Competitive analysis
- Keyword research
- Video production
- Checking YouTube comments
- Custom graphics for social media
- Reputation management
- Recurring SEO checks
Train an intern for the simple tasks such as the recurring checks. For specialized tasks like graphic design, outsource it and let your staff do what they do best, which is SEO.
Step 5: Evaluate, Investigate, Incorporate, & Eliminate!
This isn't just some catchy Dr. Seuss poetry that makes this step sound cool. It is important and you better learn what each of them means:
Take a long-hard look at your staff, your tactics, and the results. What and who is working? What and who is not working? Now, you can't expect to go from zero to hero in one month. But, were there any improvements in 3 months? What about 6 months?
Don't just take people's word for it. Whether it is your own staff, or you outsource a particular task to another company, you need to do some due-diligence. If you have someone write an article for you, check it with Copyscape to make sure it is original. If someone is telling you your site ranks number 7 on Google, go check it yourself. Before you hire another company to do one of your outsourced tasks, check to see if they have any rip-off reports or complaints with the Better Business Bureau.
You need to incorporate fresh, new, and interesting ideas all the time. If you tried some tactic as an experiment and got great results, then keep doing it. Look for ways to solve your problems. For example, you need links. Find ways to get them without your staff doing them. Come up with a cool looking infographic or interesting article that people will want to link to.
Just like you should always be on the prowl for new ideas to incorporate, you should also be prepared and ready to eliminate old ones. Don't get trigger-shy now cowboy. If a tactic doesn't pay of then it is time to cut ties.If you thought you had a really good social media idea, but it didn't work well, move on. Try a different one. This is definitely a critical part of scaling in-house SEO.
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Dennis Miedema is the founder and owner of Motriz Marketing. He's crazy passionate about SEO and copywriting, hell, about online marketing in general. Whenever he's not ranting about IM or busy doing search engine optimization consulting, Dennis loves to watch movies or The Dog Whisperer and playing games on his Xbox 360 like a total geek.