How to Manage SEO

    July 11, 2005

When it comes time to start an SEO program, companies should be sure to consider the types of training and knowledge it takes SEO specialists to perform SEO services for their web site, whether it is done through outsourcing or completed in-house.

Whether you launch a search engine optimization program in-house or outsource the program, you should keep the following training opportunities and skill sets in mind:

Advanced SEO techniques, including page titles, META descriptions, META keyword sets, internal page cross-linking, search engine submissions, robots.txt files and domain name management

Comprehends keyword weighting, proximity, density and related factors

Search term ranking analysis

Link popularity building research, management and strategy

Online forum and industry newsletter monitoring

National SEO conferences

HTML and advanced programming languages

Web site content writing

Essential Web site usability practices

Keyword research, including a firm understanding of language and the way people search

Web analytics, including understanding common and complex metrics associated with visitors, unique visitors, page views, online sales, profitability and more

Ability to see the big picture and not go so overboard with SEO practices that the web site gets banned from major search engines

Appreciation for ethical standards (i.e. should know about cloaking, keyword stuffing and the differences and nuances associated with “black hat” and “white hat”).

Marketing and branding experience

Project management, including ability to effectively communicate needs and foster cooperation from appropriate stakeholders

Familiarity with pay per click (PPC) programs and how their performance directly relates to natural SEO results

Management of paid inclusion (72-hour rapid indexing programs)

How to adjust to the changing algorithms of search engines

The search engine optimization field is complex and ever-changing. To keep pace, you should have plenty of skills on hand. Overall, the SEO program process should be simple: set goals, choose the best keywords, optimize pages, submit to search engines and refine efforts in light of rankings and web analytics.

Michael Murray is vice president of Fathom SEO, a Cleveland, Ohio-based search engine optimization firm. A member of SEMPO, he authored the U.S. Manufacturers Resist Natural Search Engine Optimization and Online Sales Leads study and a white paper, “Is Search Engine Optimization Worth It? SEO and the ROI Debacle.”