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SES: In House Big SEO

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In a recent session at SES San Jose a panel examined the topic of in house of SEO for large companies and organizations.

(Our on-scene WebProNews staff has passed along this latest news from SES San Jose 2007. If you can’t be there, you need to be here with WebProNews this week, for videos and reports.)

Marshall Simmonds, Chief Search Strategist for the New York Times discussed how to enable in- house talent to get results. He said to build a well-organized SEO program and have an onsite SEO program manager at each company property.

He went on to say to incentivize on performance of properties, total search referrals on a year over year basis and to set milestones related to site/section performance.

Bill Hunt, CEO, Global Strategies International, spoke on defining opportunity. He said executives should ask:

1.What is SEM and why should I care?
2. Tell me how this helps me meet my objectives?
3. Where do we stand today?
4. What is our competition doing?
5. What do you propose we do?

To evaluate your opportunity he said to take your "goal words" and look up the estimated searches per month for each. Also log into your log files and find out your current search engine traffic and what percent each is of your overall traffic. Keep track of your Google rank for each term, project your visits and calculate the value of a visit.

Bill Macaitis, VP of Online Marketing & SEO/SEM, Fox Interactive Media gave tips on how to get your SEO projects through.

1. Define your opportunity
2. Evangelize — lots of people don’t understand SEO… so help them
3. Sell all the stakeholders
4. Find allies
5. Focus on small wins — let people start to see the impact for future buy-in
6. Focus on your money words — your money word is whatever your CEO’s favorite pet words are. If the CEO is happy, everybody is happy
7. Education
8. Weekly meetings — monitor projects, keep everyone in the loop, keep the communication going
9. Build relationships
10. Bribes — do what you can to get the ball rolling on your project
11. Face to face — Meet with the roadblock person… email doesn’t suffice
12. Internal competition
13. External competition
14. Show past successes
15. Show past failures
16. Utilize ranking reports
17. Prioritize your projects
18. Put names against projects
19. Utilize deadlines — hard deadlines keep things moving.
20. Accept no excuses for seo projects not getting through or getting started.

Melanie Mitchell, Vice President of Seo/Sem, AOL spoke about the challenges large sites present for SEO and offered this six-point plan.

Create core search team (Subject Matter Experts, Systems Architect to connect the dots, Tech Lead (business analyst to interface w/ programmers), Front Liners (programmers), Program Manager, Project Managers)

Set priorities, goals and incentives. In our case, we track search referrals, and we ties these referrals to people’s bonuses — this makes it more important to people.

 Provide training. If you’re going to hold people responsible and accountable, you have to provide training. In our case, it’s required and graded and those grades roll up to supervisors/managers.

 Set internal standards. Make sure what you’re doing is defined. It helps you check to see how you’re doing.

 Provide tools. Help all of your departments be successful with their SEO strategy.

Measure and track (and adjust). Track pages indexed, search referrals, user behavior (abandonment, return visits, page consumption)

In closing she offered thoughts to take with you.

  You can’t ignore search.
 You need executive buy-in.
 No accountability, no success. Your whole effort needs to have teeth.
 Be transparent with the data.
 Be willing to do what it takes.

SES: In House Big SEO
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