Train Your Own Staff to Save Money on SEO

    February 12, 2009
    Chris Crum

In-House SEO has been a big topic at SMX West. This is because many businesses are moving their SEO in-house to save money because of the economy. With in-house SEO comes training the staff.

(Coverage of SMX West continues at WebProNews Videos.  Keep an eye on WebProNews for more notes and videos from the event this week.)

Rand Fishkin at SMXRand Fishkin of SEOmoz discussed "igniting the SEO training fire." He says companies have to create a "culture of SEO." They need to test campaigns.

He notes that 88% of all clicks take place on organic (not paid) results. He cites the following as important metrics to keep track of:

– visits from search engines

– # of pages drawing at least 1 visit

– time and human resources spent on SEO

– total lifetime value of customers acquired from SEO

– trend lines of search traffic and conversions

Melanie Mitchell of Folio Investing spoke after Fishkin. She says, "Everyone in the company plays a role in SEO." But not very many companies are set up to do SEO in a good way. You have to make sure everyone knows their role. She says to do the following:

– Set up training
– Define your goals up front
– Tailor training sessions based upon people
– Define intended audience
– Define documentation objectives
– Ask: What’s relevant to each department? (Ex. design team, advertisers, etc.)
– Develop a course, outline and track it

She says it requires ongoing training. You have to set internal standards, provide tools, and have a measurement track — pages indexed, search referrals, user behavior, etc.

Stephan Spencer at SMXStephan Spencer of Netconcepts spoke after that. He says to consider visual learners, auditory learners, and kinesthetic learners. Custom training is needed because everyone learns differently.

Spencer’s own company starts with the 3 pillars of natural search optimization:

– site indexation
– content optimization
– link building

Educate your staff on technical areas. Spencer says that even if you work with an agency, you should know what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.

Dave Lloyd from Cisco adds that the aim of your training should be behavior change. Possible topics of training include keyword research and landing pages. He says you should invite and engage with bloggers.

If you’re struggling with budget cuts, this is all advice that could save you a good amount of money in some hard times. Abby Johnson contributed to this report from SMX West. See what other experts had to say on the topic here.