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This is one of the SES San Jose 2008 sessions that I covered for AimClear Blog.

In-house SEO is very different from agency SEO and many companies are deciding to hire search marketers instead of outsourcing the function. Join our panel as they give their insights into in-house SEO and talk about their overall in-house SEO experience.

Moderator Jessica Bowman is SEO Strategist and in-house SEO Expert at SEMInHouse.com.

The first speaker, Laura Lippay, is Group Program Manager, Search Strategy for Yahoo.

Getting buy-in for SEO. Who do you need to win over? Everyone. We depend on everyone to implement.

Buy-in needs to happen at the top (Executives, Project Managers, Biz Dev / Marketing, Designers, Engineers, Quality Assurance, Business Intelligence / Analysts.

How do you need to win them over? Think like them.

Executives: Show them the money…talk numbers, money, traffic. Show graphs and steer clear of tech talk.

Product Managers: Show me how you can help me be successful. Tell them how much easier life will be with SEO.

Biz Dev: Show me how you can help me be a superstar.

Editors: Tell me how everyone can find my famous work.

Web Devs: Give me a challenge.

Designers: Give me the guidelines and let me create the solution.

Q/A, Marketing Managers, Business Intelligence / Analytics also need to be won over. If you show your co-workers opportunity & solutions, things can work out.

The second speaker, Marshall Simmonds, is the chief search strategist for The New York Times Company

Different perspectives: In-house, Embedded Strategist (half and half), Consulting.

Steps to success: Establish Knowledge / Expertise / Success.

Buy-in happened at the Executive level; who you are, what you do, what you did; Run small / big success up the flagpole.

Understand the topic / department / division.

Research (e.g. Google Trends, Site stats, successful and unsuccessful searches).

Know the CMS quirks and language. Best practices may not apply. Who will be there?

Editors Overloaded; Don’t understand what you’re talking about; Holistic approach, not itemized.

SEO is everyone’s responsibility.

Ask/Answer questions they should ask. “Do I have to do the research?” “CMS Issues” “Where is the biggest bang for the buck?” “How much traffic can I expect?” Explain experiences with metrics and dollars.

E-commerce: Lots more data. Branding…harder message to convey.

Popularity. Be ready to support the plan and pushback. Results take time. Metrics save jobs. Find quick wins / Leverage Relationships / Buy-in. Be careful in talking about ranking.

The third speaker, Kara Jariwala, is a Search Marketing Strategist for Cisco.

Going global: What does it take?

Simple aspects:

Agenda:

Examine your approach to global search;

Building success globally;

Measure Results;

Closing Thoughts.

Approach to search: Hub and spoke. Roles: Hub: Central team directs strategy. Spoke: Theaters and countries learn and execute SEO. Joint funding for SEO between the central team and the countries.

Vet expectations up front. What will it take for both sides to participate in search?

Laying it all on the table:

1) Countries required to fill out an intake form.

2) SEO team creates strategy document annually for each country or theater

3) Review deliverables timeline with contingencies and owners.

Do WebEx conferences; bring gifts. Training is important. Build rapport with the people you need to work with. Measure results.

Closing thoughts: Centralization of efforts is important. Personalize your client relationships. Automation is important but don’t over-automate and give the clients pieces of the engagement small enough to take action on.

The final speaker, Derrick Wheeler, is Senior SEO Architect for Microsoft.

In-House SEO: The Journey Begins.

Derrick just optimizes Microsoft.com.

First, he had to understand the scope of the site…used a crawler to learn what was there. Also, looked through search engines and worked with agency partners to get their insight into what was there.

3 levels of SEO: Site-wide (Enterprise-Wide), Site-Specific, and Page-level.

Top 5 site-wide issues:

  • Duplicate and Undesirable content.
  • Use of redirects (mostly 301’s and 302’s).
  • Site-wide error handling.
  • Structure of subsidiary sites.
  • Title and meta quality.

Used an MSN crawler to crawl the Microsoft.com site with the end game of figuring out how big the Microsoft.com site is.

Success metrics: Solid structure, quality content, inbound link authority.

Site specific SEO programs: Do it yourself (step by step guidance); Agency Supported (Hybrid Model) and Full Service Agency used throughout the enterprise.

Todd Mintz is the Director of Internet Marketing & Information Systems for S.R. Clarke Inc., a Real Estate Development and Residential / Commercial Construction Executive Search / Recruiting Firm headquartered in Fairfax, VA with offices nationwide. He is also a Director & Founding Member of SEMpdx: Portland, Oregon’s Search Engine Marketing Association.

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