The second thing is that some companies (or even particular individuals/departments within a com-
pany) seem to give more trust in what a consultant says versus what an employee says. Any in-house
search marketer could give you examples of how they pitched changes again and again and received
opposition; however, once a consultant recommended that same change, it suddenly became a won-
derful idea that is technically feasible. This is one of the reasons that I recommend in-house search
marketers have an SEO consultant available for outside counsel.
Lastly, when your rankings drop, or traffic decreases, you don’t typically have other sites that you
can compare with to see if they saw something similar. Whereas when you work with an agency
they work with many clients and can compare you with a number of sites to see if there was a big
change in the formula that affected many companies, or it is something that specifically affected you.
Jerri: Do you ever work with outsourcers on parts of your search marketing?
Yes. I love to outsource portions of a project. I have a short list of preferred vendors for
keyword research, directory submissions, troubleshooting, copywriting, site audits, question and
answer, code reviews, and there is even one someone I use to keep me up to speed on industry news
when I get extra busy.
Jerri: What suggestions would you make for organizations that are considering bringing their
search marketing in-house?
Know what you’re getting into. There are many ways to bring search marketing in-house
and structure the team, tactics, etc. Search marketing in-house will not likely reach its
fullest potential if your in-house search marketer is also allocated on other things. You
typically spend about 80 percent of your time selling SEO and 20 percent actually doing
SEO work. Also, bear in mind that, while the agency you hired only worked 20 hours per
week, outside of your billable hours the consultants kept up with trends and news out-
side of that 20 hours. Also they live and breathe search marketing all day, making them
far more productive than a typically isolated in-house search marketer. Also, your outside
consultant wasn’t responsible for getting the changes through the IT department.
Budget for outside counsel, a more experienced consultant to reach out to when you have
Make it a priority to attend search marketing conferences, at least two conferences per
year. When you’re in-house you tend to lose perspective and put on your “corporate-tinted
glasses.” Conferences bring you back to the search marketing reality and keep you grounded.
Jerri: Is there anything particular that an organization should avoid if it’s managing its search
Don’t work in isolation. It’s very easy to get so caught up in busy work that you lose touch
with changes in the industry. At one time cloaking was accepted, now it can get you banned. Just
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