Duane Forrester, Founding Co-Chair for
the In-House Committee with SEMPO
Duane Forrester is an in-house search marketer for a sports media company in Canada. He’s also a
private search marketing consultant and a co-chair on the In-House Committee and a board mem-
ber of SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization), a professional organization for
SEMPO is a global non-profit organization serving the search engine marketing industry and market-
ing professionals engaged in it. Its purpose is to provide a foundation for industry growth through
building stronger relationships, fostering awareness, providing education, promoting the industry,
generating research, and creating a better understanding of search and its role in marketing.
Jerri: Does being an in-house search marketer change the way that you approach SEO and
Being in-house doesn’t change it, my perspective does. And my perspective is that I treat
my company as if they are my client and I am their consultant. I am a consultant. But when I start
getting into the nuts and bolts of search marketing, it’s no different than if I was at an agency. I would
approach search marketing the same way, I just wouldn’t know the client as well as I know the client
that I’m an in-house marketer for.
There are some differences worth noting between smaller and larger companies, however. Smaller
businesses usually have fewer stake-holders in a given project, making it much easier to be heard
at the table and ensure the right bits get “baked into” the search optimization pie from the very
Because our organization isn’t large, I can sit down with a product manager and say, “Here’s what
I need and here’s why I need it.” They can then build the product around those needs, making the
entire process more efficient.
So one benefit is that it’s much easier, since I’m in-house, to get exactly what we need integrated
very early in the development cycle.
Jerri: What would you consider the state of search marketing today?
There’s a lot of offshore growth in search marketing and a proliferation of search engine
software. Lots of seemingly knowledgeable search marketing experts take a software application and
spin it to make it appear to meet more needs than it does. It’s a very lucrative business.
But if I were going to hire a search marketing company and planned to spend $7,500 to $10,000 a
month for that service, I would expect the effort to be based around knowledge, not just a software
tool. There should be some level of personal experience and interaction as well.
It is so expensive to hire a search marketing company now that I would shy away from any con-
sultant or business that relies on a software program to guide them. For the same budget, there are
some great search marketers who have a lot of experience — experience makes the difference, not
bapp02_6. 9:22 315