In House SEO tips and advice part 2
Continuing from my last post about In House SEO advice. Read on to find out how to deal with SEO issues in a corporate environment.
Repeat problems - certain problems can continue to appear because staff are uninformed or looking for a quick fix. I spotted repeated use of "meta refresh" on a site and this looked like an automated script that needed removing, such was the consistency of the code and placement. Instead I found there to be a step by step redirect process that developers would follow, so I had to change this process and educate staff so they knew why they were doing what they were doing.
SEO champions - I selected staff that would become SEO champions. These would be trained in basic SEO issues and be assigned the task of notifying me when they came across a problem. I could then solve the problem myself with the member of staff there so they could understand the process. This helped to spread my influence better than being just a single SEO in a global multinational. It's a bit like being in charge of an army... One general needs lieutenants and sergeants to help communicate the strategy... even with mobiles/blackberry phones and email, communication in these large companies is best done face to face. Emails are just too easy to ignore! Having these other members of staff on your side makes your job easier to do well.
Projects - You cannot micro manage everything on a site, instead use automated scripts to assign a process for a title tag/meta description. Where dynamic optimisation is not possible, train up an SEO champion for that part of the business. If this is possible, write up a step by step guide to the basics... Writing good titles, good descriptions and good content etc. While the work they do might not be perfect SEO, it might just win a bit more revenue than without this help.
Automate - Establish a link policy, big companies usually work with 3rd parties so look for an opportunity to include a return link to a suitable page as part of the agreement or contract with these 3rd parties.
Focus on the big picture - It gets annoying seeing broken links and duplicated title tags but working on huge sites will always throw up problems and errors. Do work that will improve the bottom line rather than focus on making 5000 perfect title tags (do that if you can though!). Big companies listen where money is concerned, if you double revenue on natural search, they will listen when you say you need development time to fix the broken title tags... Always remember that you are measured on cash and not quality! Once you prove your worth you will earn respect and that much needed development time...
A narrow focus doesn't work is a corporate environment. I am responsible for natural search and I often find broken links on the sites I manage. I could fix them myself, but with a 10 strong team of copyrighters, it will be a full time job. Instead, I found the pre-go live checklist that the copyrighters use to check content before go live, and made sure a best practice link instruction and check was included. SEO on this scale makes it impossible for you to be involved on every individual project so you must look to extend your influence as wide as possible. This is no role for a shy retiring type. Your ideas will conflict with others and compromise is often the result. This will annoy some agency SEOs that more or less have their clients over a barrel (either do as I say or risk inferior results)
Some people will never understand SEO properly because they focus on... Why are we only #2 for "brand search term" ? We need to be at #1! I don't care if our revenue has quadrupled since the start of the year. Some of these you will need to ignore, some you should ignore but will often have to do something. You need to be a bit bloody minded, you don't get anywhere by trying to please everyone, you'll only realise that this is a promise only fools make!
Once you are a proven money generator you can recommend improvements without having to make massive business cases. This is how to succeed as an in house SEO. Focus on project work, by this I mean, establish what problems you want to solve (meta description and title tags on the entire site) and get together a team to do this. Contact your SEO agency if you have one and get them started on Keyword research. Once you have completed this task, you can cross it off the list.
The advantage of working in this way is that you become less focused on the 1 bit of missing description on the "contact us" page and more focused on fixing links on the whole site. If you didn't work in this structured way, you'd be forever working on the CMS fixing links, correcting misspellings and html code. On the sites I work with, this would be a lifetimes work...
Read part 1 In House SEO tips
Labels: In House SEO