6 Lessons for In-House SEO that the IT Dept. Learned the Hard Way

In-house SEOs can learn from The Wall St. Journal’s advice for IT by Amit Basu and Chip Jarnagin.

“Too often, there’s a wall between a company’s information-technology department and everything else. That wall has to go.”

Replace “IT” with “SEO” and you’ll find valuable lessons for in-house SEO. Here are the blueprints from that article adapted for SEO.

  1. Begin with SEO literacy — and commitment — at the top
    In-house SEOs need to make the case and tie SEO directly to performance metrics, particularly in dashboards and management reports. If you don’t, no one else will make the connections.
  2. Hire an SEO leader who sees the big picture
    Sure, it’s important to know what’s hot on Sphinn, but you also need to understand marketing and technology-and to have strong relationships with the staff in those areas. And if aspects of SEO are outsourced, it’s important for you to closely manage those vendor relationships. As the article says, “Outsourcing simply shifts the emphasis of [SEO] management away from everyday operations and toward broader business considerations such as contract, relationship and performance management.”
  3. Create demand for SEO solutions
    Help business areas understand that SEO improvements make their units perform better. Use workshops, brown bag sessions or team meetings to get your SEO points across.
  4. Make sure nothing gets lost in translation
    “A company must have people at all levels who can translate [SEO] for those outside that department and translate the language of management for those in [SEO].” All parties should understand the inevitable trade-offs involved with SEO. Sometimes the brand needs to come first, sometimes Legal wins and sometimes the money isn’t there for the technology, but everyone needs to recognize what is and isn’t at stake.
  5. Rationalize SEO spending
    Review and justify SEO spending as carefully as you do other technology investments and have an SEO disaster recovery plan.
  6. Create a portfolio by evaluating risks and returns
    “There is a myth that IT investments can’t be evaluated because many of the advantages are intangible or can’t be monetized.” Sound familiar? Ensure your results are measurable.

Those are just some of the ways in-house SEOs can take heart in and learn from the challenges their IT colleagues face. What will you add to the list?


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