Marketing Profs B-to-B Forum Session 1: Bringing SEO In-House Without Missing a Beat

by Nathan W. Burke on June 8, 2009

All right, here we go. The wireless is working, I’ve got a power strip right next to me, and I’ve consumed about a half gallon of apple juice. Life is most certainly good.

The first session I’m checking out is all about SEO, a topic that has always fascinated me. Here’s the description:

Bringing SEO In-house Without Missing A Beat

Many companies are considering bringing SEO in-house to save money, but doing so is challenging. It’s usually done with a lot of trial and error and often has a detrimental impact on the program. In this session, we’ll show you how companies are bringing their SEO programs in-house wihtout missing a beat. You’ll discover real-life examples about how companies are implementing SEO in-house across the globe.

You’ll learn:

  • How to mitigate the obstacles
  • What works, what doesn’t work
  • When it still makes sense to use an outside agency, and how to make the most of your spend


Jessica Bowman- In-house SEO Advocate, founder of
Bill Scully, Director E-Marketing, Siemens Water TEchnologies

Jessic Bowman isn’t here, so Bill Scully is jumping in to run the show. Rather than making the presentation about moving from an agency to in-house, he’s going to focus on what to do to optimize SEO in house.

In house SEO requires dedication and continuous learning, and takes up a huge percentage of a person’s time. He’s showing his Daily, Weekly and Yearly tasks:

Daily SEM tasks:

Listen to SEO and Online Marketing Podcasts- Downloading and listening to them going to and from work.
Reading SEO/SEM Newsletters and Blogs
Check Twitter Account for breaking news
KeepĀ  a journal- Keeping a log of tests and changes
Check Analytics

Weekly SEM tasks:

Analyze web logs and reports for:

  • Key campaign traffic changes
  • Goal changes
  • Overall Traffic Changes
  • 404 errors
  • Linking Generation Reports

SEO maintenance:

  • Page sculpting
  • Copy optimization
  • Work with IT
  • Link building

Monthly SEM tasks:

  • Attend WebEx
  • Audit site/templates
  • Check all no-follows are still in place
  • Make sure robots.txt file is still correct
  • Check custom 404 Page is still working
  • Check redirects are 301 and go to the proper pages
  • Update XML site map


  • Put together a 1 and 3 year SEO strategic Plan
  • Budget
  • Review staffing, service, training needs

Overall Strategy to get More Buy-in

Identify what you need to do

  • Do an SEO audit
  • Get a WordTracker Account
  • Start a program under the radar

Roll Out Small Pilot

  • Work with early adopters and meet monthly

Expand Pilot

  • Success breeds success
  • Go after easy wins
  • Ask for bigger commitment ($)

Make Business Case

  • Share Stats
  • Share competitive research

Ask for buy-in

  • Market your Keyword Tools
  • Meet with Product/Market Mgrs
  • Go after next year plans

That’s it for Bill, and now that Jessica is here, we’re going to go back to the other side of the presentation. The slides are available here.

Session Review Before It Is Over– Yup, I’m going to review this one right in the middle, as the presenter is taking time out to monkey around with the powerpoint file.

This one was okay. I think the reason I didn’t learn anything here is that:

  • I’m not from a huge company looking to bring SEO in-house
  • Because of that, I don’t need to learn the process of getting buy-in from different departments

So, if I were from a large company looking for advice into how to get more $$ for an in-house PPC campaign, this might be a really informative session for me. I’m definitely not knocking it; I’m just not the right audience.

The key takeaway from the session is this: SEO takes a lot of time, and you’re probably doing it wrong. That’s the message that I’m hearing here.

One bullet that makes sense: In-house resources often do not have the respect of a consultant. I completely agree with this. In my experience, an in-house person that is absolutely kicking maximum ass at driving traffic to the site is seen as an amateur doing the bare minimum. The company brings in a consultant that puts together a 15 slide PowerPoint that regurgitates Matt Cutts quotes, talks about Meta Tags and charges $5K, and they’re hailed as a genius without actually doing anything.

I’ve been there before, folks (three or 4 jobs ago), and I’m not bitter at all.

Piece of advice: Everyone that wants to get started with Keyword Suggestions, Difficulty of keywords, SEO score and grading, etc. that is in a b-to-b company that is currently using an agency should sign up for Hubspot. I strongly recommend it.

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