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February 28, 2008

In House Issues

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Back from lunch. I’ll miss these lunches when I’m home tomorrow and I have to eat soup from a can instead. But enough about me. Moderator Jessica Bowman (Yahoo! Inc.) had a great line up of speakers ready for us. Let’s meet them. My buddy, Paul Bruemmer (Red Door Interactive), Bill Macaitis (Fox Interactive Media), William Scully (Siemens), Bob Tripathi (Discover Financial Services) and last but not least, Lisa proclaimed hottie Derrick Wheeler (Microsoft).

Now that you’ve learned everything you need to do to SEO your site, how do you take that back to your IT team? That’s what this panel is going to answer.

Bob Tripathi is up first. Is everyone excited for the last day at SMX? Yes, Bob, we totally are.

Discover isn’t just a credit card company, they have a lot of different business units that all need search engine marketing. He’s covering what to do when you’re just getting started or in your first or second year of your program.

Study the Landscape
What is the current state of search?>
How much search is currently being leveraged?

Areas of Search to bring In House
Weigh your options, figure out what you can handle in house versus hiring outside.

Make a case for transition
What your search program currently lacks
What will be the value addition
What will the the cost benefits.

TIP: Competitive Intelligence can be a great boost.

Be a Thought Leader
Help stakeholders expand their universe with search
Bait them with ideas
Provide updates, changes, etc, in the search world

TIP: Generate ROI and cost benefit working

Design your Search Organization
Centralize all functions of search?
Center of Excellence model?
Weigh Pros and Cons of each model

TIP: Choose your model depending on your company and industry

Get them “on-board”
Educate your executives
Get yourself the exec audience
Watch the “trickle down” effect

TIP: Makes them familiar with Paid vs. Organic search. Show them a SERP.

Go for Small Wins…build confidence
See where you can make a quick impact (see last session)

Get looped into the process.

TIP: Educate the Project Managers on Search

Treat each unit as a client

Make search easy for them
Keep them updated
Make success a priority.

Don’t get attached to any one department. Treat each as unique and look at a holistic view. Be the Buddha.

Jessica: Getting the right introductions is so key. I wrote a series on that at seminhouse.com. Go check it out tonight.

Derrick Wheeler is up next to explain the difference between agency and in house.

He used to be agency side and saw problems:

  • Opportunities vs resources
  • Sales vs production
  • Internal marketing
  • Client Fires
  • Blogs and articles — educating your clients without you.
  • New services
  • Enough brain power and time to get stuff done

He developed a wonderful dream of working on just one site. So he went to Microsoft. Today is his four month anniversary.

Major accomplishments:

  • Signed up for benefits
  • Find TWO cafeterias
  • Return to his office without getting lost
  • Can finally remember a 15+ people’s names
  • Identified a few duplicate content issue

Learning the language is hard. Everyone has their own jargon and acronyms that you have to learn. So he had to learn Microsoft language and has to teach MSers to speak SEO as well.

Microsoft is hundreds of Web sites all under a single domain that have their own teams and issues and styles but they affect each other.

Implementation used to be not his problem in an agency scenario. Now it’s entirely his problem.

Driving change requires more than just strenuously objecting. It requires spunk and an understanding of the organization – processes, politics, personalities.

You need to watch out for inconsistent agency execution. They can’t do it all themselves so they need standards.

Decide how your team needs to be structured

  • Size
  • Roles – not everyone needs to be an SEO expert, just enough to understand
  • Outside help? – Agency vs Freelancers

Factors to consider:

  • Budget
  • Size and complexity of your Web site
  • Current organizational structure
  • Recruiting Challenges.

Find the right in-house team based on strengths from Strength Finders 2.0. You can have a three person team with all the right strengths.

Bill Scully is up next for SEO to get visibility, getting clients, getting noticed and getting budget.

General considerations:

  • Who holds the purse strings
  • Who is faced with the burden of planning
  • Who are the stakeholders (R&D, etc)

SEO/SEM may be looked at as a threat

  • Change is difficult
  • Budgets shirt
  • Very measurable
  • Log of budget control

SEO/SEM is a long term commitment

Make a list of stakeholders and a short list of budget holders. Rank search fans v early adopters. Get on their schedule for a 15 min presentation. This meeting is about them not you. Show them how they can benefit from search.

Get away from the curse of knowledge. Stay away from SEO speak and use stories to illustrate the use. Talk to them in a way that they will be able to understand and relate to.

Time your initial presentation for milestones like a month before or after budgets are submitted/approved. 1 sales cycle before each financial milestone. As soon as you hear that someone’s sales are down or there is a new competitor, that’s an opportunity to change.

The pitch:
Show them their competitors. Your main message is invest, not spend. Show them value through PPC. Go through some sales training to learn how to sell to people based on their types.

Emphasize that when they’re deciding on the best media mix, SEO/SEM is always complementary. Online drives offline.

Getting noticed:

  • Get invited to the strategy and budget table
    • Share your KW research to inform them of market items
  • Reach out to R&D and New Product Teams
  • Get into the Company Sales & Marketing Planning Meetings
  • Introduce yourself to Acquisition Teams
  • Become a resource to the PR Team
  • Offer Offline KPI tracking (the real goal is to compare Offline/Online ROI)

Bill Macaitis and Paul Bruemmer are SEO Geeks here for the questions and answer sections. Bill works on big business. Paul is all about natural search.

Q&A

Where do you go for competitive research?

Bob: In our industry we have comscore data. There are sites that have information.

Derrick: You can do your own competitive research.

What do you use to provide the ROI on SEO?

Bill S: It could be the number of landing page hits, the number of downloads, etc. You can work with the sales force to see how many convert. It’s a surrogate number because people won’t believe you. I use pennies instead of dollars or visitors because people won’t believe you.

What are some things you recommend to overcome people not believing you?

Paul: We do a needs assessment and come up with an action plan.

Bill M: Sometimes you just have to get them to trust you. Take em out to lunch. Some are really competitive; show em how you can beat someone else. Identify how you’re going to sell to them.

Jessica: When I worked at Yahoo, I would train people. I would throw up their standards on the board and show them that they needed to be updated.

How do you integrate branding with SEO?

Paul: Good luck. Branding is off in la la land. It’s one of the hardest thing to do. Brand is almost another division. That’s a loading question. You need to work on getting core competencies done first.

Bill M: You need to get organized first. Present yourself as an ally. Search has branding elements to it. Brand recognizable sites have equity in them. [Yesterday someone mentioned that big brands do better to rely on their brand while smaller brands should rely on their keywords.]

If you only have one person, where you do start?

Derrick: What’s the nature of the business and your keyword market? that’s what’s going to determine your

Paul: Identify your goals and go and get budget.

Bill M: You can do it. I started one person part time and we’re growing every year.

What’s your one liner elevator pitch to your C-level?

Bill S: I drive traffic. I increase conversions.
Bill M: 6 billion searches every month is like the tide. If you don’t get yours, it’s going to your competitor.
Derrick: If you go to Google or Live Seach and type in spreadsheet, you won’t find Microsoft. You’ll find Google Docs. That gets their attention.

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One response to “In House Issues”

  1. Derrick Wheeler writes:

    Susan,

    Excellent write-up. Anytime the words “Derrick” and “hottie” are in close proximity, it must be a highly accurate posting.

    –Derrick



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