Twelve Points to Consider Before Hiring an In-House Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Consultant

When a Small, medium or big sized business needs a competent search engine optimization (SEO) consultant, there are four options available:1 – Assemble a team of in-house webmasters, programmers and marketers to do the job.2 – Contract the job to a specialized SEO company.3 – Post an advertisement to hire an SEO consultant to work as an employee in the company.4 – Get an in-house SEO consultant from a specialized company to work with their staff without being an employee.So, what is the best option for your company? There are many points to consider before taking your decision.1 – Assembling your in-house team of webmasters and marketers will never work: From my long experience, assembling a team of in-house webmasters, programmers and marketers to do the job will never succeed as none of them has enough experience in optimization. Moreover, they do not realize what are the challenges that they are up against or the hidden problems from which their website is suffering.2 – Applying the best SEO practices: When starting any online project, the in-house SEO consultant will work with your managers to ensure that the Best SEO Practices are applied to every project, which will make it much faster to get your new web pages and other internet promotional advertisement to the first pages of Google and other major search engines.3 – SEO training seminars and workshops: An in-house SEO consultant will be able to organize SEO training seminars and workshops for different departments and different levels of employees on how to apply and include the Best SEO Practices in every online project.4 – Getting more profitable and productive ideas: The daily discussions and the direct communications between an in-house SEO consultant and the company administrators, managers, directors, programmers and webmasters will spark many new ideas on both sides. A simple idea or a suggestion in such an atmosphere can make a huge difference in starting a new campaign or modifying and existing one to be more profitable.5 – Creating the most SEO friendly websites: An in-house SEO consultant will be able to work more easily with your managers to apply any necessary modifications or redesigns to your websites in order to convert them into the most SEO friendly websites in the shortest possible time and with the least efforts. This will ensure that your websites will rank in the first pages of Google, Yahoo, Bing and other major search engines in the shortest time.6 – Detailed SEO audit: working with your webmasters and programmers, an in-house SEO consultant can more easily perform a detailed SEO audit to list all the points that need correction or modification in your website and in your different online advertising campaigns.7 – Selecting the most effective and profitable keywords to use for optimization: Having a direct contact with your staff in different departments will enable the in-house SEO consultant to finish the process of selecting the most effective and profitable keywords in no time, so the whole process of optimization can start quickly and become more effective and productive.8 – Adding social media marketing as an integral part of your internet marketing strategies: The in-house SEO consultant will have a direct relationship with a few selected employees in different departments to train them on how to establish a solid presence in different Social Media platforms. Maintaining a healthy presence on different Social Media platforms is a costly and time-consuming process. Having the in-house SEO consultant start and only supervise the selected company employees doing the daily Social Media Marketing activities will significantly reduce the cost involved in the process.9 – Publishing press releases: Being in direct contact with different levels of administration, it is much easier for an in-house SEO consultant to find dozens of ideas for new press releases every week. He can coordinate and publish many press releases every month to promote the products and services of the company, enhance branding and create hundreds of high quality back links which will post the positions of many keywords to rank in the first pages of Google, Yahoo, Bing and other major search engines.10 – Blogging: An in-house Consultant will have better chances to get many blog posts from different departments to post in the company blogs every week. An outside SEO company will not be in a similar position to contact different experts in the company to write blog posts. Every well written and optimized blog post is an asset and a testimony for the company. Blog posts will create hundreds of high quality back links in addition to promoting the products and services of the company.11 – Saving your time and money wasted on interviewing and hiring: Hiring an experienced SEO consultant is not an easy task. Hours are wasted in evaluating and interviewing many candidates. The interviewers usually do not have enough knowledge to enable them to pick up the most qualified candidates. On the other hand, getting an In-House SEO Consultant from a specialized SEO company will ensure having an experienced consultant without wasting any time in the hiring process.12 – Full-time or part-time: An In-House SEO Consultant from a specialized company can work one or two days per week, one or two days per month or five days a week. Depending or you needs and the turnover of your online projects, the in-house consultant can work one or two days in one week, five days the next week and one day in the following week. This provides you with flexibility which is not always possible when you hire an employee and save your business a lot of money when there is not much work for an SEO consultant.In Conclusion:Hiring a competent SEO consultant is never easy especially if the hiring managers are not proficient enough in SEO to identify and pick the best candidate.An in-house SEO consultant will work wonders for any business website by establishing clear standards for the Best SEO Practices in all company departments involved in the process of launching, modifying, improving and maintaining the many websites of your company.Getting an in-house SEO consultant from a specialized SEO company is the most productive and cost-effective option. Many companies have realized the value and the cost savings involved in getting an In-House SEO Consultant. These companies have achieved their goals in getting higher returns on their investments in web optimization and internet marketing.

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Professional SEO: Hand Off to Bob or Outsource the Job

We are often asked if professional SEO (search engine optimization) can be done effectively utilizing in-house talent. Despite our obvious self-interests on the subject, our answer is always a qualified “yes”- you can achieve professional SEO results using existing talent. However, for every company we have known that has met with great in-house SEO success, we know of many more that have seen their in-house efforts fail. We have also discovered the companies that have succeeded share some common traits.If your company is considering doing SEO in-house, there are some critical questions that you should address before you proceed.

Do I have the proper resources at my disposal to achieve professional SEO results?

Search engine optimization takes time, and your internal SEO expert will need to have a great deal of it at his or her disposal – especially at the project’s outset when target audiences, keyphrases, and optimization schemes are first being established. Even after the initial optimization effort, the nature of SEO will require this person to spend ample time keeping up with industry trends, monitoring campaign progress, performing A/B testing, and expanding the campaign as new product and service areas are added.

Perhaps even more important than time, achieving professional SEO results requires a unique set of aptitudes. The person responsible for your internal SEO initiative must possess the ability to learn quickly and to look at your website from a macro-perspective, marrying together the needs of sales, marketing, and IT. He or she can not be an aggressive risk taker, as this is often a surefire way to get your website penalized and potentially removed from the major search engines. These gifted people exist in many companies, but given the unique attributes that these individuals possess, their time is often already spent in other crucial areas of the business.

Without enough time to invest in the project or the right type of person to execute it, an internal SEO initiative is likely doomed to fail.

Do I know which departments of my company should be involved, and will they work with an insider?

As mentioned above, professional SEO, by necessity, involves marketing, sales, and IT. The SEO expert must work with marketing to find out what types of offers and initiatives are working offline to help translate them effectively online. He or she must work with sales to identify the types of leads that are most valuable so that you can target the right people in the keyphrase selection process. And, finally, your SEO expert will need to work with IT to determine any technical limitations to the SEO recommendations, learn of any past initiatives based on a technical approach, and get the final optimization schemes implemented on the website.

Sadly, in many businesses, these departments have a somewhat adversarial relationship. However, it is the duty of the SEO expert to act as a project manager and coordinate the efforts of all three departments if you are going to get the most out of your campaign. No professional SEO project can be completed in a vacuum. For whatever reason, it is often easier for an outsider to get adversarial departments on the same page, in the same way that a marriage counselor might convince a woman of her undying love for her husband while the husband is still grimacing from a well-placed knee in the parking lot.

Will someone be held accountable for the results?

This may seem like a small consideration, but it can have a tremendous impact on the success of the campaign. If you have added this responsibility to some poor soul’s job description with the direction that he or she should “do the best you can,” you’ll be lucky to make any headway at all (especially if the person is not enthusiastic about SEO). Whether SEO is done in-house or outsourced, someone will have to take responsibility for showing progress, explaining setbacks, and continually improving results. Without this accountability, it is very common to see an initiative fade as the buck is passed.

Can I afford delayed results based on a learning curve?

It’s a reality – professional SEO expertise has a steep learning curve. While the information on how to perform the basics of optimization are freely available on the web, much of the information out there is also contradictory, and some of it is actually dangerous. It takes time for someone unfamiliar with the discipline to sort the SEO wheat from the SEO chaff (on a side note, a “quoted” search of Google reveals that this may actually mark the first occasion in human history that the phrase “SEO chaff” has been used – we’re betting it’s also the last). Simply put, if the person you are putting on the job has no experience, it will take longer to get results. This may not be a consideration if you aren’t counting on new business from SEO any time soon. However, if you are losing business to your competition due to their professional SEO initiatives, time might be a larger factor.

Will it cost me less to do it in house than it would to choose a professional SEO firm?

Often, companies will attempt this specialized discipline in-house in order to save money, and sometimes this works out as intended. However, accurate calculations of the cost of in-house labor that would be involved versus the price of the firm you would otherwise hire should be performed to make an accurate comparison. When making this calculation, also factor in the opportunity cost of the resource – the tasks that your in-house people are not able to perform because they are involved in SEO.

In addition, if worse comes to worst and your in-house SEO expert is led astray by some of the more dangerous “how-to” guides available, it can cost even more to repair the damage than it would have to hire a professional SEO firm to perform the optimization from the outset. And an internal SEO campaign gone wrong can cost even more than the stated fee – websites that violate the terms of service of the major search engines (whether intentional or not) can be severely penalized or even removed, costing you a lot of lost revenue when potential customers can not find your website for a period of time.

Do I believe that the end result I’ll get in-house will be equal to or greater than the results I would have gotten from a professional SEO firm?

Search engine optimization can create huge sales opportunities, and slight increases in overall exposure can have not-so-slight increases in your bottom-line revenue. If you believe that your talented in-house resource will, given enough time, achieve results equal to or greater than those that could have been achieved by the professional SEO firm you might have chosen, it may make sense to do it internally.

However, in addition to a better knowledge of industry trends, one clear advantage that search engine optimization firms have is the benefit of the experience and macro-perspective that comes from managing many different websites over time. Professional SEO firms can watch a wide range of sites on a continual basis to see what trends are working, what trends aren’t, and what formerly recommended tactics are now actually hurting results.

This macro-perspective allows professional SEO firms to test new tactics as they appear on a case-by-case basis and apply those results across a wide range of clients to determine what the benefit is. It is harder for an individual with access to only one site to perform enough testing and research to achieve optimum results all the time, something that should also factor into the equation.

Do I have at least a slight tolerance for risk?

Neophytes to SEO can make mistakes that can lead to search engine penalization or removal. This happens most commonly when they have an IT background and treat SEO as a strictly technical exercise. We are often called in to assist companies who have had an internal initiative backfire, leaving them in a worse position than the one they were in before they started. The simple truth is that you cannot perform effective SEO without marrying your efforts to the visitor experience, but this is not something that is intuitively understood when people approach SEO for the first time.

However, professional SEO firms are not perfect either. Some firms use those same optimization methods that violate the search engines’ terms of service and can get your site penalized. So, if you do decide to outsource, educate yourself on SEO and do some research on the firm. Know the basics of the business, find out who the firm’s clients are and how long they’ve been in business, and ask for professional references – just like you would do with any major business purchase.
If you have considered all of the above questions, and your answers to all seven are “yes,” your company may be uniquely equipped to achieve professional SEO results in-house. If you answered “no” to any of the first three questions but “yes” to the rest, it does not necessarily mean that you can’t perform SEO in-house – just that you may not be in a position to do so at this time. Taking the actions required to get you in the right position to answer in the affirmative might be worth your while. However, if you answered “no” to any of the last four questions, you may want to consider outsourcing the project to a professional SEO firm.A professional SEO firm has the resources, the time, the expertise, and, most importantly, the experience, to launch an SEO initiative for your website that will have a positive effect on your bottom line. Whichever option you choose, it is important that you fully embrace the channel. A half-hearted initiative, whether done internally or outsourced, can be as ineffective as taking no action at all.

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Why You Should Travel Young

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”-Henry MillerTraveling is simply a brutality of humanity, it is when we travel that we see things for what they truly are and not how we imagined them to be. Traveling also lets our imagination run wild without expectations, it lets us see things from a new perspective, without the alleged prejudice of the world. And while all of this seems to be an adequate reason to travel, many are still na├»ve to the idea of traveling.But just as many are left in the dark to wonder and wander, some are out there exploring and enjoying what the world has to offer them, for it is in that brief moment of youth that we can truly experience life, as we know it.Now the question of many remains, “Why Should I Travel Young”? Personally, I can give you a hundred, even a thousand reasons why you should travel when you’re young but if you’re desire to see the world begins and ends with your “Wish to See the World” then I’m afraid no amount of reasoning would suffice to convince you to go after what you want.You see, traveling as much as it is a form of recreation is also a commitment, a vocation for some, but ultimately, it is a responsibility. A responsibility you should be willing to take onto yourself. Many people say that the young are lucky to have the health and the wealth to see the world but what they do not realize is that the young are often distracted, deceived and sometimes, deluded.So if you’re one of the young’uns who wish to unearth the world’s greatest places and learn life’s most valuable lessons, but are afraid to make it happen, read along, maybe I can convince you to travel while you still have the gift of youth.
Traveling teaches you a sense of adventure- Don’t quote me on this one but based on my experience, traveling allows you to have as much as fun as you want without having to worry of what other people will say about you. You don’t have your peers or parents to warn you and judge you, so you can be young, wild and free. Life is an adventure and traveling lets you experience that.
Traveling teaches you to be compassionate- Other than the photos, the souvenir and the life-long memory that traveling gives you, it also edifies you of the real situation and teaches you to care for other people, sometimes not of your own kind.
Traveling allows you to be culturally diverse- If you think traveling is all about sight-seeing and marveling at the wonders each country has, then you’re right. But there’s also something more important that traveling teaches us, it allows us to be culturally diverse. Whenever we travel, it is important that we follow the local practices of the country/destination we are going to. As the old saying goes, “Respect begets Respect” If we learn to respect and even appreciate the culture of other nationalities then we become more aware of our own. That’s the mutual benefit we get from traveling.
Traveling makes you more attractive as a person- they say that the most attractive people in the world are those that have seen it. Do you agree? I do. It is because of the invaluable and immeasurable life experiences we have with our travels that make us a better person, and when you feel you’re better, you become more attractive.
When you travel young, you travel more- let’s face it, we’re all bound to grow old and lose our health. But while we’re young and at the peak of everything, it’s best to take advantage of it and start traveling, after all, you’re only allowed until your 30s to hike a mountain or ride the rapids of the river.
Traveling makes it easy to make friends- if back at your hometown you tend to cling to the same group of people bound by a circle of friendship, then maybe you should travel more often. Traveling has been proven as one of the best ways to gain friends and build bonds, after all, you are all strangers to one another at one point but because of your common interest to see the world, you are bound by it as well. And get this; wouldn’t it be nice to have friends in all parts of the world? That would be way cool, way cooler than your friends back home.
Traveling makes you a better storyteller- You might not get this now but when you have kids or grandchildren, you will. Those who travel young have more opportunities to experience everything there is to traveling. With the many countries that you’ve visited and you’ll be traveling to is a story waiting to be told. Traveling gives you things to share over breakfast, lunch or dinner. When you travel, you will never have a hard time thinking of a topic to talk about; not to mention you’ll keep everyone with your story.
Now if for some strange reason, after citing all these reasons why you should travel young and you’re still not convinced; it’s pretty obvious that you have a fear inside you that you’re just trying to hide so everyone won’t think you’re a coward who can’t face it. Is it fear of heights? Fear of the unknown? Fear of being independent? Whatever it is, know that traveling, especially alone, will help you address that fear. You just have to take the big leap of faith and make the first step to make your traveling dreams a reality. You only live once; and you’re only young for a short period of time, if you don’t travel now, when?

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