One of the most confusing things about hiring an SEO for the first time is – Where exactly should the SEO, or the SEO department go? Who should they report to? Who do they need to clear things with or get permission from before implementing major changes?
This is a tricky subject, because SEO touches on so many different aspects of the business.
Temporary Embed vs. In House Team
When people think of “in house SEO,” they actually mean one of two things.
The first thing they might mean is a temporary embed. A temporary embed is actually an SEO or an SEO firm that works inside your office. However, they’re only “embedded” in your office for a short period of time.
While they’re there, they’ll interface with a variety of different departments. However, because they’re not there to stay and often because their hourly / daily rate is quite high, they’ll have a high level of authority to make changes.
The idea behind a temporary embed is that they’ll come in, have whatever resources they’ll need to make fast changes, then leave.
The other definition of “in house SEO” is the true permanent team. This is where you have one or more persons working on SEO on a regular basis. When you’re doing this, you need to carefully consider exactly what department SEO belongs to.
It’s common for SEOs to be placed in the communication or branding departments. It’s easy to see SEO and the website as an important tool for communicating with consumers.
However, at heart SEO isn’t about branding. It’s not about communicating either. It’s a results oriented marketing strategy, designed to get a website higher in the search engines.
SEOs don’t spend their day trying to figure out the optimal brand angle or the best message to put forward. They’re trying to get something ranked, period. Because the mindset, the methodology and the goals are very different, SEO often doesn’t belong in the communication or branding department.
Are They … Design & Development?
Since SEOs work closely with the web team and often need to put out web content as well as make changes to the website, it’s also quite common for people to place SEOs in the design or the development team.
While this can make the SEO’s life easier, it can also make things more challenging.
Again, the mindset behind SEO and design are very different. With SEO, the idea is to get traffic and get things out there. With design and development, the mindset is often to get things perfect. To tweak the design until it “clicks” or to develop the website until there are no bugs.
An SEO may just want to launch a piece of content and see if it spreads. A designer might want to work on it for a week before he feels that it shines a good light on the brand.
Working here could make certain resources more available to the SEO, but it could also be a major pair of handcuffs.
SEOs are also sometimes placed in the IT department. The IT department’s job is to make sure everything works on the site before it’s pushed into the real world. They handle any technical issues that arise.
Since the SEO team is working on the website itself, it makes sense in a way to have them in the IT department. In reality however, this is perhaps one of the worst departments to put an SEO team in.
SEOs are constantly thinking and talking about tactics to get more customers. The IT team on the other hand works on technical issues. It’s a completely different skill set that attracts completely different people.
Are They … Marketing?
SEO is at its core a marketing tool. Its job is to get more people to your business. The skills and the people required are marketing skills and marketing people.
The marketing team has the tools and resources to support and work with an SEO team. The manager of the marketing team will understand the thinking and the needs of the SEO team. In other words, the marketing team just makes the most sense.
This is a guest post by Sameer Panjwani from Directory Maximizer, a company that helps webmasters and SEO agencies across the globe to build links through manual directory submission. You can also check out his SEO blog for latest and trending topics on SEO.
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