Here are a couple of examples of the most effective things you can do to improve your search engine ranking, which you'll immediately see are best done in-house.
Yesterday I told you why we believe that a decent search engine optimisation service would cost several thousand pounds a month and why you shouldn't contract it out unless you have that sort of budget. Here are a couple of examples of the most effective things you can do to improve your search engine ranking, which you'll immediately see are best done in-house.
The first is to get all of the titles and meta descriptions in place right across your site. Start with a spreadsheet-based listing of your whole site (if you're one of our Insider Programme members, just ask us to generate one). You just need a list of every page, and the title and meta description for each. Then go through, page by page, making sure each page has a unique title and description targeting a specific search term. It's not the world's most exciting job, so your first thought might be to subcontract the task. But you're going to need someone who's comfortable with your terminology, however technical. That means either doing it in-house or (if you're lucky) finding a technical writer who can take on the job. It's not something you can farm out to some advertising agency or IT geek.
The second SEO job is to set up the most obvious external links to your site. This is a chore, and again, it's something you might instinctively think of outsourcing, especially if someone approaches you and says they're good at that sort of thing. But the best links are within your own industry, and the best person to get those is you. Trade associations, your own suppliers, and the exhibitions, magazines and directories you routinely deal with: all are great sources of links to your site. No external SEO Consultant is going to know about those. So you'll have to micromanage your subcontractor, and even then, those organisations are going to end up being asked for links by some independent third-party, rather than you. The chances of actually being granted a link will be massively reduced.
So I know it's probably not what you want to hear, but we believe the fundamentals of good search engine optimisation are best done in house. It's difficult to resist the increasingly mature sales patter of the third-party SEO experts who claim to be able to "get you to number one in Google" (whatever that means), but unless you have the budget to fund an outsourcing exercise properly, it's money wasted. And if you do have the money, you'd probably be better off hiring somebody to work on the job full-time!