I-Search #122: Great Debate

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             "Understanding Internet Search Technology"
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Disa Johnson                                       SearchReturn
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March 22, 2007                            SearchReturn Issue #122
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            "Great Debate"
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==> Great Debate

At Search Summit in Sydney Australia, I had the chance to perform
on a panel debate where the topic was centered on whether the
audience should work SEO entirely in-house or outsource it to a
third party.  Each audience member had a voting handset, and a
poll conducted prior to the debate revealed that 52% performed
their SEO entirely in-house to approximately 20% that outsourced.
The remaining figures went to partial in-house or outsource but
the majority of them did SEO in-house.

Each speaker had five minutes to make their case and persuade the
audience with their votes.  I was up first, followed by Yahoo!
and there were six panelists in all.  With the luck of going
first, and all the passion I could muster in the moment, I
ultimately pulled in 76% of the vote for my debate and the number
of votes needed to win the whole debate.  The following is a
transcript of my go, and the audio will be posted in a short
while at http://www.positiontech.com once we develop a page with
additional information.

Enjoy!


I've got five minutes to convince you - especially the more than
half who answered the question, the poll, that they do SEO and
PPC entirely in-house about why you should at least double-think
that choice and perhaps consider outsourcing part or possibly all
of it.  The reason being, is there are a number of reasons, and
many of which you probably have heard from people who are trying
to sell you services - so I'm not going to try to repeat any of
those things, but I will try to explain exactly what the benefits
are for you to actually outsource it.

Of course, you've heard about cost.  Everyone talks about cost.
It can be cost effective particularly if the strategies that get
deployed for something as expensive as PPC is, saves you money
and those savings can compound month after month to actually help
you realize not just the savings over what the SEO charges, but
savings over what you might also internally be able to do.
Because working inside a company you may have sort of a narrow
view of your products and services and want people to think
outside of the box.

Are you doing social media optimization which is the new big
thing in the United States?  This is one of those things you're
going to want to figure out - how your company fits into social
media.  The types of websites that I'm talking about include the
Digg, Wikipedia, the del.icio.us tagging and that sort of thing.
Are you going to want to spend the resources to actually
investigate those services?  Figure out what social media
optimization is all about and actually deploy those resources and
spend that amount of time optimizing?  You know you can drive
more traffic to your website with one page-one Digg posting than
all of your rankings in the world will ever drive you.  And it's
the search marketing firms that are leading the charge in social
media optimization - starting in the United States.  It's just a
matter of time before it gets here in Australia.

We're talking about natural optimization now.  The folks that
have been doing it for a very long time know very well how to
optimize naturally.  They know very well the guidelines and they
keep you out of hot water.  Time and time again I have companies
who decide to go in-house and then they deploy something and get
in trouble and then they come back with their tail between their
legs.  I am not trying to disparage anybody who tries to do in-
house.  In fact, I encourage them.  But the issues are that they
might not be considering things like violating trademark law and
other things.  I see a lot of cases.   Actually, I do litigation
support for companies who get into trouble.

For instance, we were talking earlier about dynamic key word
insertion.  And then a keyword where someone is looking for a
competitor and then all of a sudden you've got an ad that is
displaying your competitor's name and it goes to your website.
Your competitor sees it and then gets really angry and then sends
a "cease and desist" letter your way.  Those are the types of
things that SEOs live, breathe and they either succeed or die by.

The successful ones, and obviously you are going to want to if
you do outsource - make sure you get references and other
information regarding the SEO you are thinking about in order to
make the choice to outsource.  But trust me.  These people that
do a good job and are reputable in the industry are people who
think of all these different things.

Let's just see a show of hands.  How many do social media
optimization right now?  Okay.  That's less than half which means
the half that said they do everything in-house - at least more
than half - say 25 or 30% of you - don't even do any social media
optimization.

The kinds of things and the kinds of traffic you can get with
that - including rankings - think about the ranking benefits that
you get when you do social media optimization correctly.  People
find your content and go "Gee, that's a site I would like to link
to!"  Bam!  New search engine rankings for you.  Maybe in a whole
new area you never even thought about.  Maybe even in a whole way
in which you don't think about your products and services because
you're in the narrow-minded company-specific thought process and
you don't think outside the box.

The people who also engage search - don't forget this - have
worked on behalf of a number of industries and can bring some of
the disciplines from outside your industry into your industry and
benefit you by driving more traffic to your site, saving you more
money with things that they have learned outside with other
firms.  That's why outsourcing makes sense.  It can save you
money and actually make you money over the money you save when
the SEO wins for you.

And also they can think outside the box.  They can drive more
traffic than you ever thought was possible.  And how do you know
if you're really doing it right if you're doing it in-house?
Because you look in your statistics and you're happy.  Hey,
search marketing is actually so profitable even if you're doing a
piss poor job!  You actually might show a profit and think
everything is cool.  Think about the potential you would be
missing if there is another 75% of success in profit margin out
there for you but you don't know.

What you don't know you don't know.  Them that know, know that
they know.  Them that don't know, they don't know they don't
know.  That's the problem.  And so with SEO and outsourcing,
you're going to hire the professionals and the expertise - those
that have the experience from way back have been doing search
marketing before Google was even a company.  And those types of
folks know what is important to search engines, what search
engines value.  They're in and out through the guidelines and
that sort of thing.

That's five minutes...

Voting breakdown...
Outsource Team 52% In-House Team 48%
Round 1 - Disa Johnson 76% Aidan Beanland 24%
Round 2 - Robbie Hills 39% Scott Gledhill 61%
Round 3 - Fionn Hyndman 42% Mike Motherwell 58%

 
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