TAMPA, FLORIDA—Many companies have been doing search engine optimization in-house for a long time, but they have traditionally been bigger businesses. This year, Ali Husayni has noticed more interest from small to mid-sized businesses in his SEO consulting and coaching services.
“For large companies with a large website and a big marketing budget, in-house SEO has been a no-brainer,” says Husayni, the founder and CEO of Millionairium, SEO company. “Smaller companies are realizing that SEO is a force to be reckoned with and that they need it to be competitive in their market.”
One example of in-house SEO and what it can accomplish is Huffington Post, a news source with syndicated columnists, blogs and news stories. Due to the SEO work of their in-house team, the Web site www.huffingtonpost.com was outranking the news organizations’ Web sites, such as Washington Post and CNN, who originally posted the articles, according to a New York Times article.
Business owners see the success of large companies. They also see their competitors doing well in search engine results (SERs) and are determined to get similar results. Some try outsourcing SEO first, but the average business owner does not have the knowledge to discern a real SEO expert from a con artist.
“They may try one or two SEO companies and get burned,” says Husayni, who offers free SEO consulting to qualified business owners. “There are a lot of SEO firms that make a client an SEO guarantee, including big promises about results and a time frame that they just can’t deliver on.”
A recent blog post about small businesses and in-house SEO makes a similar statement about scammers, adding four other reasons for the trend: save money in the long-run, reduce dependence, confidentiality and individualized attention.
Husayni maintains that avoiding the SEO scam artist is the number one reason for this in-house SEO trend, though.
“Instead of potentially wasting money on a company that doesn’t deliver, businesses are investing that money in an SEO team,” says Husayni, who offers a package for top of Google results with a 100% money-back guarantee.
According to Bob Tripathi, an internet marketing expert and Search Engine Watch blogger, the in-house SEO is often undervalued because monthly SEO dashboards or quarterly business reviews cannot capture the intangible benefits it offers the company.
Besides improving search engine rankings, which leads to increased visibility and more customers, Tripathi says in-house SEO can provide unique thought leadership, unite departments and attract outside expertise.
But the task of creating an in-house SEO program from the ground up can be quite overwhelming, which is why Husayni recommends businesses work with an SEO consultant or coach throughout the process.
AOL’s director in charge of search engine optimization, Simon Heseltine, recommends that companies without experience in-house hire an SEO agency to help get the program up and running.
“I’d say that for a company that is going to start an in-house team, they need to make sure that they know what questions to ask and what answers to expect,” says Heseltine.
Husayni says that utilizing a consultant helps businesses minimizes the risks of setting up an SEO team and maximizes the return on investment by showing them where to start, who to hire, what to focus on and how to measure success.
He expects the trend of small businesses turning to in-house SEO teams will continue, eventually become the industry norm. Because of this, Husayni is currently developing additional content on his website and blog, including how-to posts, top SEO secrets that are not actually secrets and information about hiring SEO, as well as articles with the latest information on the topic.
“SEO is a dynamic industry, always changing, always presenting new challenges to overcome and puzzles to solve,” says Husayni. “This is just a new way for Millionairium to help clients achieve and maintain their search engine results’ success.”