You’ve made the first all-important decision to hire an SEO practitioner, so the next question is where in your organisation do you place your in-house SEO for maximum benefit to your business?
A couple of important factors that will make a difference over where to put your in-house SEO are the budget for head count and ownership of the site.
Depending on your structure, a temporary position might make perfect sense. In this situation your in-house SEO may well report to two different bosses. A temporary in-house SEO is unique in that his or her sole purpose is to work as closely as possible with product or developers in order to get SEO changes made quickly. This can work particularly well as the role of your in-house SEO will be very project orientated and in this way you can expect your SEO actions to move at a particularly good pace.
If, on the other hand, you are looking at your new in-house SEO as a permanent team member they will probably have been hired by an individual department with a view to working with a single boss. Then your in-house SEO will work with different departments in the organisation.
You may place your in-house SEO as part of your company’s IT group. The thinking behind this is that as they have site ownership it makes sense to make your in-house SEO part of this group. But let’s hold on a moment here. It may appear to be logical, as the ethos of this group is technology-based and ensuring the smooth running of the site, to place your in-house SEO there. But it can be a mistake to let such an infrastructure group decide how to market your site. Should you then decide to place your in-house SEO in this way, the marketing part of SEO will be sacrificed and before long you could be looking at staff leaving. Another danger here is that your in-house SEO will be challenging marketing to get important changes the go-ahead when it should be the other way round.
In some cases, putting your in-house SEO in the design and development team makes good sense. The key factor here is whether this team has been set up with a view to having ownership of the site. Providing this is the case, the chances are that placing your in-house SEO there would work particularly well – after all, your in-house SEO is there to make changes to the site.
It is more difficult to see why your in-house SEO should report to Corporate Communications however. This is because while many organisations look at their website as part of their communications team the in-house SEO would then be too far removed from marketing and other teams.
A place for your in-house SEO in the product team is a better move for the purpose of getting things moving quickly. But we are looking at this in the context of a temporary fix rather than a long term solution.
It is little surprise to discover that so many in-house SEOs these days are part and parcel of a marketing department. The beauty of this is that your in-house SEO is part of Search Engine Marketing and a very important asset towards the goal of business growth. You will quickly be able to appreciate why your in-house SEO should work with email and social media. Customers may have heard about your services through a Tweet or Facebook before doing a Google search. Placing your in-house SEO here helps ensure your marketing campaigns are well planned.