The Ultimate Tactical 10-Step Guide for In-House SEO Professionals

In-house SEO teams and individuals are in a unique position – they’re able to focus on a single industry and company, whereas SEO agencies and freelancers face the task of executing campaigns for multiple clients in a variety of industries.

If you’re an in-house SEO professional, you’re probably already being bombarded with questions and demands for solutions to problems. But what tactics do you have at your disposal? What tools are in your toolbox?

This article presents the top 10 tactics for in-house SEO professionals; basically, what I would do if I was an in-house SEO manager.

#1: Analyze Existing Top Keywords, and Begin Tracking their Rankings

The first project of any new SEO campaign should be thorough keyword research and analysis. The goal is to identify what keywords for which you want to rank at the top of search engine results pages, find out what your current rankings for each of them are, and track their rankings over time to gain insight as to whether your SEO campaign is having a positive effect on rankings and traffic. There are a few great tools for conducting keyword research that I recommend; all of which are owned by Google itself.

Google Webmaster Tools

The keyword data in Google Webmaster Tools, within the “Traffic” section, shows you what search queries resulted in traffic to your website, along with queries for which your website was displayed as a search result. Besides the number of impressions, it also shows average CTR and position (to determine ranking positions and automatically track them over time, I recommend MySEOTool).

google webmaster tools


Google Analytics

Google Analytics also displays data based on queries that resulted in traffic to your website, within the “Traffic Sources à Sources à Search à Organic” section. Unfortunately, many of these keywords will likely be clumped into the “(not provided)” umbrella, which means that the user was logged into their Google account at the time of the search.

Google doesn’t display search data gathered from users that performed search queries while logged into their Google accounts. Nonetheless, Google Analytics still provides useful keyword data that should be considered during the keyword research phase of the SEO campaign. For a more in-depth guide on using Google Analytics in your SEO campaign, see my article “The Definitive Guide to Google Analytics for SEO Professionals.”

Google Adwords

The free AdWords Keyword Tool gives a comprehensive keyword overview that allows SEO teams to look at how their site compares to others based on keywords relative to your industry or your website content.

You can also specify a category and geographical location. These keyword ideas are generated for paid search campaigns, but this can also give some good ideas for top search terms that an SEO team may want to focus on that they hadn’t thought of before.

google adwords

You can sort by competition, number of searches, and location. In this example for a printing company’s website, you can see the many variations of the original keyword search for “custom t-shirt”. It looks like many want to create the design themselves, which works great because the printing company has a design-your-own-shirt tool. By promoting this through SEO and content (blogs, press releases, guest posts, etc), the company can continue to drive more traffic to their new design tool.

Once a base list has been generated, make sure that the ranking page has the most popular terms included naturally, as well as in the title tag, meta description tag, and H1 tag. To further build relevance for your pages’ targeted keywords, do some strategic internal linking from other pages on your site using those keywords as the anchor text.

#2: Google Webmaster Tools: Lots of Cool Things To Do

links to your siteGoogle Webmaster Tools also allows you to view your search queries and your average position for those keywords, but the data does vary. For instance, this website has a popular article on a summary of available magazines for marketers. Look at the difference in data for the keyword “marketing magazines” in Analytics and Webmaster Tools:


Jayson DeMers
Jayson DeMers is the founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based content marketing & social media agency. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.
Jayson DeMers

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11 thoughts on “The Ultimate Tactical 10-Step Guide for In-House SEO Professionals

  1. Nice tips Jayson that are practical & define the baseline of one’s SEO strategy. Certainly inhouse-SEO is a great idea but I think you know the varieties of workload in SEO. Link building, content preparation, social media, relationship building, guest blogging, analytics, infographics along with daily research & update in the industry can hardly be handled by a single person. And maintaining multiple SEO personnel is a difficult task for SMBs having budget constraint. Of course, big industries can better handle this idea.

    1. MOZ tool, CognitiveSEO, MajesticSEO and RankWatch are some of the best tools on the web for SEO professionals of all kind apart from the ones which search engines themselves provide in the form of Webmaster tools and analytics.

  2. Some good tips on getting started with in-house SEO, but from my experience the first thing you need to do is work out what has been done in the past, what can you actually change, who are the key people to get things done in the business and also who you need to persuade to get things done. It is all good getting site audits and errors from webmaster tools but if you do not have key stake holders in the business on board it is never going to get fixed.

  3. Great SEO checklist you have put together Jayson. A full SEO audit is definitely something that should be done before any link building commences to ensure the site is effectively setup for the search engines and any potential coding issues are taken care of. This is especially crucial for ecommerce sites.

  4. I believe contextual directories are also of value. We all know of the low value directories that list every vertical on the planet. These are frequently useless. However if you are an accountant for example, and you find a directory that specializes in listing accountants, cpas, and tax preparers, that kind of directory can also add value to your SEO campaign.

  5. Jayson what an awesome list post you write for bloggers.I like it very much and you mention other websites which are useful to readers like neil patel advanced link building.All points are very useful and you sub divide the points to 4 a,4b .This is the right way to extend post without extend the steps.

  6. This is a great post, very well thought-out and informative.

    “they’re able to focus on a single industry and company, whereas SEO agencies and freelancers face the task of executing campaigns for multiple clients in a variety of industries.”

    So true. The best high-end SEO tools seem to cater to agencies and the free tools tend to cater to in-house SEOs.

    What are the best *high-end* tools for the industry focus required by a serious in-house SEO for pushing one large website to the top?


  7. The toughest thing today is to find the in-house SEO’er. Fact remains that if the SEO professional is what they say they are, then they will run their own company from the bottom to the Top – in Google as well.

  8. I have read Patel’s “The Advanced Guide to Link Building”. Also enjoyed reading the post “8 Ways to Build Links When Guest Blogging Isn’t Possible”. But 1 thing I just could not understand. Is guest blogging the only backlinking method which vastly effect search engine ranking?Because almost all the experts are after guest blogging and talking about guest blogging again and again.