Not every in-house SEO job looks like one at first glance. It may not come prepackaged as an in-house SEO job. Sometimes, you may have to create the job. I am in-house SEO, but that is not all I do and I didn’t start there.
I started working in the field at my current job. I did not even touch a computer. But, I had just moved cross country, to a house I bought with money I made by promoting affiliate programs on web sites I had previously built myself. This side money bought the house but wasn’t a full time income, so I found a job here locally similar to the one I had worked at before we moved. I called the first and really the only one that had a website in the area.
Many E-commerce sites do not start with a big bang. Many do not start with a budget. Many begin when a store owner or an employee decides that he/she could probably make some money if he/she put some of their products on the internet. These are the perfect businesses to get your foot in the door as an in-house SEO, and it just involves more looking.
A few months after I started, I packaged orders for a few hours in the morning before I went out on a job. There were enough sales to give me about three hours of shipping a day. Up to this point, a freelancer would come in and add products to the site every month or so. I still was not involved in that process.
You may start with nothing. You may start with a simple 5 dollar a month hosting account and a Pentium desktop. It is your job to stretch every dollar and make every minute count. And it will become your job to make that internet division consisting of that dusty, old PC and printer in the corner of the office a valuable part of the business. Because, if you can do that, a budget will come.
A few months later at the job, there were more orders coming in. So much so, that I had to ship orders for half of the day. Since the trucks were gone by then, I worked on the website for the rest of the day. I added thousands of products to our site in those first few months. It was getting to the point that just adding a product would guarantee it’s eventual sale. Dusty products that would sit on the shelves for months were gone as soon as we put them online.
In the beginning, SEO may be only a small part of the job. Choosing good product descriptions and good category structure may be all you have time for or be allowed to do. When you begin on a shoestring, balancing your time is the most important part of your job. If you have a lot of products, getting them on the site is just as important as SEO, which is just as important as making sure the customers get their orders.
Soon, I was working on the site full-time, or rather working on anything that had to do with a computer full-time. Even if I worked in shipping all day by myself, shipping would be behind. My time was then divided among streamlining the ordering process to speed up the time we spent on the increasing amount of orders, SEO, building new sites to house more products, and adding products.
As time goes on and traffic increases, SEO will become a bigger part of your job. If you are still the general tech guy, different duties will be added to your plate, which will just as important as the SEO, and they will change as the business dynamic changes.
Now I work with two other employees, and we are working on more sites than I can count on one hand. We are all general tech guys. We all are street developers in that we have no formal college education and are pretty lucky to have a chance like this.
Eventually, you may get to the point where you have all the time you need to do SEO. After you have been doing everything, it may be hard to release the reins. You have to remember a few things. Remember that you started where your staff did. Realize that you have been working with the Frankenstein system you helped build for a few years now. So, really you have not yet stepped into the job of in-house SEO. You still have a few more hats to wear; those of project manager and trainer. However, the rest of the day, you’re an in-house SEO.
What you will see as an in-house SEO can be just as dramatic as the sale of the next web 2.0 property to Google, although on a smaller scale. Watching and guiding a business as it grows is an amazing experience. You can go from proving yourself to be an important part of the business, it just takes patience.
And I am not sure how this post will help current in-house SEO’s out there. But then again, fi you are a webmaster, you may have the title and not know it. Now is the time to start looking to reach for it, it can take the business far and lead to better things. Alternatively, you may be an “in your own house” SEO like I was for so long, with a few sites and tricks under your belt. Yes, you are hirable. You just have to do your footwork and document what you’ve done in the past.
I was going to add a phrase like “If you were not lucky enough to get a cush corporate in-house SEO job, here is an option for you.” somewhere in this post, but after writing it, it just quite does not fit.
Stephan Miller has developed, designed and promoted ecommerce sites in various niches. He is also an active affiliate marketer and social media addict. And he blogs about it all at http://www.stephanmiller.com.
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