How to be in-house SEO and not get crazy bored
Hello, this is a question for all the SEO users that were first in an agancy and after that moved to in-house. I was in a very stressful job at an agency with a lot of work and overtime hours and after that period I moved to in-house SEO. My current job is so slow and boring – I make recommendations but the company doesn't have the capacity to implement them. They don't give me a lot of work because maybe they don't know what should I do. And I feel that every recommendation I do is not as important and it won't be implemented. This is quite boring and discouraging and I feel like I'm regressing. Can you guys give me some tips on how to manage this boredom and should I ask for 4 hour work day or fight for more responsibilities? Share your experience :)
Update: I haven't used Reddit a lot for figuring out my problems but this subredit… You guys are absolutely awesome. Thank you so much for helping someone you don't know with your experience and advice.
Here is the take away from the comments:
• Learn more – read blogs and upgrade your skills.
• Take more roles – Pay Per Click (PPC), Social Media, Content – become more valuable for your employer.
• Sell the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – make your boss believe in the need of these recommendations with facts, case studies, presentations.
• Make a research for which keywords the site is ranking and how the pages can be improved.
• Find opportunities for backlinks and partnership with other people and businesses in the niche.
• Ask for implementing the changes by yourself.
• Get Google Certificates.
• Have a side hustle.
I think that it'd be great to go through Google Analytics and your SEO tools and see for which keywords you already rank for. If you see that there are pages whose position you can better with your experience then go ahead and suggest them or implement them yourself.
Go through the referrals reports and see if you can see any opportunities for partnerships.
Evaluate the channels you are present on in terms of quality users/leads and see if you should be investing more time on them or not.
What do you think of the above? I believe they will help you fill your time while being productive at the same time.
Yes thank you for your helpful advice. I'm tracking the pages and giving recommendations but my boss thinks that I shouldn't write any content and by that I mean that I shouldn't write meta tags and he thinks that keyword research is useless. He has high self esteem about knowing a lot about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and sometimes this is quite frustrating. I'm going check very extensively Google Analytics and make some reports on which pages can be updated as you suggested. Thank you again for your help :)
I've been in an identical position however I was also paid to work on social media.
Launch a competition, write a blog post about it. Give away something for free. Send the blog post to the social media team. Keep an eye on Google Analytics to see what impact it's had,
Use this as a case study to see how effective it's been to increase traffic and hopefully sales or sign up to newsletters etc.
I'm a self employed SEO at home because of this exact reason, with one website it's madness to think a 40 hour week is usual, I'd ask for less days. Ask your employer/boss how they judge success so you can be armed with a proposal to work less hours as long as X and X are achieved.
They don't let me write ANY content. I begged my boss twice to let me write the Title and Description tags and he didn't let me. I'm going to make all the recommendations I can think of and provide to my boss, but I know where these recommendations are going to end up – in the "no time for that" basket. After the first month ends I'm going to ask for less hours because I'm going to get crazy with this weird job. Thank you for sharing about your freelance career. I would like to do that too. I just need to collect some money and side-hustle until I'm ready to be full-time freelancer. Can you share your site, because I'm interested in your business :) Thank you again for the helpful tips and emotional support that I'm not insane for complaining about being a in-house.
Well keep urself updated with the latest trends and start reading. Also alternatively you can learn and assist different digital mediums like send, Google analytics, tag manager etc. Build a good repo with it team and get ur implementations done. As at the end of the year or half yearly you will be asked what is in you have got and what is the organic traffic u generated. So as far as u are free try to get the numbers else u would be on fire.
I don't have any access to the IT team :( I'll try to convince my boss with presentations maybe but the problem is that i know the capacity of the company is very, very low. When I was in the agency every single recommendation was implemented. The clients didn't have any second thoughts about our work, but now things are different.
Thank you for your precious advises and I'm going to implement them to my everyday work.
I'd be careful. You could be on the chopping block if they don't see the value in what you provide.
Being bored is better than being broke.
I'd keep making recommendations and selling the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to them. Play the politics and try to get promoted up… or buy a rasp pi and kvm switch and a hotspot to lbe unmonitored and launch your own seo agency on upwork until you get fired.
Yes, I'm side-hustling but I needed some money to step up my game. This job is not my dream job and I'm not afraid of being fired. I just like to make perfect SEO for the site. To give 100% of my knowledge and skills because I ADORE my profession. Here in Bulgaria the SEO specialists are very demanded but there are very few good ones and I can find a job in a instant. I hope I manage to convince my boss to make the changes and try to make the site rank better. Another problem is that my boss thinks that he knows a lot about SEO but in reality he doesn't and he gets upset when I say that something isn't right. Maybe I need another approach towards the problem but I"m not giving up! Thank you for your comment. You are very helpful :)
I struggle with this too. How to convey the value of a position regarding SEO/Marketing at an old school company that doesn't know how to value these business tools. I've kind of got myself in a inside sales/content manager and problem solver type position. Still having trouble conveying the value – working on my sales skills.
I'm also working on my sales skills. I believe the product should speak for itself and hardly does it ever.
Welcome to the world of polar opposites.
This is the trade off. In an agency your managers value your knowledge and contribution. They know what your skills are worth, although they do overstretch you and you have a constant conveyor belt of work to be carried out. A lot of the client facing stuff is done by a people friendly account manager so you don't need to suck up to managers/clients and spend time justifying your work.
As in inhouse SEO you will need to be well rounded and have to do "Public Relations (PR)" work to your department head, explain to them what it is you're doing and how it is so valuable to the overall marketing effort.
Half the time is spent on reporting to clients on what you are doing, why you are doing it and how it will increase Return of Investment (RoI).
This is why I quit doing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for others and set up my own business which is very SEO centric.
Thank you for your advice. I'm quite young and maybe I had different understanding of what is in-house SEO. I thought that I'm not going to face difficulties in convincing my boss why these recommendations are important. And yes after reading these comments and especially yours I can see from where my frustration comes. I'll have a new approach and learn to sell my recommendations and demand implementations. If this don't do the work I'm going to search for a new job until I can launch my freelance SEO career.
Can you show me your SEO business website :) I'm interested to see your model.
Which of your suggestions can't they implement? If it's technical back end stuff you could learn to code and help them implement the changes you want made.
If it's content, you can write an article or two yourself, track it's success and then make the case to hire a copywriter or at least get a budget for content.
As an in house SEO you should be focusing your time on backlinking and authority. Do outreach, build relationships, build up a few blogs in your niche.
If you're bored in an SEO role you're not being creative enough.
We have a link building team and a content team. I give them a lot of advises and recommendations (and they probably hate me by now) but they have a lot of other work and can't make everything. I'm going to think of more creative ways of making the best of this position.
Thank you for your comment :)
Similar situation. We don't implement many of my suggestions because they are not top priority. Like creating content for backlinks or even becoming mobile responsive. I use a lot of my time trying out new services for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), like SEMrush, or reading articles from Moz, Search Engine Journal (SEJ), SEL, and Hubspot. I also do lots of external reporting on things that aren't related to SEO just because I like looking at the data to see if I can find comparisons.
Anything I can do that might increase site engagement, like new chatbots, or User Interface (UI) changes I will at least make recommendations. I also started getting into AdWords a lot more, comparing our paid traffic to organic traffic. If you have more suggestions I am willing to take them haha.
Yes I was also thinking about getting into Adwords because I saw that they have some keywords that I don't know where they gathered them and the translate them for the different countries o.O There are sites for 56 countries and they translate the keywords for them instead of using SEMrush or even Keyword planner. I was in shock. I'm just going to give the absolute maximum and I'm not going to think about how they are not going to implement anything. I'm going to do it for me and my skill development.
Thank you for your advice :)
I'd set a meeting with your boss and say the reason is because you are interested in demonstrating success.
This sounds like several of my SEO employers. They don't know what SEO is and the importance of content, title tags and headers are, let alone internal linking from articles published off site.
I have previously stressed the importance of this and educated my bosses with the basis.
Make a strong point you don't want to get let go because your boss does not think you are working hard enough. Lay it down stone cold and establish:
How is he judging your performance? Keyword ranking? Traffic volumes? Increase in sales?
Talk money. Tell him/her it's in your interest to make them money and to pay your salary. Get them to pay attention and ask for feedback on your current tasks.
Unfortunately if push comes to shove and there's no extra work or tasks coming your way then study for the free online Google Adwords and Analytics exams. I've done this and it takes a few days – you can re take the exam if you don't get 100% so you can research the correct answers and get qualified.
Then join People Per Hour with your certification and start to build up your evening and weekend client base until you can pull the trigger and work from home self employed.
And be grateful you are being paid to be bored. Make coffee for your colleagues. Offer to do lunch runs. Take regular toilet breaks and exercise shoulder stretches in the cubicle.
All the best
Wow this is gold thanks.
We have regular meetings and he says that he want's more visibility and more traffic and the main strategy is link building with freelancers from India.
The other problem is that there are no tasks coming my way from the first day. I had one task sent from them and I made it for 10 minutes.
On my previous job it was insisted to have these certificates and I have the vast majority of them but I can still study the questions and make research about them.
Yes I have a side hustle and I'm just waiting to gather some money so that I can buy some needed software. I didn't know about People Per Hour and going to make a profile there.
Thank you again :)
Also define VISIBILITY ask him what that means. Get him to break it down for you.
My ex boss simple task: Be Google Page 1 UK nationwide for the 2 words "personalised cards" took me 11 months at 40 hours/week.
Correction it took me 9 months then I spent 3 months 40 hours a week on Twitter Facebook and blogging.
Indian backlinks in bulk are 100% going to damage the site reputation. Google search for examples print out and give him a lesson in white hat SEO not black hat and tell him he's setting you up to fail.
He's clueless and I'm sorry
Yup I know. I said it couple of times that this technique is going to get the site a penalty.
But the backlinks aren't in bulk. They write some blog posts and put links to the site, which is somewhat ok.
Tell him don't pay them as you are being paid to do that with Alt tags, hyperlinking with anchor text and writing in perfect English that people will want to read as opposed to garbage articles.
Get the links where they are published and go to Referrals in Google Analytics (GA). Show that there's no traffic. Show him 'compare to previous period' in GA to show it's not increasing "VISIBILITY"
Tell him flat "You need to listen to me. I'm qualified and this is my niche skill. If you wanted me to train you to help you understand I'd like that. Otherwise I need you to trust me and loosen the reigns to help me help you"
Fight to get a pet project. I was in your position a few years ago, after 3 months I got some cash and resources to start a little project which I had full control. So I had a lot of time invested in that. It was fun, but once I left they killed it :'(
I wished I could taken the project with me. If the company would have allowed me to monetize it I would have made a few grand a month
Can you share what was the pet project because I can't really understand. Is it like a blog?
A pet project is something that out have full control over and you don't depend of upper management. In my case I also had a small budget (<100€/mo)
It can be a tool, it can be a blog, it can be a new department. It's something that can give value to the company, but you are the one with full power of it.
In my case it was a news site that work in the sector of the company, but it had a broad content reach. We had content that management didn't want on the main network, and we had more social reach.
Sounds fairly similar to my current position (only in-house SEO at a large company with an existing content and outreach team). After about a year and a half, I'm finally making progress to the point where we're starting to build a small team of SEO users. A few big things that I've learned:
• Playing the politics game to get resources for your projects is a big part of the job. Keep asking about improvements and get people to get people to commit to launch dates, even if they are insanely far in advance. Once they are on a calendar, they are much harder to ignore.
• Evangelize for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as much as possible and teach others about how best practices can be incorporated into the work that they already do. Work with the management of the content team to put together best practices docs for meta data, internal linking, etc. Run trainings with the outreach team on anchor text/linking best practices.
• Celebrate every win. The more you show that your recommendations bring value, the more people will listen and help advocate for you over time.
It's a grind, but hang in there.
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