- "Respect"If people don’t like you, good luck getting them to work evenings and weekends to drive forward your SEO project.Respect has to be earned.
## Communicate.-Stand ups with devs- weekly product meetings. Understand the product roadmap and how you can influence it.
Emulating Gang Culture to Accelerate In-House SEO
Emulating street gang culture to accelerate in-house SEO
VC backed Hyper Growth Travel Start-up
200 Staff, 230,000 holiday properties to rent
4 Million nights sleep booked to date
One of the fastest growing Travel Tech companies
The opinions expressed here are my own, and not that of HouseTrip
contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Google+
SEO is turf war
• In many verticals, including holiday rentals, it‟s head to head.
• It‟s In-house vs. bigger in-house team vs. bigger spending player vs. mega agency pumping out
• This deck centres on how I‟ve been building SEO into the heart of the company
More important than all of this:
• Than all of your knowledge, your experience
and your ideas, is your ability to EXECUTE.
Drive-by shootings & Smash and Grab SEO
• Drive-bys and 'smash and grab' approaches to SEO. work,
but don't build your whole empire on this approach.
• Look for the MVP.
• Look for the small test. Prove the concept and then scale.
• Don't spend months planning the perfect rocket ship.
• Chances are, you'll not get a chance to build it.
• In-house SEOs have a tough job, to coordinate what is often a huge task of technical,
analytics, content and links (broadly speaking).
• On top of this you've got to stay abreast of changes in the landscape, keep an eye on
deployment logs, server errors, traffic and rankings.
• To grow... I mean, to REALLY grow, you'll need support.
You're not going to get there on your own
I started a gang
Alignment about things we ALL care about:
• Our customers
• Metrics that matter
• Projects we collective want to delivery
• The company WE want to build.
I started the Inbound Academy.
• Monthly session with Product, PR,
Business Development, Business
Alignment between Product + Marketing is like
Semtex for Growth.
Don‟t hold Analytics hostage
• Open up dashboard
• Share Custom Reports
• Share Advanced Segments
• But don‟t automate reports
• Spend time to give different teams the detail.
• Educate. Give meaning.
• Fire people up about data.
Metrics that matter
• Conversion matters to everyone
• Educate WHY (accelerates profitability,
scales SEM, drives growth.
• Stress the strategic importance of non-
• Understand THEIR metrics (Net Promoter Score, Downtime…)
• Work to collaborate on solutions which solve both of your problems (surprisingly effective)
• Reporting a 55% WoW growth in Traffic is great.. But it provides little
• Not everyone cares for traffic as much as you do.
• Everyone cares about their job security.
• Everyone cares about profitability.
Compare this with:
• We made £1million gross revenues this week.
• The SEO team made a profit of £350k this month.
• That‟s universally understood… and that‟s powerful.
Report in Cash
Strategy & Tactics
• In a meeting I heard “tactical (seo) is another word for chaotic”
• I‟d failed in educating this stake holder about our strategy.
• They were misinformed.
• Align everyone (even the office manager) about your overarching
• Make it BIG.
• Don‟t let anything get in the way of you delivering it.
Share the riches
• Celebrate success
• Celebrate milestones (in a memorable way)
• Take stakeholders to lunch.
• Take developers; PMs and suppliers for lunch.
• Motivated workaholics are great for hyper growth.
Get out of the hood
• Get out of the office for innovation time.
• Take your smartest creative for breakfast at 7.30am.
• Discuss your problems, then concept for an hour.
• Return to the office at 9 am with a killer idea and execute on it.
Ask: “How do we pour petrol on the idea?”
• Challenge ideas. Move from good to great.
• Then move from great to incredible.
• People don’t share ordinary.
• You want to build SEO, links and content that you‟re proud of.
• You should want to build a moat,
Require Gang member initiations
• Require all new gang members to complete an initiation
• Ask for a case study, presentation or research project as part of the Interview
• Cast the net wide for recruits, and filter filter filter.
• Ruthlessly raise the standard of applicants and hires.
• Work to influence the hiring of other teams.
• Raise the „average‟ of your current employees.
• Do you hire factory workers or rock stars? King pins or henchmen?
• Start a pilot: Prove it. Prove yourself. Start a movement.
• If people don‟t respect you. They‟ll never work for you.
• You have to earn it
• You have to prove your credibility
• You have to be liked.
This goes for your suppliers (writers,
external developers, designers, freelancers
and even your agency).
You can directly influence their output:
• Motivation is key
• Communication is key
• Respect & likability are essential
• Weekly catch ups. Minimum.
• Demand face time with the agency
CEO/SEO Director (not just the Junior
• Make it a contract condition.
• Daily stand ups with developers + PMs
• Weekly Product meetings.
• Understand the larger roadmap.
• Capitalise on opportunity.
• Influence up.
• Practice inception….. Seriously do it.,
Get rich or die trying
• Move from dealing in the street (petty traffic,
poor rankings and business insignificance), to
running the whole block...
• And then taking over the whole dam
• Sell the „SIZE‟ of the opportunity UP
• Budget what you need to get there.
• Build a pilot. Prove the case. Scale.
Take territories.. Incrementally
• You‟ll never take a territory by spreading yourself too thinly.
• Focus on a territory at a time.
• Land an idea. Execute, and take one territory at a time.
• A territory might be a keyword, a cluster of keywords, a bigger
cluster of keywords in the same theme, a language… before you
move onto taking a continent.
• By all means, have multiple gangs in taking multiple territory
simultaneously… providing you can resource them.
Thank you for your time
SEO Director, HouseTrip
Tel: +44 (0)7724042350