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6 Things I Learned About Building An In-House SEO Team



6 Things I Learned About Building An In-House SEO Team

The first six years of my SEO career were spent in the same in-house SEO team. During that time, the team underwent many changes, evolving and adapting in an endless pursuit of the most effective way of operating.

At first, we were a small, junior team working largely in a silo.

But by 2020, we were a team of seven, including senior and specialist roles. We were fully integrated into the digital department via processes and ways of working.

From my first days in SEO through to my time as part of the leadership team, I was part of all of the ups and downs and learned a lot about what is needed to prove the value of investing in SEO – and making that investment pay off.

Here are the most important lessons I learned.

1. Nothing Happens Without Buy-In

If you take one thing from this article, make sure it’s this: It doesn’t matter how good you are, or how desperately you need more hands on deck.


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You will not get the opportunity to grow your team or increase your budget without buy-in from the people who can give you those things.

For this, you need credibility.

This comes over time, from good subject knowledge, insights, judgment, and the ability to demonstrate these qualities consistently.

But there are things you can do to put yourself in a strong position to accelerate building this reputation.

2. Structure Is Your Friend

First of all, you need structure in three key areas:

  • Reliable data and a consistent approach to reporting.
  • A comprehensive, prioritized strategy based on full site audits, outlining what you’ll be working on, and, vitally, what you can’t tackle yet (due to dependencies, budget, or resource).
  • A regular cadence of communicating your progress.

A bonus of creating this structure around your SEO program is that it has the potential to protect you from unexpected changes in your organization.

For example, if there are changes in the leadership of your department with new managers looking to assert their own approach, a solid footing and a clear plan often mean a stronger rationale is needed for any upheaval.


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And it could even create an opportunity for your team to grow in influence and accelerate its evolution.

3. You’ve Got To ‘Move The Needle’

The next thing you need is a track record.

This can feel unattainable if you’re overwhelmed and understaffed.

Attempting to make progress in all areas, spreading yourself too thin, and ultimately failing to make a real impact anywhere will not prove you need more resources to anyone but yourself.

Instead, communicate to your managers about the projects you will be prioritizing, and explicitly call out the areas you won’t be working on due to capacity limitations.

With a more focused scope, you can then demonstrate the impact you can make with an appropriate workload and allow them to infer the return they could get from investing in the SEO team.

This step allows more projects to be worked on simultaneously.

4. Build A Compelling Business Case

You must also be able to capitalize on this foundation, asking for what you need and persuading people to give it to you.

SEO is, by nature, expansive and ever-growing. It can be difficult to know whether you’re genuinely under-resourced, or just overwhelmed by the endless possibilities and threads to pull at.

By estimating the potential return on investment of the projects that added capacity would unlock, you’ll be able to confirm that you genuinely need more people and make a strong case for expanding your team.

Of course, as with many aspects of SEO, ROI can be complicated and difficult to calculate. Results can’t be guaranteed in the same way as they can for other digital marketing channels.

In addition, many of the initiatives we need to work on aren’t necessarily about incremental growth, but rather following best practices and protecting performance long-term.

Two main tactics helped us to put some numbers to the projects we knew were important, and to prove the need to increase capacity.

Present Projected ROI As A Range

In the best-case scenario, what impact could this activity have?


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What if it has a more modest result than expected?

The reality will likely be somewhere in between, but communicating a range of outcomes allows you to be transparent and truthful without overpromising or underselling the potential results.

For example, one approach would be:

  • Define the list of keywords your project will affect.
  • For each term, project the potential clicks by multiplying the monthly search volume and estimated click-through rate at different positions (eg. three positions higher; five positions higher).
  • Subtract any current traffic driven by these terms from these projected totals to calculate an upper and lower estimate of traffic uplift.
  • Optionally, apply conversion rates and average spend figures to calculate revenue uplift.

Calculate The Cost Of Doing Nothing Or The Opposite Of ROI

If a project’s aim is to protect SEO performance from future algorithm updates or to stay ahead of your competitors, use the same approach outlined above, but based on loss of position.

Being able to quantify the benefit of increasing your capacity not only helps communicate the value of the work your team does (and could do) but also helps to build your authority and credibility.

Incidentally, it is also very valuable when jostling for prioritization with e.g. your organization’s development team!


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Hire The Right People

So you’ve got approval to increase your headcount. Now what?

Depending on the salary you can offer, you’ll need to be realistic about the level of experience you can expect from applicants.

With this, your business case, and strategy in mind, start to put together a job description with the types of responsibilities the role will involve.

When hiring for more junior positions, consider whether specific SEO experience is really vital.

It’s possible to learn SEO on the job, but the qualities that set someone up to develop into a great SEO practitioner – curiosity, a love of learning and problem-solving, resilience, diplomacy – can be much harder to teach.

For roles requiring more experience, you still need to ensure you’re looking for the softer skills above, but you should also set tasks that require candidates to demonstrate the requisite skills and subject knowledge for the responsibilities they’ll be taking on.

It’s vital to ensure that the interviewers are qualified to make that assessment – bring in experts from outside of your organization if necessary.


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Attempting to gauge the extent of a candidate’s expertise when it exceeds that of the interviewers is next to impossible, and one bad hire can create really sticky situations that are very difficult to resolve.

It can be deceptively difficult to find candidates who balance existing experience and knowledge with a receptiveness to further learning and the humility required to truly collaborate – in the words of Dan Patmore, Senior Group SEO Manager at Sainsbury’s Group,

“Some SEOs want to be right. I want people who want to learn.”

Above all, keep the importance of internal buy-in at the forefront of your mind when bringing anyone new into your team.

Is this someone who can add to the credibility and authority of your team within the business, instill confidence in your leadership team, and foster cross-functional collaboration?

Or is there a risk that they could damage your team’s reputation and relationships?

Leading A Growing Team

There are hundreds of books dedicated to how to manage teams.


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But for me, the ultimate aim of developing a team is for it to become more than the sum of its parts.

The way the individuals in the team work together should elevate everyone above and beyond the skills and abilities they each bring on their own.

Shared Values

The approach required to achieve this is consistent with the approach to hiring, outlined above: prioritizing values above all else, approaching SEO as an ongoing learning experience, and emphasizing the importance of honesty and collaboration.

In order to create this environment, you need to practice mentorship over micromanagement, focusing on developing and guiding your colleagues through their careers, and running a fulfilled and effective team in which individuals feel valued.

This is especially important in SEO teams, as many of the qualities that make somebody well-suited to this discipline can also make them resistant to more overbearing leadership.

Lifelong learners tend to like to question assumptions and arrive at their own conclusions and problem-solvers like to improve processes rather than be forced to do things how they’ve always been done.


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And those with inherent curiosity like to be allowed to investigate tangents and uncover new insights.

Stifling these instincts in favor of having more control over your team will not only make them miserable, but you’ll also lose out on their ideas and perspectives (and miss opportunities).


So how do you make sure everyone is pulling in the right direction?

Like everything else, this comes down to buy-in, except this time, you need to gain buy-in from the SEO team itself. In practice, this means you should:

  • Be transparent in sharing your strategy with your team, the same way you would share it with more senior stakeholders.
  • As individuals in the team grow in experience and bring their own valuable perspectives and areas of expertise, involve them in the creation of the strategy.
  • Make sure everyone knows where the focus is, what the aims are and why. Agree on expectations for outcomes and milestones, including deadlines. This structure is essential for keeping things on track while allowing creativity.
  • Maintain a backlog of projects to be scoped and prioritized later. This allows your team to bring new ideas to you and be heard, without derailing current priorities.

Ultimately, my north star for building and leading a team always comes down to trust. I want to hire people whom I can trust and I want to earn theirs in return.

I want to encourage my team to trust each other, and I want everyone to feel like they are trusted.


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If you can pull this off, you end up with a team that works collaboratively towards shared goals, challenges themselves to be their best, develops their own strengths and specialties, learns from each other, and generates ideas and innovations that will evolve your SEO program for the future.

More resources:

Featured image: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock

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Screaming Frog SEO Spider Version 20.0: AI-Powered Features



What’s New with Screaming Frog SEO Spider 20.0?

For SEO experts, our toolkit is crucial. It’s how we make sure we can quickly and effectively assess how well our websites are performing. Using the best tools can put you way ahead of other SEOs. One example (and one tool I’ve personally been using for years) is Screaming FrogIt’s a powerful, straightforward, and insightful website crawler tool that’s indispensable for finding technical issues on your website.

And the good news is that it keeps getting better. Screaming Frog just released its 20th major version of the software, which includes new features based on feedback from SEO professionals.

Here are the main updates:

  1. Custom JavaScript Snippets
  2. Mobile Usability
  3. N-Grams Analysis
  4. Aggregated Anchor Text
  5. Carbon Footprint & Rating

Custom JavaScript Snippets

One of the standout features in this release is the ability to execute custom JavaScript snippets during a crawl. This functionality expands the horizons for data manipulation and API communication, offering unprecedented flexibility.

Use Cases:

  • Data Extraction and Manipulation: Gather specific data points or modify the DOM to suit your needs.
  • API Communication: Integrate with APIs like OpenAI’s ChatGPT from within the SEO Spider.

Setting Up Custom JS Snippets:

  • Navigate to `Config > Custom > Custom JavaScript`.
  • Click ‘Add’ to create a new snippet or ‘Add from Library’ to select from preset snippets.

setting up custom JS snippets screamingfrog 20setting up custom JS snippets screamingfrog 20

  • Ensure JavaScript rendering mode is set via `Config > Spider > Rendering`.

Crawl with ChatGPT:

  • Leverage the `(ChatGPT) Template` snippet, add your OpenAI API key and tailor the prompt to your needs.
  • Follow our tutorial on ‘How To Crawl With ChatGPT’ for more detailed guidance.

Sharing Your Snippets:

  • Export/import snippet libraries as JSON files to share with colleagues.
  • Remember to remove sensitive data such as API keys before sharing.

Introducing Custom JavaScript Snippets to Screaming Frog SEO Spider version 20.0 significantly enhances the tool’s flexibility and power. Whether you’re generating dynamic content, interacting with external APIs, or conducting complex page manipulations, these snippets open a world of possibilities. 

Mobile Usability

In today’s mobile-first world, ensuring a seamless mobile user experience is imperative. Version 20.0 introduces extensive mobile usability audits through Lighthouse integration. 

With an ever-increasing number of users accessing websites via mobile devices, ensuring a seamless mobile experience is crucial. Google’s mobile-first indexing highlights the importance of mobile usability, which directly impacts your site’s rankings and user experience.

 Mobile Usability Features:

  • New Mobile Tab: This tab includes filters for regular mobile usability issues such as viewport settings, tap target sizes, content sizing, and more.
  • Granular Issue Details: Detailed data on mobile usability issues can be explored in the ‘Lighthouse Details’ tab.
  • Bulk Export Capability: Export comprehensive mobile usability reports via `Reports > Mobile`.


  • Connect to the PSI API through `Config > API Access > PSI` or run Lighthouse locally.

Example Use Cases:

  • Identify pages where content does not fit within the viewport.
  • Flag and correct small tap targets and illegible font sizes.

mobile usability analysis on screamingfrog 20mobile usability analysis on screamingfrog 20

With these new features, Screaming Frog SEO Spider version 20.0 streamlines the process of auditing mobile usability, making it more efficient and comprehensive. By integrating with Google Lighthouse, both via the PSI API and local runs, the tool provides extensive insights into the mobile performance of your website. Addressing these issues not only enhances user experience but also improves your site’s SEO performance.

N-grams Analysis

N-grams analysis is a powerful new feature that allows users to analyze phrase frequency across web pages. This can greatly enhance on-page SEO efforts and internal linking strategies.

Setting Up N-grams:

  • Activate HTML storage by enabling ‘Store HTML’ or ‘Store Rendered HTML’ under `Config > Spider > Extraction`.
  • View the N-grams in the lower N-grams tab.

n-grams analysis on screamingfrog 20n-grams analysis on screamingfrog 20

Example Use Cases:

  • Improving Keyword Usage: Adjust content based on the frequency of targeted N-grams.
  • Optimizing Internal Links: Use N-grams to identify unlinked keywords and create new internal links.

Internal Linking Opportunities:

The N-grams feature provides a nuanced method for discovering internal linking opportunities, which can significantly enhance your SEO strategy and site navigation.

The introduction of N-grams analysis in Screaming Frog SEO Spider version 20 provides a tool for deep content analysis and optimization. By understanding the frequency and distribution of phrases within your content, you can significantly improve your on-page SEO and internal linking strategies.

Aggregated Anchor Text

Effective anchor text management is essential for internal linking and overall SEO performance. The aggregated anchor text feature in version 20.0 provides clear insights into how anchor texts are used across your site.

Using Aggregated Anchor Text:

  • Navigate to the ‘Inlinks’ or ‘Outlinks’ tab.
  • Utilize the new ‘Anchors’ filters to see aggregated views of anchor text usage.

aggregated anchor text report on screamingfrog 20aggregated anchor text report on screamingfrog 20

Practical Benefits:

  • Anchor Text Diversity: Ensure a natural distribution of anchor texts to avoid over-optimization.
  • Descriptive Linking: Replace generic texts like “click here” with keyword-rich alternatives.

The aggregated anchor text feature provides powerful insights into your internal link structure and optimization opportunities. This feature is essential if you are looking to enhance your site’s internal linking strategy for better keyword relevance, user experience, and search engine performance.

Aligning with digital sustainability trends, Screaming Frog SEO Spider version 20.0 includes features to measure and optimize your website’s carbon footprint.

Key Features:

  • Automatic CO2 Calculation: The SEO Spider now calculates carbon emissions for each page using the CO2.js library.
  • Carbon Rating: Each URL receives a rating based on its emissions, derived from the Sustainable Web Design Model.
  • High Carbon Rating Identification: Pages with high emissions are flagged in the ‘Validation’ tab.

Practical Applications:

  • Resource Optimization: Identify and optimize high-emission resources.
  • Sustainable Practices: Implement changes such as compressing images, reducing script sizes, and using green hosting solutions.

The integration of carbon footprint calculations in Screaming Frog SEO Spider signifies a growing recognition of digital sustainability. As more businesses adopt these practices, we can collectively reduce the environmental impact of the web while driving performance and user satisfaction.

Other Updates

In addition to major features, version 20.0 includes numerous smaller updates and bug fixes that enhance functionality and user experience.

Rich Result Validation Enhancements:

  • Split Google Rich Result validation errors from
  • New filters and columns provide detailed insights into rich result triggers and errors.

Enhanced File Types and Filters:

  • Internal and external filters include new file types such as Media, Fonts, and XML.

Website Archiving:

  • A new option to archive entire websites during a crawl is available under `Config > Spider > Rendering > JS`.

Viewport and Screenshot Configuration:

  • Customize viewport and screenshot sizes to fit different audit needs.

API Auto Connect:

  • Automatically connect APIs on start, making the setup process more seamless.

Resource Over 15MB Filter:

  • A new validation filter flags resources over 15MB, which is crucial for performance optimization.

Page Text Export:

  • Export all visible page text through the new `Bulk Export > Web > All Page Text` option.

Lighthouse Details Tab:

  • The ‘PageSpeed Details’ tab has been renamed ‘Lighthouse Details’ to reflect its expanded role.

HTML Content Type Configuration:

  • An ‘Assume Pages are HTML’ option helps accurately classify pages without explicit content types.

Bug Fixes and Performance Improvements:

  • Numerous small updates and fixes enhance stability and reliability. 

Screaming Frog SEO Spider version 20.0 is a comprehensive update packed with innovative features and enhancements that cater to the evolving needs of SEO professionals like us. From advanced data extraction capabilities with Custom JavaScript Snippets to environmental sustainability with Carbon Footprint and Rating, this release sets a new benchmark in SEO auditing tools.

Key Takeaway

Add this to your toolbox, or update to version 20 to explore the rich array of new features from Screaming Frog to optimize your website’s SEO, usability, and sustainability. It’s a no-fuss tool with tons of features that will help you stay ahead of your competitors, and ensure your websites perform optimally in terms of user experience and search engine visibility.

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Google Simplifies Adding Shipping & Return Policies For Online Stores




woman online shopper affixes a barcode sticker to a cardboard box, marking it for return and refund

Google introduces Search Console feature for online stores to easily manage shipping and return policies.

  • Google now allows online stores to manage shipping and return policies via Search Console.
  • This simplifies providing vital information to customers.
  • The feature can potentially boost sales for retailers.

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Google’s Now Translating SERPs Into More Languages




Google's Now Translating SERPs Into More Languages

Google updated their documentation to reflect that it added eight new languages to its translated results feature, broadening the reach of publishers to an increasingly global scale, with automatic  translations to a site visitor’s native language.

Google Translated Results

Translated Results is a Google Search feature that will automatically translate the title link and meta description into the local language of a user, making a website published in one language available to a searcher in another language. If the searcher clicks on the link of a translated result the web page itself will also be automatically translated.

According to Google’s documentation for this feature:

“Google doesn’t host any translated pages. Opening a page through a translated result is no different than opening the original search result through Google Translate or using Chrome in-browser translation. This means that JavaScript on the page is usually supported, as well as embedded images and other page features.”

This feature benefits publishers because it makes their website available to a larger audience.

Search Feature Available In More Languages

Google’s documentation for this feature was updated to reflect that it is now available in eight more languages.

Users who speak the following languages will now have automatic access to a broader range of websites.

List Of Added Languages

  • Arabic
  • Gujarati
  • Korean
  • Persian
  • Thai
  • Turkish
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese

Why Did It Take So Long?

It seems odd that Google didn’t already translate results into so many major languages like Turkish, Arabic or Korean. So I asked international SEO expert Christopher Shin (LinkedIn profile) about why it might have taken so long for Google to do this in the Korean language.

Christopher shared:

Google was always facing difficulties in the South Korean market as a search engine, and that has to do mainly with Naver and Kakao, formerly known as Daum.

But the whole paradigm shift to Google began when more and more students that went abroad to where Google is the dominant search engine came back to South Korea. When more and more students, travelers abroad etc., returned to Korea, they started to realize the strengths and weaknesses of the local search portals and the information capabilities these local portals provided. Laterally, more and more businesses in South Korea like Samsung, Hyundai etc., started to also shift marketing and sales to global markets, so the importance of Google as a tool for companies was also becoming more important with the domestic population.

Naver is still the dominant search portal, but not to retrieve answers to specific queries, rather for the purpose of shopping, reviews etc.

So I believe that market prioritization may be a big part as to the delayed introduction of Translated Google Search Results. And in terms of numbers, Korea is smaller with only roughly 52M nationwide and continues to decline due to poor birth rates.

Another big factor as I see it, has to do with the complexity of the Korean language which would make it more challenging to build out a translation tool that only replicates a simple English version. We use the modern Korean Hangeul but also the country uses Hanja, which are words from the Chinese origin. I used to have my team use Google Translate until all of them complained that Naver’s Papago does a better job, but with the introduction of ChatGPT, the competitiveness offered by Google was slim.”


It’s not an understatement to say that 2024 has not been a good year for publishers, from the introduction of AI Overviews to the 2024 Core Algorithm Update, and missing image thumbnails on recipe blogger sites, there hasn’t been much good news coming out of Google. But this news is different because it creates the opportunity for publisher content to be shown in even more languages than ever.

Read the updated documentation here:

Translated results in Google Search

Featured Image by Shutterstock/baranq

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