Scalability and Human Capital in SEO

Friday afternoon after a couple of crazy weeks. Met with a ton of people over the last few months, and I’ve come away with a wealth of knowledge and some good expereinces. I’ve decided that definitely my niche is in improving the operations of interactive marketing shops. I love new business, I love doing SEO, I love doing PPC, but there is nothing more satisfying that building a search practice or improving the practices of an existing one.

<SHAMELESS PLUG> If you would like my help, visit my corporate site at I’m also taking on select clients who would like to take their interactive and search marketing to the next level – but I am selective at this point, so why not see if you are fit? </SHAMELESS PLUG>

The big challenge faced by most SEO firms (as well as those firms looking to get into SEO) is scalabelity.  These scalability issues center around human capital problems – in other words, there just aren’t that many good SEOs and SEMs out there. And many of these firms are looking for a "leader" in the space. And let’s be frank – most of the good leaders are running their own shops. And the leadership qualities needed for a good SEO team are somewhat undefined at this point. Do you want the technical guy who can do on the page, the linking guru, the analytics geek, the social media guru, the client services expert or a hybrid of all of these (which is what most people say they want). I’m here to tell you that the true hybrid doesn’t exist – and if he does he’s running his own shop (and yes, it could be a she…I know a ton of very capable female search experts).

So we find that it takes a village to run an SEO team. But who to put in charge? Who should run your team? Well, the jury is still out, but here are some definite qualities to look for:

  • A great manager of different types of people
  • Ability to manage and refine process
  • An aptitude and passion fo learning
  • The ever intangeble "leader" quality. People want to follow the person
  • Big picture thinker
  • Motivator

If you have those qualities, everything can be taught. Or course, if you hire someone without SEO/SEM experience, someone on the team needs to know the ins and outs. But SEO/SEM is a process that can be taught and refined for each organization. I truly believe this even though I know there are those out there that disagree with me. But I have a ton of anectdotal examples to prove my point. Contact me if you want to talk about it.

More later on this. I definetely think you’ll see this as a referring topic on this blog.


  1. Very interesting thoughts presented here… The one that got my attention was the one about not very many good SEO’s out there.

    You see I consider myself fairly good at what I do. I only focus on small businesses and geo-targeting. However, in my city of Tucson, my great SERP presence doesn’t translate into many calls. Tucson is a networking kind of town. People here do business with people they have meet rather than go to a website. This makes it tough for us SEO’ers here.

    However, having said that… There are not many pure play SEO’s in this city. The need is great the market hard to break into! But that has never stopped me before.

  2. Why do I read that there aren’t any good SEO/SEM,s. I know some. Is it just they these people don’t apply for these jobs because they are entrepreneurs and not employees?

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