In-House SEOs are a special demographic of optimization specialists that we don’t hear a lot about. Circumspect, they toil in the shadows while controlling vast networks of links and content of some of the highest-ranked sites on the internet. Many of the articles about in-sourcing versus out-sourcing of SEO seem to be biased in favor of optimization firms. Independent SEOs often view In-House SEOs enviously, assuming that they are paid premiums for optimization work of sites that already have natural degrees of PR due to prestige and already-existing marketshare.
While these ideolized impressions may be off-base, In-House SEOs do enjoy some influence in the SERPs rankings for their site subject verticals, and some of them are undoubtedly paid well for their roles. Due to concerns about proprietary intellectual property, most In-House SEOs have to be fairly quiet about their work. Even so, some of them have engaged with public technological community, and a number of them blog to various degrees or are active in other ways.
In-house SEO specialists have some advantages that outsiders can’t have. They know their own technical environment – servers, networks, domains, specialty applications, content, internal analytics, and they’re experienced in their own industry with its unique needs and concerns. In a lot of cases, an outsider can’t do as good a job at designing and integrating an optimization strategy as an in-house resource. Even considering this, external SEO firms shouldn’t bash internal SEOs quite so defensively – many in-house search marketers still call in consultants and service providers for special projects.
I’m an In-House SEO (among other roles). I was curious about who my peers were in this arena, so I’ve set out to identify some of the top In-House SEOs here. It’s not possible to identify anywhere close to all of them, and I’m likely just scratching the surface here. I’m mainly interested in those others who blog, though I’m open to listing any I find. I’m trying to focus on SEOs for top-ranked companies and huge internet sites.
This is still a very nascent specialization in many ways, so there’s not just a whole lot of standardization of titles, compensation levels, etcetera. Many companies now refer to the role as “Search Marketing Manager”, though some have identified greater strategic need and importance with the work and have assigned the title of “Search Director” or “Vice President of Search Marketing” for it. In many cases, the role may also involve SEM work as well, and in larger companies, there may be a number of specialists all working on aspects of the overall optimization work. (For a nice breakdown of some common SEO roles, check out Rand’s posting on SEOmoz about comparative pay rates .)
I’m not really differentiating between those who are full employees of the companies they optimize for, and those who were perhaps full employees and then moved out to consult solely for those same companies in order to perhaps gain higher levels of pay while reducing the pains which come with working inside mega-corporations. Where possible, I’m linking to their blogs, and failing that, I’m linking to one of their personal profiles. In a few cases these are individuals that I know, but most of those listed I came across through internet research, so be aware that there’s potentially a high degree of error involved in the list. Also, I’m a bit arbitrary about those I chose – I tried to focus on widely-recognized name-brand sites, internet juggernauts, and well-established companies.
Some of the Top In-House SEOs:
Amr Awadallah  : Director Product/Business Intelligence at Yahoo! Inc.
Aidan Beanland  : Regional SEO Manager at Yahoo – Aidan is also a frequent speaker at Search Engine Bootcamp in Australia and he’ll be speaking at Search Summit Australia.
Jennifer Blamy  : SEO Manager at LendingTree.com
Jessica Bowman  : Director of SEO for Business.com – Jessica sometimes writes articles for SearchEngineJournal.com, and oversees optimization and SEM for the Business.com directory of sites.
Michael Brito  : Search Marketing Manager at HP
David Carberry  : Director of Search Marketing for Advertising.com
Steve Carrod  : Search Marketing Manager (EMEA) at Hewlett-Packard
Gene Chan  : Search Marketing Manager at Imaging & Printing Group – HP
Michael Cheung  : Search Marketing Lead at Marchex
Kathleen Coughlan  : Strategic Alliances & Search Marketing at Lexis Nexis
Terry Cox  : SEO/SEM Manager for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Online.
Christopher Curtis  : Associate Manager, Search Engine Marketing at Shopzilla.com – Christopher has also apparently written a few articles on search marketing topics, if you search around.
Rudy DeDominicis  : Search Marketing Specialist at Time Inc Interactive – Rudy previously did search marketing for Ziff Davis, AOL, and Paper.com.
John Ellis  : Online Marketing Manager, Search for ResortQuest / Gaylord Entertainment – optimizing for GaylordHotels.com, Opry.com, and ResortQuest.com
Matt Evans  : SEO Manager at Monster.com
Duane Forrester  : Manager, Search Marketing at Sports Direct Inc. – Duane is also a SEMPO Board member.
Derek Fulford  : Search Marketing Manager at The Weather Channel Interactive – Weather Channel had a news story  earlier this year about how effective their SEO project uses analytics heavily.
Jason Hall  : Director, Search Engine Marketing at Shopzilla.com
Seth Hammac  : Search Engine Marketing Media Manager at CNET Networks
Julie Handleman-Baerwald  : SEO/SEM Manager at Citysearch
Liz Keller  : Manager of SEO Strategy at iVillage, Inc.
Mia Kemp  : SEO and Sr. Project Manger – Marketing at Kaplan University
Imran Khan  : Chief Marketing Officer at E-Loan.
Vic Kuzmovich  : Director Online Marketing at Expert Realty – Vic was formerly SEO for WebMD’s Medscape.com property.
Rob Lenderman  : SEO Architect at LendingTree.com
Jeff Leong  : Sr. Online Marketing Specialist at Symantec Corporation.
Laura Lippay  : SEO for Yahoo! – Laura earlier did SEO for CNET, and she now works upon Yahoo properties.
Paul Low  : Search Marketing Manager at JCPenney.com
Bill Macaitis  : VP of Traffic Generation and SEM / SEO for Fox Interactive Media (MySpace, FoxSports, IGN Ent).
Philip Maher  : Director of SEO at LocalLaunch! a subsidiary owned by Dex Media.
Matt McGee  : SEO for Marchex – specializing in optimization for local search, and small business websites. Marchex has made a name for itself by buying up tons of local-oriented domain names based on vertical keywords, city names, vertical + city name combinations, and zip codes in a sort of domainer or “direct navigation” strategy, and they recently have started working on improving the quality of all those many sites.
Sean McGinnis  : Manager, Search Engine Marketing at Findlaw
Melanie Mitchell  : Director, SEO/SEM at AOL – Melanie handles SEO/SEM for AOL.com, MapQuest, AIM, Netscape and TMZ.com. Melanie has spoken at past PubCons and SES Conferences.
Mike Moran  : Distinguished Engineer / Product Manager of IBM’s OmniFind Search Product – Mike has worked for IBM for nearly 30 years, and is expert in search technology, search marketing, content management, personalization, analytics, and more. Mike also speaks at conferences such as SES, ad:tech, Consumer Reports WebWatch, OMMA East, and Enterprise Search Summit. Mike has applied paid and natural search optimization strategies for IBM properties.
Michael Nguyen  : SEO Strategist at Shopzilla.
Paul O’Brien  : SEO for HP – Paul also guestblogs some here at Natural Search Blog.
Giovanna O’Grady  : SEM/SEO Manager at Intuit
Paul Pedersen  : Manager Search Engine Marketing at E W Scripps – overseeing search marketing efforts for a handful of major Scripps sites.
Dan Perry  : SEO Producer, Cars.com – Dan previously managed enough .EDUs to make any good SEO salivate, Dan now works on Cars.com, an acquisition of NewCars.com and has been a board member of SEMPO and has spoken at various conferences, including Emetrics, SES (San Jose, Chicago, Toronto and NY), and ad:tech.
David Perez  : SEO/PPC Manager for eHarmony
Robert Pettee  : Search Marketing Manager at LendingTree, LLC
Amy Pickwick  : Web Communications Manager at USinternetworking, an AT&T company
Roni Raulwing  : International Program Manager – Mobile & Devices at Adobe, Inc.
Greg Reitman  : Manager, Search Marketing at Barnes & Noble .com
Thomas Shaffer  : Sr. Search Media Analyst at Microsoft
Aaron Shear  : Global Director of SEO for Shopping.com – Aaron previously worked at Inktomi and then consulted for a few SEO firms. Aaron now focuses on optimizing for Shopping.com’s 50 million plus products.
Marshall D. Simmonds  : chief Search Strategist for New York Times, overseeing SEM/SEO for NYTimes.com, Boston.com, IHT.com and About.com.
Scott Skurnick  : Director SEO (Search Engine Optimization) at Edmunds.com – previously did search marketing for Circuit City.
Chris Silver Smith  : Head of the Technology & Development Department, Idearc Superpages.com – perhaps needless to say, but I count myself in this list, too! I did research on SEO for Superpages many years ago, and I founded the SEO program which has been quite effective. I performed SEO for GTE, then advised for some Verizon sites, and I now do this for Idearc. Verizon spun off our company in November of this past year to form the publicly-traded Idearc Media Corporation. I founded Idearc’s new SEO Council which I also chair. I’ve been guest-blogging here at Natural Search Blog, and I sometimes speak at SES conferences. I’ll likely be speaking at the SES Conference in New York this April.
Jennifer Mathews Somogyi  : SEO Manager at Classmates.com
Julie Sun  : Senior Manager, SEO at MTV Networks
David Temple  : Search Marketing Consultant at FindLaw
Mike Banks Valentine  : Senior SEO Manager at Fox Interactive Media
Julie VanMersbergen  : Team Lead, Search Marketing at FindLaw
Tanya Reitze Vaughan  : Search Engine Marketing & Optimization, Web Marketing Hewlett-Packard (HP) – Tanya has spoken at SES before on in-house SEO work.
Alfonso Veggetti  : Senior Marketing Analyst at Washington Mutual
Meg Walker  : Online Marketing Manager at Network Solutions – Meg specializes in online marketing, PPC management, banner advertising, search optimization.
Frank Watson  : SEM Manager at FXCM (Forex Capital Markets) – Frank is also known as AussieWebmaster in his moderator role at Search Engine Watch’s forums.
Anthony Ziehmke  : Search Marketing Strategist at Microsoft
For any of you out there who I may’ve overlooked, email me your info and I’ll update this list. Likewise, if I missed your blog link, please send me that.
UPDATE: I’ve had to halt additions to this posting, because I was simply inundated! You’re welcome to send me information about you, or recommendations for additions, and I may do an additional post listing “in-houses” in the future. But for now, I can’t accommodate further additions to this list.