Google Hires SEO Specialists. And It's Long Overdue.

Nick Greene    By under SEO.

And now, for some of the most bizarre news you'll likely hear today - Google is looking to hire an SEO manager. No, they aren't looking to bring someone on board to help them improve their algorithms or further optimize their search engine. They're legitimately looking for help improving the SEO of their product pages.

The job listing, which can be found here, is very clearly marketing-oriented:

"As a Program Manager for Technical SEO, you will work with cross-functional teams across Marketing, Sales, Product Development, Engineering and more to help drive organic traffic and business growth. You will take part in website development and optimization, help shape blog and social strategy, improve website code hygiene and define web architecture for international websites."

For those of us who follow Google closely, this actually doesn't come as much of a surprise. See, as it turns out, Google's separate departments work in relative isolation from one another. So Google X doesn't do a whole lot of business with the Search team, and the Google + staff don't really interact with the folks behind Android.

What that means is that the websites for many of Google's internal projects have absolutely horrendous SEO. If you don't believe me, just take a look at Google's 2010 SEO Report Card, the result of an internal audit designed to help Google's diverse teams figure out how they can improve their pages.  Pretty terrible, right?

"Google gives a lot of advice; white hat best practices," said Google's Matt Cutts, in an Ignite presentation about the audit.  How do we take advantage of those best practices on our own website?"

"What shocked me," continued Cutts, "was the simple fact that Google, to the best of my knowledge, does not any team that works full time on SEO. I found that very hard to believe, but Google optimizes for the user experience, and we tend not to think about how sites are going to look inside search engines."

With the context given by Cutts, there are a few bits of insight we can take away from all of this:

  • Even though content and usability are important, your site absolutely needs to see to the basics of SEO. If you don't have time to do it yourself, hire someone to do it for you.
  • There's no 100% guaranteed way to get to the #1 spot on the SERP. If there were, every single one of Google's pages would probably be there.
  • If there IS a secret to perfect SEO, Cutts and his team aren't going to share it any time soon. They won't even share it internally.
  • You should follow Google's advice, even if Google doesn't.

At first glance, it seems bizarre - and somewhat hilariously ironic - that Google's hiring an SEO manager for some of its internal teams. But it isn't, really. Google has to follow the rules like anyone else - and as it turns out, the rules dictate that there are no shortcuts to proper SEO.

And at any rate, that job listing's going to be a pretty sweet deal for anyone who lands it. After all, how many people get the opportunity to say they've done SEO for Google?