Fifty Questions You Need Answered Before Starting Your SEO Campaign

An online business owner basically has two choices when it comes to their website marketing efforts. They can outsource it or they can do it in-house. Both of these options bring a number of secondary options to choose from and its up to the business owner to do what is best for his or her situation. Here is a rundown of the possible choices:

Questions I need answered if I insource my search marketing:

  • Do I do it myself?
    • Do I have the time?
      • What is my time worth?
    • Do I have the knowledge and skills?
      • Do I have the time to get the knowledge and skills?
    • Is this something I really want to do along with my regular work?
      • Will this take me away from my family?
        • Is this worth the cost of not hiring or outsourcing
      • Will I be able to be effective
        • What if I screw up my site or get thrown out of the search engines?
  • Do I hire someone to do it?
    • Do I pay someone to learn search marketing on the job?
      • Do I have the resources to teach or pay someone to learn the craft?
      • Will I have to pay for additional resources such as converences, books, etc.?
      • What if somone learns it and leaves?
      • What if I can’t find someone capable of learning the craft?
      • What if they screw up my site or get me thrown out of the search engines?
    • Do I hire someone with experience?
      • How much is that going to cost me?
      • How do I know they can do what they claim?
      • Will they have all the skills necessary?
        • Will I have to pay additional dollars as they sub-contract out specialty work?
      • Will they expect to attend all the major SEO trade shows?
      • How much will I have to pay to keep their knowledge current?
      • What if they engage in "black hat" activities that screw up my site or get me thrown out of the search engines?
  • Do I sub out part of it and do the rest myself?
    • What parts do I do myself?
    • How do I ensure that all the sub-contractors are working in unison together?
      • How do I know who to blame if my search marketing or optimization doesn’t work?

Questions I need answered if I outsource my search marketing

  • Do I hire a firm or a consultant?
    • If I hire a search marketing consultant:
      • Can a consultant do everything I need or do I have to do it myself?
      • Will a consultant have all the skills necessary to complete the job?
        • Will the consultant sub work out to other consultants?
        • Will I be forced to pay additional fees sub-contractors?
      • Will a consultant spend enough quality time on my account?
      • Will I be able to get a hold of a consultant when I need them during business hours?
    • If I hire a search marketing firm
      • Will a firm have qualified people working on my account?
      • Will a firm have too many clients to give me quality time?
      • Is the firm a "ranking factory" or will be sure to pay attention to the needs of my audience?
      • How responsive will my search marketing firm be with my concerns?
      • Will my calls get answered?
      • Will my emails be returned?
  • How much should search marketing cost?
    • What should be included and what shouldn’t be?
    • Will I get the return on my investment?
      • What kind of results should I expect?
      • How soon should I expect to see those results?
  • Will I have to give up too much control of my site?
    • Am I willing to give out sensitive site access information?
    • Will I implement recommendations as they are provided?
      • Can I veto recommendations and still expect results?
  • Will I be expected to do anything?
    • How much will I have to be involved?
    • How much will I be allowed to be involved?

Finding some of these answers might take time, but each is essential before moving forward. Only after you have answered each of these questions will you really know which route is best for you.

Stoney deGeyter is CEO of Pole Position Marketing. The Small Is Beautiful column appears on Thursdays at Search Engine Land.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | SEM Industry: In House | SEM Industry: Outsourcing | Small Is Beautiful


About The Author: is president of Pole Position Marketing, a leading online marketing strategy company established in 1998 and currently based in Canton, Ohio.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


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  • http://htpp:// sportsguy

    Excellent read Stoney!

    That list of questions should provide many who are new on the in-house side of things with a great baseline to start from.

    As you mention, it’ll take time to develop the answers, but int he end you’ll have a comprehensive map of your individual position and be able to answer the big question of which trigger to pull much easier.


  • tzd123

    Good post Stoney. I have question/request from an SEO Specialist perspective. What kind of questions do you think one should ask ourselves when doing freelance work? What kind of safety nets (legal etc) should we have in place before taking in any side work?

    Danny Sullivan, if you got 5mins and read this post I would like your input on this as well.

    Thanks guy, and keep the good work at Search Engine Land.

  • Thor Schrock

    Great common sense advice for any business owner. I see this nearly every day. Business owners thinnk SEO is as simple as backlink building. I even had one guy ask me to build a page with 100 links to the same page on his website because he thought he would get 100 backlinks from it. *sigh*

  • st0n3y

    “What kind of questions do you think one should ask ourselves when doing freelance work?”

    I think that’s a post in itself!

    “What kind of safety nets (legal etc) should we have in place before taking in any side work?”

    I think the most important thing here is a contract that has been proofed by a lawyer. You also might consider incorporating to provide personal asset protection if you get in a legal jam.

  • David

    That is fantastic – can I scrape it? ;)

  • st0n3y

    “can I scrape it?”

    That question is best answered by Danny or Chris.

  • Danny Sullivan

    Scrape, no — link to the article and summarize it, yes!


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