As much as the title is vastly overstated, these questions will at the very least help you ponder SEO in a way you hadn't pondered before. At least that's my theory.

Question 11. How much time should I spend getting my SEO perfect?

Tough question to answer. You really have to weigh the cost/benefit ratio. Many small business owners want to do SEO themselves because it saves them money. But, at some point, business duties start to get neglected because you're trying to learn SEO. Once you hit this point, hiring out is the smart move.

Once you've hired a professional SEO, there is still a cost/benefit ratio to consider. And, how much you spend on an SEO must coincide to the expected payoff. I have to say "expected" because SEO is an investment, and, like most investments, the payoff isn't immediate.

But, the payoff AND the cost are both directly proportional to the time your SEO is expected to be involved in your campaign. Pay attention to this. If you're only paying for six hours of SEO per month, you'll only get the results those hours can provide. However, if you're paying for 50 hours of SEO per month, your expectations can be a lot higher.

12. I'm re-designing my site, should I switch to more keyword friendly URLs?

If the re-design of the site requires URLs to be changed (such as moving to a CMS), then yes, now is a good time to employ keyword friendly URLs. If changing the URLs is not required, then there are a few more considerations to mull over.

First, you have to look at how well your site is already ranking, how authoritative it is, and how much changing URLs will disrupt your rankings. If your site is uber powerful, than changing URLs will not have a huge impact, though it might make for a bad week or two. But, if your site is pretty weak in terms of search engine authority, then changing URLs won't really hurt and will likely only help you.

When you're getting lots of good traffic from the search engines, disruptions can be devastating, even if they are only temporary. Proceed with caution, and always consult your SEO to ensure the changes are implemented in a way to minimize the negative impact.

13. Once my site is optimized, will it stay optimized?

Sure, it'll stay optimized, but that doesn't mean the optimization will stay effective. Good SEO is always good SEO, but there are a lot of nuances to the search engine algorithms that change over time. For example, usability issues have become increasingly important to the success of the optimization campaign.

Things such as bounce rates and page speed can reflect either positively or negatively. These are things that were not considered even a few years ago, or the search engines were just adding them into the mix. While none of these really change how you optimize, they do change how we analyze a site from the SEO perspective.

SEO isn't a set-it-and-forget-it game. There is always something more to improve. From looking at your analytics, page performance, conversion rates, keyword rankings, keywords yet-to-be-optimized for, and so on, there really is no end. Your site is always a work in progress, and if you're not making progress then, well, you're not making progress.

14. Should I invest in SEO or PPC?

The short answer is both. SEO gets you the "free" traffic, but there is so much value in PPC that it shouldn't be ignored.

People often think of PPC as a temporary measure. It's just there until the SEO campaign achieves the rankings you're looking for. But, there is no reason to stop PPC once you're on the first page with organic SEO. The double branding effect you have far outweighs the potential that you're paying for a click that you could have gotten for free.

Here's the thing, the tracking you can do with PPC allows you to track everything, down to a minute level of performance. This allows you to tweak and test your PPC campaigns to ensure every dollar you spend makes more than a dollar in return. That, of course, means profits. As long as your PPC campaign is profitable, there is no reason not to keep it active.

And, since only about 30% of searchers click on a paid ad, you're really not in significant danger of losing the "free" click.

15. Should I engage in any "black hat" SEO strategies?

That's up to you. Just be sure you understand the risks you're taking by doing so. I have no problem with such strategies, as long as those employing them are open and honest about the potential consequences of such actions and you're on board.

If you can risk losing your domain name and don't mind starting over, then by all means, engage away. On the other hand if your URL and brand is important, then maybe the dark side isn't for you. This goes back to risk vs. reward.

(In case you missed the first two parts to this article, go here for questions 1-5, and here for questions 6-10).

February 23, 2011

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.


Good post. On #14, I agree that it shouldn't be one or the other -- SEO *or* PPC. PPC has some nice advantages to testing quickly to see what keywords convert for your site and can inform the SEO process to put more optimization into the best performing keywords.

Hi Stoney

I am not sure if it is me being around SEO for so many years and reading/studying so much SEO but I feel that your article is a laboured, as if you are struggling to find some thing to say, which is not like you having read most of your articles over the years. Maybe it would be more effective if you just asked folks to send their Q's and you send grouped A's. More direct and to the point. Love your writing and we are all blessed with them, thank you so much for your time and effort through many years. You are the only one I read on a regular basis, there is an honesty and sincerity in your work which I feel akin to.


Andrew - I appreciate your comment, and you're right. Sometimes I struggle, whether it be with a particular article, the topic doesn't lend itself to my typical style or I'm just having an off day. It happens. But the way I see it, if I don't occasionally hit a low note, the high-notes just don't sound as good. :)

Paid results only get 30% of clicks and they get 90% percent of the market share. I personally think a campaign should be 65/35 in favor of seo. Great list Stoney.

Recently I had client Hotel owner how was doing SEO himself, and he was in total confusion why he's not moving from his place on Google. So he decide to take a move and find SEO expert, but listen to this. I explain to him SEO it's investment and as that you need to be patient and wait for results, but no he want me to work on his site and after he get desire place then he wold pay me what I'm asking :)).. Of course I didn't want to do like that, so he continue doing his SEO.

Interesting thing I find out from talking with him. He thought i'ts not possible to beat better and respectable hotels (referring on the site position) for that term he was targeting. He though google know those are much more Respectable Hotels in that City and that's why can't be outranked. Very useful insight from client perspective.

Sorry about my grammar I hope you are able to read it

I agree with paying someone to do SEO. Many business owners will focus on how to implement search engine optimization, while neglecting core duties of running day to day operations. Get smart and pay the man. Do what you do best and stop being cheap.

Great Article.

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Search Engine Guide > Stoney deGeyter > 15 Questions That Will Change The Way You Think About SEO Forever (Q's 11-15)