Questions I need answered if I in-source my search marketing

Question 1: Do I do it myself?
Question 2: Do I have the time?
Question 3: What is my time worth?
Question 4: Is my time better spent on other things?
Question 5: Do I have the knowledge and skills to do it right?
Question 6: Do I have the time to stay up to date in critical knowledge?
Question 7: What if I screw up the site?
Question 8: Is this something I really want to do along with my regular work?
Question 9: Will this take me away from my family?
Question 10: Is this worth the cost of NOT hiring or outsourcing?
Question 11: Will this diminish my capabilities at being effective that my primary job?
2010 SEMMY Nominee Question 12: Do I sub out part of it and do the rest myself?
Question 13: Do I delegate in-House or use sub-contractors?
Question 14: What parts do I do myself?
Question 15: What work can be given to the other person(s)?
Question 16: How do I ensure that all the sub-contractors are working in unison together?
Question 17: How do I know who to blame if my search marketing or optimization doesn't work?
Question 18: Do I hire someone to do it?
Question 19: Do I pay someone to learn search marketing on the job?
Question 20: Do I have the resources to teach or pay someone to learn the craft?
Question 21: Will I have to pay for additional resources such as conferences, books, etc.?
Question 22: What if someone learns it and leaves?
Question 23: What if I can't find someone capable of learning the craft?
Question 24: What if they screw up my site or get me thrown out of the search engines?
Question 25: Do I hire someone with experience?
Question 26: How much is that going to cost me?
Question 27: How do I know they can do what they claim?
Question 28: Will they have all the skills necessary?
Question 29: Will I have to pay additional dollars as they sub-contract out specialty work?
Question 30: How much will I have to pay to keep their knowledge current?
Question 31: Will they expect to attend all the major SEO trade shows?
Question 32: What if the SEO engages in "black hat" activities that screw up my site or get me thrown out of the search engines?

Questions I need answered if I outsource my search marketing

Question 33: Do I hire a firm or a consultant?
Question 34: Do I hire a SEM consultant?
Question 35: Can a consultant do everything I need or do I have to do it myself?
Question 36: Will a consultant have all the skills necessary to complete the job?
Question 37: Will the consultant sub work out to other consultants?
Question 38: Will I be forced to pay additional fees sub-contractors?
Question 39: Will a consultant spend enough quality time on my account?
Question 40: Will I be able to get a hold of a consultant when I need them during business hours?
Question 41: Do I Hire an SEM Firm?
Question 42: Will a firm have qualified people working on my account?
Question 43: Will a firm have too many clients to give me quality time?
Question 44: Does the size of the firm matter to me?
Question 45: Is the firm a "ranking factory" or will they be sure to pay attention to my needs?
Question 46: How responsive will my search marketing firm be with my concerns?
Question 47: Will my calls and emails get answered?
Question 48: How much should search marketing cost?
Question 49: What should be included in my campaign?
Question 50: What should not be included in my campaign?
Question 51: What will my payment plan?
Question 52: Will I get the return on my investment?
Question 53: How soon should I expect to see results?
Question 54: What kind of results should I expect?
Question 55: Will I have to give up too much control of my site?
Question 56: Am I willing to give out sensitive site access information?
Question 57: Will I implement recommendations as they are provided?
Question 58: Can I veto recommendations and still expect results?
Question 59: Will I be expected to do anything?
Question 60: How much will I have to be involved?
Question 61: How much will I be allowed to be involved?

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.


Hi Stoney,

Thanks for sharing.
I think with these questions one will know if time, resources and money are well spent.
Doing an efficient and effective SEO is important!


I wonder how one can prepare this much questions on a topic. You really great. Thank you for sharing this question.

Hi Stoney,
Good post, just wanted to share a couple of thoughts.

#1 Good business professionals usually working for larger and mid-sized companies are increasingly becoming more savvy individuals. They know whether they need to in-source or outsource given internal resources & budget constraints. They should also be familiar with the RFP process in finding a good vendor.

#2 If you are small business owner thinking about doing it yourself and have no knowledge of the field, my suggestion would be to buy search engine advertising to see if your business model lends itself well to search marketing. Its likely the cheapest alternative.

#3 SEO/Online Marketing/ Experts- We’re not here to save the world from bad or good code, SEO tactics, etc. We’re here to help clients meet their business objectives. Don’t tell clients what you know and what the best practices are. Focus on what you are going to do for them, results they can expect, and how you are going to achieve (and exceed) their business objectives. If you do that correctly, your prospective client should be able to make an informed decision on whether they want to tackle the job themselves or not:)

Best Regards,


I just completed the most effective SEO campaign in the world. My advice to newbies...stay away from SEO companies that charge like $500.00 or more for their services. They usually stink, bottom line. Once you learn how to do it yourself for FREE, you will be so much better off trust me.


Strongly agree with Christian. We used to spent a lot to SEO company.



I agree .... learn to do it yourself, then if you do ever outsource again you at least know what to expect and whether the company is doing the right thing

I'd agree to disagree. I won't try to fix my car myself, I'll do more damage and still end up needing to call a mechanic! Agreed however that if you're on a shoestring budget that sometimes a DIY approach is a good one. It's all about ROI, what is your time worth vs what you might earn in return. Sometimes letting someone else do the job is quicker, better and has a better return. Of course there's no need to call a tow truck if you've just got a flat (and you've been maintaining the spare).

Just my $0.02.

I'll agree with Robert. Anybody who thinks that SEOs should not charge more than $500 is either incredibly naive and they don't know more than the most basic SEO, or they are in an incredibly low competition area where only the most basic SEO is needed.

I have just completed the most effective SEO campaign in the world. My advice to newbies... I have found a tool on that will perform a traffic website conversion calculations and tell you ROI for your volume of visitors.

We need to come up with a list of questions that are typical for a prospect also. Those are questions a skilled marketeer would ask but how about a newbie?

Stan and Christian's way of thinking has been brought upon us by unscrupulus SEO vendors looking for a fast buck - and you should avoid these guys. If your vendor suggests SEO is a one time - get it done and forget it expenditure - stay away.

On the flip side, if your vendor really wants to form a long term relationship understanding your business, market position and direction, you have found a good one. Review Stoney's questions. You're really interviewing for a business partner or at least an important employee. And I'm afraid that level of commitment and service is ALWAYS going to cost more than $500.

Great post- Thanks for spending the time coming up with these questions, all of which are incredibly useful. I'll be sure to pass this post along!


these questions are a great set of guidlines for anybody to use. i am printing them off right now. Thank you

Thanks for sharing.
Great post!

Why not 100 questions ? ;+)

When you own a business, you don't have the time or money to train someone in SEO, therefor you outsource the services. But who do you use?

If you go offshore, the costs a less but the quality is very poor. If you go to the top SEM firms in the US, they charge more than they generate in profits.

What's missing from this list is the financial side of the decision. If I pay AdWords $5,000 and the SEM firm $750 for management, will I see the $5,750 returned as sales profit? Currently 90% are giving the answer as NO.

In this economy, there is no room for beginners or on-the-job training. You will go out of business.

@ Denis - My guess would be because I only thought of 61. Feel free to provide the other 39. :)

@ Catanich - I agree that SEO and SEM has to be profitable. If it's not then it's useless. However, not everything is immediately profitable. Amazon spent years losing money before they turned a profit. Now most don't have the pockets do operate like Amazon did, but we also have to realize that SEO is an investment that generally pays back in time. If 90% of the people you are talking to are telling you that you can't turn a profit on AdWords then you are either talking to the wrong people or you are in the wrong industry... or you just gotta figure out how to do it yourself. We make sure our clients turn a profit with the PPC campaigns we manage for them, including our fees.

It's not an easy task to outsource any SEO campaign. From my own personal experience there are very few people or companies I can trust. Sometimes you can do more damage by selecting the wrong people, then you just doing much less work ourselves.

Both sides have a point here. The idea is to educate yourself about seo enough in order to be able to spot the bogus claims. Although seo is a process almost anyone can do, not everyone has the time to do it well. There are a great many reasons to outsource your company's website seo and there is a lot to be gained by carefully choosing the right company. Education is key.

Thanks for the questions, I simply answer these questions on my mind. Several answers popped up. It is important to us in SEO.

This has been a very enlightening read. I learned a lot to realize if this is a task I should take on myself or not. Thanks for the great post

LouAnn Savage

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Search Engine Guide > Stoney deGeyter > 61 Pre-SEO Campaign Questions You Need To Answer