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SEO - Questions Worth Asking

Updated on December 10, 2015

Some important questions worth asking:

First it is important to understand what SEO is. SEO stands for "Search Engine Optimization". It is basically the process of making a website easily understood and visible to search engines. Companies often engage in SEO efforts to make their websites more search engine friendly. When beginning a new SEO effort, it is good for decision makers to ask the following questions:

  1. Is "owning" your search engine rankings important to your company?
  2. Is this a corporate website or a time-bound marketing website?
  3. Are there any future goals for the website?

The answers to these questions can help guide readers to a data-driven decision.

Weighing the Value of Search Engine Rankings as a Financial Asset
Weighing the Value of Search Engine Rankings as a Financial Asset | Source

Is "owning" your search engine rankings important to your company?

This is the first and most important question to ask when it comes to website SEO efforts. Most people think of SEO strictly in terms of where the website shows up in search engine results. This is very important. Websites are like billboards. Everyone wants their billboard to be seen before their competitor's. Pushing a competitor off of the first page of search engine results helps drive potential customers to one website over another. So any ethical solution that gets a website on that first page of results is of value, right? Not necessarily.

Think about it from this perspective. Consider, for a moment, that SEO rankings are a financial asset to a company. Who owns that asset? The company may own the domain name and even have full ownership rights to the website code. The company may even host the website on their own web server, but do they own their search engine rankings? It depends entirely on what type of SEO solution that you use. There are really two kinds of search engine optimization solutions. The home-grown kind and the purchased kind. Purchased SEO solutions are also referred to as Off-Page SEO solutions in the IT community.

Many companies and even website developers are not always familiar with the home-grown way of doing SEO and often look into purchased SEO solutions without very much information up front about such solutions. Unfortunately, companies find out after it is too late that the hyperlinks created by some purchased SEO solutions break when a company stops paying for that solution. The nature of the issue is that some purchased SEO solutions deliver hyperlinks that direct search engines first to their own web server and then on to your company's website. This means that the search engine knows about the links provided by the SEO solution and not necessarily as much about your company's own website. Basically the SEO solution is playing middle man. No one gets to your website directly. They have to go through the SEO solution's web server to get there. If you stop paying for the SEO solution, then they just don't pass the links on to your website any more, which results in a broken link. To some extent some SEO solutions basically take your company's search engine links hostage. No pay. No link.

None of this is to say that all purchased SEO solutions work this way. Some do not function this way and there is even a good argument for the ones that do function this way. There are good uses for purchased SEO solutions that work either way. This is a good segue into the second question worth asking.

What kind of website is it?
What kind of website is it? | Source

Is this a corporate website or a time-bound marketing website?

Corporate websites help to define the vision, mission and values of a company and showcase their products. They can also act as a store front, allowing customers to browse products and make purchases. Corporate websites are a long-term investment with long-term financial goals in mind. This means that a purchased SEO solution may be a less suitable match in this case. On the other hand, what about a new product launch? Making a website that has a very focused target of presenting a new product to the world could be a great opportunity to use a purchased SEO solution. A new product launch website is time-bound, meaning that it will be in existence for a pre-determined amount of time. At some point, the company will likely retire the new product website when the product is not considered "new" any more. The only thing that remains is putting some permanent redirects in place so that all links to the old website's domain name are now redirected to the product page for that product on the corporate website. Purchased SEO solutions can be great for time-bound websites. Making sure the budget is defined up front and that monthly payments to a purchased SEO solution are calculated into the budget becomes a win for Executives, Marketing Teams and the IT folks as well.

What's on the horizon?
What's on the horizon? | Source

Are there any future goals for the website?

Sometimes no one considers the possible future uses for the website. In today's world, we sometimes tend to be very focused on the here and now as opposed to what is way out on the horizon. In the example given above about a new product website, is it possible that another new product will be launched in the future? Likely, the answer is yes. What does that mean for the SEO efforts of the website? It is important to keep in mind that search engines crawl through websites, storing away each word and phrase that it finds. Search engines then look for the best match of that information. An excellent strategy would be to create the website as a vehicle for new product launches. It is good to always think big picture and long-term and then make decisions. In this paradigm, a purchased SEO solution would still work, but it could get tricky trying to transition one product off to the product launch website and another new one in its place. This paradigm takes a greater level of upfront planning. As the old saying goes "if we fail to plan, we plan to fail." But that is a topic for another article.

Questions to Ask - Things to Consider

Questions to Ask
Things to Consider
Is "owning" search engine rankings important to your company?
Search engine rankings are a financial asset to a company
Is this a corporate website or a time-bound marketing website?
A purchased SEO solution can be great for time-bound marketing websites
Are there any future goals for the website?
It is good to always think big picture and long-term and then make decisions

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