9 Search Engine Marketing Questions Every Organization Should Be Able to Answer

search engine questionsSomeone once said wisdom starts with asking the right questions.  That’s because you don’t know what you don’t know unless you know which questions to ask.  (Did you follow that?)

So, here are 9 questions about search engine marketing every organization should be able to answer. Can you?

1) How important are search engine rankings are for your organization, really?

Almost everyone says search rankings are important, but few do much to improve them. If you’re not willing to invest time and/or money to improve your search rankings, then be honest with yourself that search marketing isn’t a priority.  If search marketing really is important, then make sure that’s reflected in the time and money you budget for it.

2) Which keywords/phrases is your organization targeting?

Before a web page can be optimized, you have to know for which keywords its being optimized.  Each web page can really only be optimized for 2-3 good keywords. Try to optimize for more than that and rankings will drop for the 2-3 best keywords.

3) How did you determine which keywords to target?

Selecting the right keywords makes all the difference in the world.  Pick the wrong keywords and you could end up targeting phrases that don’t produce any traffic or your site can’t possibly rank well for.  Selecting the best keywords takes research – research into how many searches a keyword gets and research into how strong your site is compared with the sites that are already in the top 10 for that keyword.

3) Does someone on your staff understand SEO well enough to do it well?

Search engine optimization is not rocket science, but it also isn’t something you pick up in an afternoon reading articles.  Don’t just assume it’s something your web design guy (or girl) knows how to do.  If no one on staff really understands SEO well, you may be better off outsourcing that work to someone who does.

4) Is your website search engine friendly?

If you use a web builder or content management system, does it allow you to set different title, keywords, and description tags for each page?  Does it allow you to include keywords in the filename or URL of each page or does it have a bunch of variables in the URL?  Was your site built with Flash?

5) When was the last time your website was optimized?  Ever?

Many people just assume their web developer optimized their site when it was built.  That’s usually a bad assumption?  If a website has been optimized, often other people who are unfamiliar with SEO or the targeted keywords update the content of the site and unknowingly destroy the optimization that was originally done.

6) How well is your organization doing in search engines?

Are you regularly checking your website’s search rankings for the keywords being targeted?

7) How many visitors are you getting from search engines and which keywords are producing the most traffic?

Good rankings are important, but their not worth much if they’re not resulting in real people visiting your website.

8 ) How many conversions (sales, leads, visitors to your church) are you getting from search engines?

Visitors are important, but they’re not worth much either if they’re not producing the real results you’re looking for.  Are you even tracking where your sales, leads, church visitors are coming from?

9) Do you have the search marketing tools you need?

Do you have tools to do keyword research, generate regular search ranking reports, and track visitors and conversions?  You don’t want to go into the search marketing battle unarmed.  Google Analytics (if you know how to use it) can track visitors and online conversions.  Other software for keyword research and ranking reports can be pricey.

Which of these questions can you answer? Which do you have some more work to do before you can answer?

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

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