Many of our clients have internal teams for SEO campaign management. As you know from my post on outsourcing, my tendency is toward outsourcing this activity to a firm with Fortune 100 experience and who only does this day-in and day-out. I think the business case is easy to make, just like it is for many other repeatable business processes. But that being said, many companies see SEO campaign management as part of brand management and worry that outsourcing will distort the message. If you simply can't outsource, then see how to improve search engine ranking yourself.

I can see this concern. And I understand very well from Chad the importance of message and brand. However, it seems to me you can still maintain these critical marketing elements with an outsourced SEO campaign management team. I think the answer lies more in communication and organization than anything else. If I think about it long enough, it isn't too hard to come up with examples of internet teams who have lost control of their message. There are many.

So what are the critical elements of a solid SEO campaign management team? I put some thought into that and came up with the following list. If you do decide to move this activity out, here are points to consider as you interview possible firms to take over your SEO campaign management.

* Organization
* Expertise
* Communication
* Disciplined execution
* Accountability
* Transparency
* Business Results

And don't be shy. Ask them how they plan to communicate their activities to you. If they don't have top notch reporting tools in place, look elsewhere. You should get a dashboard portal to track their activities. Ask for examples of business results they have achieved for other customers like you. Ask up-front questions about accountability and transparency. Will they show you exactly what they are doing? If not, move on. Talk to them about discipline. SEO campaigns are a marathon, not a sprint. Not every team has the stamina to achieve the results you desire. This requires focus over the long-term. Ask for examples in really competitive spaces. Don't be satisfied with exciting results in non-competitive spaces. Anyone can achieve those.

If you do your homework and ask these questions during your selection process, I believe you will end up with the professional SEO services management team you need.

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