Think your company can master search marketing and conduct your SEO/SEM campaigns in-house? If so, you're in the majority.

According to a 2005 survey by Jupiter Media and WebSourced, 54% of companies handle their PPC management and SEO internally. This statistic is supported by a 2004 SEMPO study, stating that 52% of advertisers said they would manage 100% of their 2005 spending on both paid inclusion and organic SEO in-house.

But is it really time for your company to jump on the in-house bandwagon? Managing a successful paid and organic SEO campaign takes a dedicated staff, a savvy SEO plan and the time to make it happen. If your company is sitting on the in-house versus outsourcing fence, here are some tips to help you decide.

Your company should consider bringing (or keeping) your search marketing in-house if...

1. You have experienced online marketers and copywriters on staff who can conduct keyphrase research, write stellar copy and manage your existing PPC campaign

Strong content is important for promoting a company's unique benefits—and it's also crucial for search engine positioning. Spider-friendly copy and compelling page titles and descriptions boost organic page positioning—plus, they help "get the click" from the search results page.

In addition, the marketing department typically conducts both seasonal and long-term keyphrase research. Although keyphrase research can easily be accomplished with some established industry tools such as WordTracker, understanding the value of each search term is more complex.

Some words can easily be integrated into a writing and PPC strategy. Other words (like misspellings) should never (or very rarely) appear on a page or in an ad. Furthermore, according to a 2004 comScore study, generic terms, such as "camera," may gain higher PPC click-throughs than more specific searches. Knowing how to choose and strategize for a per-page and PPC-keyphrase strategy is essential to keyword planning.

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image of Heather Lloyd-Martin

Heather Lloyd-Martin is director of search strategies for and is author of the book Successful Search Engine Copywriting.