With the Search Engine Marketing industry in North America generating more than $10 billion annually, most marketers know that search needs to be a part of their plan. What they seem less certain about, however, is whether to manage SEM campaigns in-house, or to outsource them. How do you determine what's best for your organization? David Felfoldi offered some helpful tips in a recent MarketingProfs article. Here are some questions you might want to ask:

Do you have, or can you get, the necessary personnel for a solid search effort? Effective campaigns require a broad range of skills—from copywriting to programming.

Do you have someone who can dedicate the time to keep up with the constantly changing rules, trends and behaviors of search? Google, for example, releases small changes to its search algorithm weekly, and large changes monthly. Being aware of these changes can have a significant effect on results.

Can you afford the personnel you need? Felfoldi says you can expect to pay an in-house professional $85,000/year; plus, you'll need to fund other hiring, managing, benefits, equipment, and ongoing training.

Would a hybrid plan work best for you? A good solution might be to use an outside firm to develop a 12-month plan, and execute it using in-house resources, he suggests.

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