What is the Second SEO Question?
When engaging with a new client that has contracted you for search engine marketing services, there are important questions to be asked right away. These questions are not necessarily about technology or products, or structure of websites. They certainly aren't about domain management, file naming, redirects, tools, pagerank (oh man don't get me started), content, linking, or even keywords at this point.
The first SEO question I proposed in a previous blog entry was 'What would the first page of search results look like if you could dictate them to Google?' This pulled information out of the client about their pain points and attempted to get them to talk about expectations no matter how much you are going to tell them rankings don't count in direct marketing later in the project process. [Notice I didn't ask about keywords again as this is a great opportunity to see what words they pick without being prompted.]
The second SEO question should be something like this: 'What do you want a searcher to do when they visit your website'. Now this may seem like an obvious question but is amazing how few can answer this succinctly, and this is critical for any search marketer to know. Is it lead gen, is it sales, is it getting them to tell their friends, is it to get them to review and comment? Answers to these questions lead to other questions about what are the success metrics for the SEO project, how do you measure ROI from search visitors (or do you measure), is this about direct marketing or awareness/brand marketing?
Stay tuned for my thoughts on the third question that should be asked.