Do you need to bring in a search engine optimization (SEO) consultant or can you do it yourself? It’s a question a lot of small- and medium-sized business owners spend a lot of time asking themselves. Do it yourself or get help? What makes better business sense?
We used to say that if your business was small enough, that maybe you didn’t need to hire one. SEO could be something left for the big dogs. After all, in local all you had to do was properly use your keywords and scoop up local citations and you’d do a pretty good job at ranking. However, that’s not the case anymore as Google dishes out local updates as fast as bloggers whip out sarcasm. Things are getting more complex, faster paced and more involved all across the board. In today’s market, there are many important benefits that come with working with a professional SEO consultant.
Below you’ll find just a few.
Proper Implementation of Tactics
Many business owners who are on the fence about bringing in an SEO get their optimization information by reading blogs, participating in forums or by skulking SEO liveblogging information published during and after conferences. And while these are all great sources of education, they’re not always so good at breaking down the actual implementation of tactics – they merely introduce them. This leaves business owners to try and figure out how to put what they heard into use all by themselves. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to perform brain surgery after merely reading about how someone else does it on their blog. Because that guy’s going to die on the table. The same can happen with DIY SEO. If you’re not sure how to do what you’re being told, it’s better to consult with someone who does. By simply consulting with a knowledgeable SEO professional you can save your business a lot of time, headaches and rewrites by getting things right the first time and only investing in the tactics that will really help your site.
More Well-Rounded Link Development
The trouble with link building is that it’s as important as it is difficult. Links drive traffic, they drive eyes and they drive rankings. Building links to your site means being about to identify the different kinds of links on the Web, analyze which your competitors are receiving that you’re not, understand what links are most important for your niche, and then developing a strategy for how you’re going to acquire them. If you’re a business trying to save on SEO by doing all of this yourself, well, you may have your work cut out for you. Is it possible? Yes. But it’s time consuming. And it’s hard. If you don’t have someone on your team who is both dedicated AND and skilled in the art of linkbuilding (and it really is an art) you’re going to be missing out on lots of profitable link opportunities. Consulting with an expert can help you find existing goldmines on your site you didn’t even know where there. It’s all about the content, baby!
You’ll Get the Latest Tactics
One thing that’s common among most SEOs I’ve met? They live and breathe what they do. Like, they’re totally obsessed. That’s not always good for their outside lives (non-industry friends? What are those?), but it’s very good for their clients. People who make their living in the search engine optimization industry pride themselves on being up-to-date and skilled on the latest and greatest tactics. They keep themselves active by always staying one step ahead of Google, and constantly experimenting to see not what works right now, but what will work in six months. That’s something an inhouse SEO or a DIY SMB owner doesn’t have the time to do. You can only spend so much time reading blogs and attend so many conferences without the boss wondering what you’re up to. When you need a fresh pair of eyes or someone to help you find the signal in all of the noise, an SEO consultant can help you do that.
Good SEO consultants are responsible for money, not traffic. That means they pretty much live in their analytics, analyzing the data they’re seeing and then using that to create a site that not only ranks well, but that converts. At the end of the day, that’s the goal of all this. It’s not to drive as many people as possible to your Web site. It’s to make your site more money. If you’re not skilled in studying conversion funnels, creating landing pages, understanding time on site, monitoring keyword trends, studying user interaction, etc, then you’re not optimizing your site as strongly as you could. That’s leaving money on the table.
Maybe the best thing about bringing an SEO consultant into the mix is that it means an expert is always a phone call away. If you’re not sure you’re doing something correctly, not sure how to target a piece of content or you think you’re seeing something funny in the search results – you have someone to go to. Someone who can either calm your nerves or validate your fear and tell what you to do. Having an expert on your team and on your site can be priceless in giving you that reassurance and making sure always keeping your site on the right path.
As things continue to evolve, search engine optimization is going to become an increasingly important part of the marketing pie. And if you don’t have someone on your team who is dedicated to that task with significant resources behind him/her, you’re going to find your site being left behind and unable to keep up with the changes that occur on a daily basis. You may know your business, but when it comes to SEO, business owners often don’t know what they don’t know. That’s where we can help.
About the Author
Lisa Barone co-founded Outspoken Media in 2009 and served as Chief Branding Officer until April 2012.