It’s every small and local business owner’s plight: what can you do yourself versus what should you hire out?
Every business relies on marketing, sales, operations, accounting, human resources, and other functions..
And now, especially for small and local businesses, you have to add SEO/internet marketing to the mix.
So, you have to decide which hats you can and can’t wear.
Here’s why you should hire someone else to do your SEO:
Done Correctly by an Experienced Firm, SEO Cost-Effectively Grows Your Business
Plenty of data shows the cost efficiency of SEO. Data at Moz shows SEO spend runs about 1/8th of what gets spent on paid search ads.
And they also add that for every 1 click you get with PPC, you get about 8.5 for SEO.
Part of the reason the cost of PPC runs so much higher is that it’s much easier for such agencies to prove their value.
You can see the exact path one visitor took, how much it cost you to attract them, and the ROI they added to your business.
With SEO, a visitor might read a blog post one month, or engage with your social media account.
Then they actually purchase several months later when they have the need for your services. Or, they share your content with friends, who end up buying from you.
You can track some of SEO’s ROI. But it’s truly impossible to track it all.
So even though SEO works well, it can be difficult to convince all businesses it does. That’s why the above Moz post points out that paid search agencies make 45x what SEOs do even though they offer the same value.
On the other hand, you can also reason that SEO agencies charge much less for the same value.
Just read that above post from Moz for further detail.
You Don’t Want to Cost Yourself Customers and Money
Sure. Anyone can turn on a computer, fire up a website, slam some keywords on a few pages, possibly rank, and draw in some customers.
…But compare that to someone who’s done SEO for years and maybe a couple decades.
You know the value of a specialist.
You have unique skills that only you can use that make your business absolutely rock.
It’s no different with SEO. You can easily make all sorts of tiny mistakes that cost you rankings, customers, and money.
For example, how fast your website loads is one of Google’s primary ranking factors. Consumers want what they want and they want it now.
So Google rewards websites that offer the fastest load times.
According to Google’s 2018 research, 53% of mobile users leave a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Do you know all the little coding details behind optimizing your website’s load time?
…And that’s just one tiny aspect of SEO!
It Takes Too Much Time to Learn
Yes. There was a time, more than a decade ago, where you could just splatter keywords all over your web pages and outrank your competition.
That time’s long gone, my friend!
You already learned about optimizing your website’s load time. Here’s what else you have to master to make Google and your users happy:
Optimize your website’s usability for mobile users
Write long and quality web pages that attract, engage, and convert visitors into paying customers
Build out social media profiles and earning shares
Create a quality backlinking strategy so you regularly win more links from other websites
Understand which keywords to target and optimize your website for
Optimize small technical details other website owners overlook, like schema markup
Now each one of those is its own discipline and takes years to master.
It’s not feasible or realistic to think you can do it yourself or get by with a cheap SEO who may make killer mistakes that trash your rankings for years.
When you go with an experienced, credible SEO agency, you get someone who’s mastered all those SEO disciplines and can keep up with Google as it changes.
Avoid Big Mistakes That Cost Time and Money by Borrowing from Someone Else’s Experience
How did you get to where you are in business today?
You made a lot of mistakes over the years and learned from them. You know precisely what works and what doesn’t.
Is it worth your own time and effort to begin that process from scratch all over again?
Remember, other small businesses already have their own SEOs who have already walked the path you’re about to embark on.
So basically, you’ll lose ground every day because they already know what to do and where to go while you just try to figure it out.
But if you hire an SEO with demonstrated results and verifiable experience, you get all the benefits of that right now.
They know exactly what your particular website does and does not need to do to rank well.
By the way, some mistakes can put a permanent end to your website’s ability to rank. One way this happens is with cheap back-linking strategies.
Some unscrupulous SEOs promise big results for low costs. One tactic they use is to get links from websites Google doesn’t know well.
They’re not good websites.
So, those SEOs get you links from those sites and temporarily drive up your rankings.
Everything looks good until Google gets to know those sites better. And then your rankings tank because you have links from all these sites with poor reputations.
While Google has a Disavow tool that lets you tell it to ignore links from certain sites, it doesn’t work as advertised. And you have a chance that Google never ignores those bad links.
That means you may have to permanently scrap your website, create a new one, and begin your SEO process from scratch.
Keep Up with Google’s Rapid Changes
Google updates its algorithm 500-600 times per year, according to Search Engine Land.
Honestly, most of those are so small that they don’t make a huge difference to your rankings (although they can in some cases).
But usually a few times per year, Google releases major updates.
On May 4th of 2020, Google released a “core update.”
Here’s the thing: Google didn’t bother to notify anyone until 3:50 Eastern Time the day of the update. They made no announcement as to what the update even does.
And frequently, their lead engineer and spokespeople only know from a high level what their updates even do.
So, you have to engage with online SEO communities and monitor your own rankings to see what happens.
If your rankings fall noticeably, then you have to figure out what Google might have changed that caused your website harm.
And it’s also possible, according to Google, that a negative rankings change could mean you didn’t even do anything wrong.
In fact, their advice in 2020 remains the almost the same as it did in 2011:
“We suggest focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward.”
SEOs can tell you at a more detailed level exactly what to do, rather than playing guessing games and hoping for the best.
Managing Your Rankings is Stressful, Hard Work
You already have plenty of stress and hard work on your plate, don’t you?
Would you like even more?
To stay on top of your search rankings, you need to have the systems and monitoring tools in place to do so.
And even then, as you just learned, it can still take some time to understand what to really do.
After all, Google has indicated a negative rankings change may even mean you haven’t done anything wrong.
So say a major update happens. Your rankings fall. You lose a bunch of website inquiries.
How do you know whether to panic about that or just rest easy, ride it out, and wait for your rankings to naturally come back up (which they might do)?
That’s another pile of stress and decision-making on your plate.
And, because you have so much experience in your own line of work, you know how you learn to make decisions over time.
So, your SEO agency can provide a lot of peace and comfort by helping you to understand exactly how to react to any major Google updates.
You’re Simply Making a Smart Business Decision
It’s important to understand SEO isn’t fast. It’s not like PPC where you can create an ad, run it, optimize it, and watch customers roll in.
It takes months to identify the changes, implement them, have Google find them, and then update your search rankings.
And some things, like content, link-building, and winning social media shares takes time to percolate in people’s minds and spur action.
But you pile up results over time. It’s like a snowball running downhill. It’s slow at first but picks up a lot of momentum and becomes almost unstoppable later on.