Forget the raging debate about whether SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is dead. It’s not, and it’s important. If you want to dominate your niche, you must get it right. It’s a complicated subject with a lot of different parts, and the rules of the game frequently change.

SEO is going to be an investment, whether you decide to handle it yourself or hire an expert. It’s not particularly difficult, just time consuming and hard to stay abreast of.

If you or an employee has the time to learn everything and a talent for analytics, it might be worth doing your SEO in-house.

What Makes SEO Complicated?

SEO components are on every page of your website, woven into your text, and part of your marketing strategy. SEO experts have a deep understanding of everything from page structure to how keywords shape your blog content. They are tasked with knowing everything there is to know, and understanding how each minute change to the Google algorithm will affect your rank.

SEO Basics

Before you can decide whether to outsource, you’ll need to know what you’re up against. Here’s a brief overview of what an effective SEO expert does.

High quality content – SEO professionals have an innate understanding of what constitutes high quality content. It’s important to know what defines quality. Without specific knowledge, you can pay for a whole lot of useless content.

Keyword research – The use of keywords has changed considerably, but are still a major component of SEO. They represent the words and phrases your customer searches for – how customers are likely to find your search.

Backlink profile– The backlinks leading to your website are important and tricky. If you offer the right kind of content, other sites will be happy to link to it. That will take quality and promotion. SEOs know what good backlinks are, and how to avoid bad links.

Analytics and tracking – SEO can take months to start producing results. If you aren’t moving the needle in 3 to 6 months, you may need a new strategy. A good SEO will be tracking the analytics to see how well the campaign is doing.

On-page SEO – HTML tags, including titles, headers, and descriptions are all important SEO values.

Web layout – The way your pages are arranged can affect your sales, signup, or donation rates. Your SEO will track what visitors do on your page – where they come from, how long they remain, and what they do after they land. This will help you refine your content to keep visitors happy, interested, and engaged.

Competitor research – How do you stack up against your competitors and why? An SEO expert will be able to tell you what your site lacks in a competitive landscape.

Integrate with marketing – Your marketing campaigns will be enhanced and aided by SEO strategy. Copy and specialized landing pages should be optimized along with everything on (and off) your site.

Cost Considerations

Now that you know what you’re up against, you should have an idea about what’s at stake and what the job entails.

Outsourcing can be pricey, and, if you don’t know what questions to ask, ineffective. To make sure you’re getting the most for your money, choose a well-respected company with plenty of references and a proven track record. Before you interview, familiarize yourself with the basic language, and ask the right questions.

While outsourcing may seem expensive, effective SEO can keep your traffic flowing at a fast-enough pace to make it more than worthwhile, and hiring a full-time employee will likely be more expensive. Glassdoor puts the national average salary for an SEO manager at $61,933.

You can outsource all or part of your SEO based on your budget. Some SEO companies offer full service strategy – from assessing your site to creating your content. Others will hand you a periodic report and walk away. Most do some hybrid. Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting and what your responsibilities are before you hire.



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