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SEO: Should You Do It Yourself or Hire a Pro?

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If you have a website and want to increase traffic (and ultimately sells), then professional SEO services are a serious business necessity. You can either hire someone to do it for you or choose to learn and do it yourself. 

Which is best?

The answer is completely dependent on how your website performs currently as well as competition levels in your industry.

If you are going into highly competitive markets such as health, weight loss, or financial services, then you need to realize that this is going to be extremely difficult.

This leaves you with three options…

#1: Learn SEO Yourself
 

SEO has advanced more in the past several years than ever before. Consequently, learning SEO yourself will take hours upon hours of research, practice, and perfection. And that’s just the “pre-process” to learning what actually works and doesn’t.

After this basic “SEO research” you’ll have to take what you learned and build your own SEO plan for your site. The better and more detailed a plan, the better results you’ll get.

When you have a solid plan, the next step is implementing it.

For highly competitive keywords, this often means a copious amount of time consuming work.

And to top of all of this, if you’re new to SEO you don’t even know if your plan will work!

While SEO is a great skill to know, if you’re the business owner or manager of all marketing activities, your time should better be spent elsewhere.

The one exception where doing SEO yourself may work out fine is if your industry is lacking in high authority competitors with strong SEO.

#2: Hire an In-House Expert
 

With the rising popularity of SEO services and consulting, the demand for in-house SEO experts has exploded.

These days, a $50,000 salary can buy you an in-house SEO “expert” at a fraction of what a top agency or consultant would charge.

But will this in-house expert deliver?

This is the risk you face when hiring an in-house expert. Not only do you have to make sure they know what they’re talking about, but they need to deliver results.

If you’re looking for a real SEO “expert” that can generate page 1 rankings for highly competitive keywords, you can expect to pay well over $50k a year. What’s more, they’ll likely require copious other contracted resources to accomplish this.

That includes hiring quality writers, designers, and link builders.

This added workload can add up quick. And even if you get lucky and find a $50k SEO expert, you’ll likely spend another $50k on freelance work.

While hiring an SEO expert in-house is rather risky, there are a few scenarios where it may make sense:

  1. When you’re building an in-house digital marketing team (an SEO expert is a key player to any digital team)
  2. If your industry is of low to medium competition, allowing you to hire a medium-level expert rather than a top-level one
  3. If you are looking to invest heavily in a long-term growth strategy
     

 #3: Outsource Your SEO
 

While it may seem cheaper to learn SEO yourself or hire an in-house expert, you’d be surprised to find out how much time and resources these two options can consume.

For this reason, choosing professional SEO services is often the money and time saver in the long run.

While these services are quite expensive, they usually deliver great results for getting your site visible in the search engines.

So What Should You Expect From a Professional SEO Service?
 

When you hire a professional SEO company or consultant, what they will often do is first build an outline of what is needed. Often your website needs tweaks on page before work can be done for the fastest results.

After this, a general outline of a list of keywords to target is built.

This ranges from difficult keywords that will take months to rank for and easier keywords that can reach page one in weeks to months (depending on how your website is perceived by search engines currently).

The more professional the service, the more detailed this outline will be. The more keywords they target, the more traffic you will likely rank for.

The mistake many newbies make with their websites is targeting only a couple keywords. And, of course, these couple of keywords are often the most difficult to rank for.

Your first bet is to find keywords that will get what you want. Most people go for any keyword that is related to their site and has a high search count. While this is fine for traffic, the people searching for that keyword may not be best fit for your site. You may be better off using what are called long-tail keywords (terms with less search volume but more interest in what you’re selling).

In general, the more money you pay for professional SEO services, the better results you get. I made the terrible mistake when first starting out by trying to hire an $8 per hour “expert” in India for SEO. They agreed for a couple hundred dollar contract and built thousands of black-hat links.

This not only got my website nowhere in search results, it led to numerous penalties that made SEO infinitely harder.

Proper SEO takes time , effort, and resources. The more of all three of these used, the faster and more effective the results.

Using low cost services means that the person your hiring will have to cut down on their use of these three necessities. As a result, they will often produce less effective results than those that can use the extra funds for more quality link-building.

Do Not Use Professional SEO Services Unless You Have a Solid ROI
 

Since professional SEO services are so expensive, I advise to not even touch these services unless you have a solid, tested and effective marketing system for your website that converts customers.

What’s the point spending thousands of dollars on services if no amount of traffic will convert into sales?

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