There are definitely benefits to taking charge of your own website and SEO and doing everything yourself. It sates your Type A personality’s need to micromanage every aspect of your business. It guarantees that you’ll know exactly what is going on with your site all the time.
If you aren’t familiar with coding, though, trying to do all of your SEO yourself can be a hassle. You may already know how to use the basic tag and Meta information functions offered by your CMS but there is more to coding your site’s SEO than filling out those basic boxes. You’ll want to add Meta Tags, Meta Descriptions, etc. to your site and its pages. That means spending time down in the bowels of your site where language stops flowing eloquently and starts looking like someone upended a box of scrabble tiles.
Obviously you can learn how to do all of this coding yourself. In fact, if you’re a quick study, you could probably figure it out within an afternoon. But do you want to?
This same question holds true for the other aspects of your site. Do you want to be in charge of rewriting all of your site’s content? Do you want to have to come up with articles for article marketing, guest blogging and link building purposes? Do you want to dedicate your precious and otherwise billable time to chatting on social media?
There’s no shame in hiring someone to help you with your site’s SEO. In fact, hiring someone to take over your SEO could be the best thing you do for your business.
The challenge, then, is hiring the right someone to handle your SEO. How do you do that?
In-House or Outsource?
There are definitely benefits to both of these options. On the one hand: hiring someone to manage your SEO in-house helps you maintain a sense of control over the situation. You can check on your site and its SEO whenever you feel like it, you just have to walk over to the person you’ve put in charge. You can manage the smaller details and ensure that the person is actually working during the hours for which you are being billed.
At the same time, single-site SEO is not a full time job. The person you hire to do your SEO—if that is all you hire that person to do—will have a hard time keeping busy after your initial push to get caught up has been completed.
Hiring a firm is usually the more practical option. When you outsource your SEO duties to a company, you can be reasonably confident that you are only paying for work that is actually being done. You can also be happy knowing that there is a team of people working on your SEO so mistakes are less likely to slip through the cracks.
Of course, you are unlikely to be an SEO company’s only client. You might have a hard time sharing someone’s focus. Keeping tabs on the day to day can also be problematic because asking questions and checking in will require calling or sending an email … and then waiting to get a response. Nobody likes having to wait an entire afternoon to get a quick answer to a simple question.
The biggest problem for most professionals, however, isn’t deciding between in-house or outsourcing options. It’s figuring out with whom to work! There are so many experts and companies out there to sort through and they all claim to be the very best at what they do! How are you supposed to figure out which company (or employee) is a good fit?
In some respects, figuring out who to put in charge of your SEO is exactly like hiring the rest of your employee pool. You want to see professional prowess. You want to be able to check references. You want to be able to check backgrounds and reputations. With SEO experts, though, you want to look specifically for a couple of extra clues:
1. Promising Too Much
Steer clear of any company that promises to get you on to the front page of Google too quickly. You already know that Google search rankings don’t and can’t change overnight or even, often, within a couple of days. Any company that promises you immediate results is likely trying to game the system or doesn’t understand how the crawling process actually works.
2. Black Hat Vs. White Hat
Ask each candidate about the techniques and methods they plan to use to help raise your site within Google’s ranks. If the candidate hedges or is vague, move on. They are likely resorting to “Black Hat” SEO methods with which you probably don’t want to be associated. A good, “White Hat” expert can lay out a plan of legitimate methods that will, over time, get you the rank you want and deserve.
Excerpted from the free ebooklet SEO Is Not Your Boss (It Just Feels That Way), by Erin Steiner. Download the full ebooklet to learn ways to manage your own website’s SEO and improve your ranking in Google’s search results.
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