As a business owner, you are (hopefully) aware that SEO is an essential part of your online marketing efforts. You are probably familiar with the term “keywords,” and you might have even installed the Yoast plugin on WordPress. While this is a good start, we’re here to guide you through the expansive landscape that is SEO, why it matters, and when you should consider hiring a team of experts to help you capitalize on its ever-changing possibilities.

Many people shy away from the idea of hiring a marketing agency due to their belief that they can save money by taking a DIY approach to SEO. While DIY SEO is feasible, how practical is it for your business? To get a better sense of whether you should focus on DIY SEO or if you should consider working with a marketing agency, consider the following questions.

How Big Is Your Business?

The size and growth of your business is a big factor in determining your SEO strategy.

Size

If you’re a small business, your website is probably small too, which means it won’t take too much time to optimize your website. However, if you’re a smaller business, you might lack the appropriate time and resources your SEO efforts deserve. In order to grow a small business, SEO needs to be a top priority.

For bigger businesses, SEO may not seem as crucial, but it absolutely is. Even if your business is well-established in your industry, it’s important that you’re just as popular on a Google results page. Bigger businesses often have a larger website, meaning you will need to spend more time working on your site’s SEO. Only you are able to determine if you have enough time to dedicate toward SEO efforts of that size.

Growth

Obviously, if you are looking into SEO, you are hoping to grow your business. But, how fast is your business currently growing? Are you doing your own SEO work and seeing good results already? If that’s the case, then you are likely doing something right. Is your business growing, yet you aren’t ranking any higher online? This is a telltale sign that you may need professional SEO help. Ideally, your web presence and search results should always be growing, no matter if your business is growing or not.

The biggest issue with growth comes on the technical side. If you reach a certain level of growth in your business, SEO can become much more complicated and technical. You will need to start analyzing the backend of your sites, performing tech, CRO, and competitor audits, and using metrics to track your goals. For bigger sites and businesses, SEO is more complicated than writing title tags and meta descriptions.

When your business and site become so large that you need to put together a more robust SEO plan, then you should consider partnering with an agency.

How Much Time Are You Spending On SEO?

In business, time is money. Unfortunately for the SEO DIY-ers, SEO can take up a good amount of time. It isn’t an overnight process; it will take a while until you start to rank higher and see noticeable results. So, when it comes to strategizing your SEO approach, you need to view your time as an investment.

Use Time Wisely

There is no way around it: doing your SEO work yourself will eat up more time than working with a marketing agency. Marketing agencies have entire teams dedicated to SEO work, and you won’t be able to match that production level or turnaround time if you’re working alone.

If you’re using the DIY SEO approach, sit down and evaluate just how much time you are dedicating to your efforts. Are you losing focus on doing what you do best (your business)?

Hiring a Dedicated SEO Employee

Those who don’t have the time to perform SEO work themselves but still want their operations to stay in-house oftentimes turn to hiring an SEO expert for their team. For many businesses with an already strong marketing presence, this can be a great idea and a good way to keep everything consistent across your site. But, it doesn’t necessarily make for a quick (or even economically smart) fix.

For roughly the same price as hiring a full-time employee, you can partner with an agency and have access to an entire team of SEO professionals and expert web developers. Most agencies (like us) work with you to create a custom plan, meaning you can have different levels of partnerships.

If you would rather spend your (and your employee’s) time focusing on the intricacies of your business, partnering with an agency is your best bet.

How Much of Your Budget Is Going Online?

Depending on your business, the way you spend your marketing and advertising budget can vary. Some people prefer to spend their money on traditional forms of advertising, such as print, TV, or radio. But, other businesses (especially those with strong websites) have begun to lean heavily on digital marketing tactics, like pay-per-click ads, social media, and SEO.

If you are spending over 50% of your marketing budget online, then you probably want to consider partnering with an agency.

These days, it’s smart to invest more of your marketing budget online; more and more people believe that it’s a more effective option than other platforms. Since you’re throwing in a considerable amount of money to your online marketing efforts, you want to make sure that you are getting the best results possible. The only way you can ensure your website is getting the best results it can is by partnering with a dedicated team of industry experts that will devote the time into making your site the best it can be.

How Up to Date Are You?

Google made 700 algorithm changes last year. Have you been keeping up?

The tricky thing about SEO is that it’s not exactly set in stone. Google is constantly evolving and learning new and improved ways to determine rankings and results pages. There also isn’t a “governing” SEO body. It can be hard to tell what is right, and no two companies are held to the same standards. With all of these updates happening daily, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with everything new happening if you are trying to do your SEO work yourself while still running every other aspect of your business.

Because Google is the first and last word in the world of search engines, it is important to work with somebody who understands the intricacies of the inner workings. Our SEO team is dedicated to keeping our finger on the pulse of Google and its ever-changing algorithms. We are in constant discussions of the latest and greatest ways to make an impact online, and we work hand-in-hand with our content team to make sure that our creative strategy agrees with the best Google practices.

Should You Trust “Personal SEO Coaches?”

Because SEO is a relatively new industry, it has created many jobs and businesses just on its own. Nowadays, many people offer “personal SEO coaching”, in which they single-handedly manage all of your business’s SEO needs. While this may seem like a more affordable and personal alternative to hiring an agency, make sure you take everything they say with a grain of salt.

Oftentimes, these personal SEO coaches do more harm than good. Since they don’t have a whole team behind them, they can’t deliver the results that a full-fledged agency can. Many of these coaches also rely on what’s called “black hat SEO.” Black hat SEO tactics focus only on the search engines and not the human audience, and oftentimes do not obey the guidelines established by Google.

An example of a black hat SEO tactic is stuffing your website with keywords on the bottom of the page, but then changing the color of text so that it matches the background, rendering it invisible.

While this may seem like a good way to get extra page views and rank higher on the Google results page, it simply isn’t worth the risk. Google is putting less emphasis on keywords and more emphasis on content relevancy. They are looking for pages that answer the user’s questions, meaning that writing quality content is much more important than the quantity of keywords. Not to mention, if Google catches you using these black hat tactics, they will penalize you by “de-indexing” you. De-indexing is when Google drops your website from their results pages (see 15 other ways that you can be de-indexed in this article).

Work With the SEO Experts

Can you do your own SEO work yourself? Absolutely. You can research keywords, install the Yoast plugin to your website, and call it a day. If you have the time, dedication, and the knowledge, then DIY SEO is possible.

But, working with a digital marketing agency will always be advantageous. You will be working with a team that can develop a strategic plan in place for your site, saving you from hours of guesswork.

If you do decide that you want to work with an agency, you should look no further than Rocket55. We have a team of thought-leaders and industry experts that will treat your website and your business as if it were our own. SEO is something that is built over time; it is by no means an overnight process. If you aren’t getting the results you need, reach out to our SEO team and get started growing your business’s online presence today!


About the Author

Josh Volk

VP of SEO

Josh Volk has spent the last 10 years as an SEO Strategist, meaning he has had a first-hand seat to witnessing the booming growth of search engine optimization. Beginning his career at a startup in downtown Minneapolis, Josh worked his way from building backlinks and writing copy to heading the SEO department at Rocket55. At Rocket55, Josh oversees the SEO department and assists them in handling technical SEO, local SEO, and keyword optimization for clients’ websites. Josh is Rocket55’s main point person for all things related to SEO and digital marketing engagement. When he’s not doing SEO work, Josh enjoys touring breweries across the country and learning about cars.