If you own and manage a website, which all businesses should do these days, you need to be sure it is properly written, configured, and optimized for the search engines to crawl and rank it.
There are multiple options for handling your SEO:
- Put in the time to learn it yourself and hope for the best
- Hire a full time SEO / Search Marketing employee
- Bring in a freelancer to handle SEO for only the amount of time / tasks you need
- Hire a big SEO firm to execute on an enterprise caliber Search Marketing program
All of these come with associated costs. Those costs can be financial or time-based, but one way or another, you will be paying for the services. I always recommend you consider a freelancer first for many reasons. Let’s look at the top five reasons to go that route over the others.
Search Marketing is a Specialized Skillset
SEO is not something you can learn overnight. Most SEO professionals have been working on and studying SEO for years. And that experience is crucial to success.
If you have been watching what Google and the other search engines have done in the last decade, it puts all of their decisions in historical context. That context is paramount to interpreting actions today and predicting what will happen in the future. There is no shortcut here, just putting in the time to learn.
SEO also requires a special blend of skills. It is one of the true business / technical fields in the world today.The key is that your SEO support must know how to balance business objectives and metrics with technical nuts & bolts, and they need to also keep the user experience in mind. If you haven’t understood why SEO Copywriters are so well paid, this is the reason.
The ideal scenario is to find an SEO with marketing experience, but whom is technically savvy. Don’t assume that an ex-developer is a better answer just because they know the details of the technical side. Those types often struggle to understand business constraints, marketing goals, and metrics such as return on investment.
You Don’t Have Time To Keep Up
SEO isn’t just about putting in the time to learn the history of the industry. It changes every single day.
Google has admitted on multiple occasions that they make at least a minor tweak to their algorithms multiple times per week. You might find a Penguin refresh, the EMD (Exact Match Domain) update, and a Panda tweak all within 3-4 days of each other.
Unless your objective is to become an SEO yourself, it makes little sense to dedicate so much of your time to trying to keep up with Google’s antics. Leave it to someone who specializes in it.
It is the Most Cost Effective Option
Please excuse me as I use the old cliche “You get what you pay for”, but this is exactly how it works with Search Marketing. I hear from too many clients that they want rock bottom prices for SEO, SEM services, and Social Media strategy and execution. That’s great if you don’t care about the results. If you do, plan to pay fair market value.
So what is the most cost effective option at fair market value? Pretty simple…it’s hiring a freelancer for only the hours or projects you need. As for the other three options, here are the issues:
- The opportunity cost of trying to do it yourself is astronomical, and could actually cost you business.
- You could go with a full time employee, but that comes with overhead in the form of salary, benefits, management and training effort, having to invest in continually refreshing their skillset, and managing turnover if/when they decide to move on.
- Large SEO consultancies have a great deal of overhead themselves, and are likely to cost nearly as much or more than a full time employees. Good work will be expensive, and cheap support packages will disappoint you. Think large or regional advertising agency here, and you have a good idea of the cost structure.
Freelancers are available on a pay-as-you-go basis and are more likely to offer competitive rates for typical SEO tasks that can move the needle for your website. Hire only the effort you need, and leave the overhead for someone else to take on.
You Have a Business To Run
You chose to go into your field for a reason – you do what you do well. SEOs also do what they do well. If you learn enough to know how to evaluate an SEO, you can turn your attention back to running your business.
With the right freelancer supporting you, your online marketing program will get moving sooner rather than later. You benefit from a cost-effective way to advance your website. And you only have to invest in the activities you can afford. Everyone wins.
They Are More Motivated To Succeed
Freelance SEOs have to be very hungry to succeed. As a freelancer, you only eat if you work. And you only work if your reputation speaks for itself.
There are still too many Black Hat SEOs out there, but they are a dying breed. Every major change Google pushes live eliminates one or more of the loopholes that Black Hats have been capitalizing on for years. Today, you have to earn your SEO progress through discipline, hard work, and a small dose of patience. Anyone who tells you they can move the needle overnight is either lying or planning to skirt the system. Don’t expose yourself to that sort of risk.
Good freelance SEOs will push you in the right direction. They will avoid getting your website slapped or de-indexed altogether by Google. They will not recommend tricks and shenanigans, because their ongoing earning ability depends on it. They will work hard to leave a good impression on you.
Bottom line: they will work harder and smarter, and your business will reap the rewards.
Freelance SEO consulting is the best option for the vast majority of businesses today. Having spent time using external SEOs as a marketer, focusing on Search Marketing full time when managing an internal team, and also as a full time SEO Consultant, I have found that this is the most cost effective option on the market.
Before you contact a large SEO firm or start writing up a job description, drop me a line. I am positive you will find that a freelancer can better meet your needs without breaking your pocketbook.
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