Ranking well on search engines like Google and Bing can undoubtedly provide huge benefits for your business. While every business covets first page rankings and free, organic traffic – it’s getting increasingly harder and harder to obtain.
Many small business owners are now forced to resort to hiring a professional SEO company to keep them in the game. In our previous article, we covered the basics of SEO – What it is, why it’s important, and how it works. In this article, we want to discuss whether or not you really need a professional SEO company to get your website ranking.
To Hire an SEO or to Do It Yourself?
There are a variety of factors to consider when determining whether or not you should perform SEO yourself or to hire a professional SEO company. Here are some things to consider:
SEO Takes a LOT of Time
SEO itself can be a full-time task. As a small business owner, the first question you should ask yourself is, “Do I have enough time for performing SEO myself?” It takes a lot of time to learn SEO and you’ll need to decide what’s the best way to divvy up your already busy schedule.
For example, if your business already demands a lot of your time, it may be better to focus on your business itself and hire an SEO to assist you and reduce your workload. However, if you’re willing to work later in the evenings, earlier in the mornings, or whenever you have some free time, doing SEO yourself can save your business a lot of money – which brings us to the next thing:
Can You Afford an SEO Company?
Working with an SEO company will undoubtedly save you a lot of time, but it will also cost money. You’ll need to determine if your business has a budget for SEO. If you’re not able to afford hiring an SEO, then you’ll be forced to do it yourself.
Keep in mind that ranking well on search engines can significantly increase your business’ revenue, which may very well justify spending more now to hire an SEO. You’ll need to determine how much your business can afford and what extra income you could possibly generate by ranking better.
Your Specific Business & Competition Levels
Another thing to consider is your specific business. Every business is different and will have different SEO goals. Some businesses operate in a niche that is extremely competitive and far more difficult to rank while other businesses may operate in a less competitive niche with far less competition. The area your business targets is another factor.
Do you sell a product or service that is offered nationwide or do you only sell locally? Ranking in a small town for a local business will naturally be easier than ranking for a search term competing nationwide. If you’re a local business with low competition, you may be able to succeed by doing SEO yourself. However, if your competition level is extremely high, you’ve got a lot of work ahead and are going to need to hire a professional SEO company.
Your Knowledge of SEO & Following Best Practices
Another thing to consider is your knowledge of SEO. Do you know a lot about SEO or are you just sort of dabbling into it? Search engine optimization can be risky and optimizing your website with the wrong SEO tactics has consequences. Some search engines (primarily Google) are constantly changing their algorithms and reevaluating what it “likes” and what it “doesn’t like.”
If your website is not up to par with what Google wants, they can penalize your website, strip your website from their SERPs, and crush your business almost instantly. Potentially at that point, your business name wouldn’t even show up – even if a customer searches for your exact brand name!
Take, for instance, BMW. The automobile giant was deindexed completely from Google for a few days in 2006 after it was found cloaking links. Interflora, a flower retailer, was hit with a one-month deindexing in 2013 after hiding links in advertorials. Famously, travel site Expedia was hit with a rank penalty in 2014 after over-saturating anchor text and other SEO tactics now frowned upon. For larger businesses with more popular websites, the recovery process is a bit easier. But for small business owners, this can be devastating.
This is why you really need to know your SEO and stay up to date with the latest SEO best practices. Google alone has over 200 different factors on how a page ranks. While professional SEO companies don’t even know them all, they do have experience and can make an educated guess. A good SEO company will also know and adhere to all of Google’s rules and avoid wrong SEO tactics. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, performing SEO yourself can have negative consequences and it is better to hire a professional.
So, do you really need an SEO company? That’s up to you. A larger business will likely say yes, but a small business may decide to forge their own road and do it themselves. Performing SEO yourself is still entirely possible – if you have the time, the right tools, and the savviness of learning and implementing the best SEO practices. If you decide that performing SEO yourself is too much, then be sure to read our next article on knowing what questions to ask before hiring.
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