Search Engine Optimization: When to DIY and When You Should Hire a Specialist

SEO: when to diy and when to hire a specialist

SEO is an essential part of your businesses online presence, but it can be really tricky to navigate. Do you have someone in-house do it? Do you outsource? What about a budget? Consider this your ultimate guide to knowing how and when (and if!) you need a SEO specialist or you can do it yourself.

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What Are the SEO Basics That You Can Probably DIY?

  • Optimize each page on your site around 1 keyword
  • Basic keyword research to plan new blog topics
  • Secure your site with an SSL certificate
  • Audit your site for broken links (then fix them!)
  • Claim and fill out your Google My Business profile

What are the SEO Things You Probably Can’t Fix Yourself?

  • Your blog posts aren’t getting much (or any) organic traffic
  • You’re not sure which keywords to include on which pages
  • You haven’t run a technical audit recently (or ever? gasp!)
  • You’re trying to rank in a competitive industry

So, Should You Hire an SEO Specialist?

Let’s ask the data! Here’s how you can find out if your DIY SEO is good enough:

  • Do each of your pages & blog posts have focus keywords that you researched?
  • Check Google Search Console – is your Average Ranking in the top 10 for those keywords?
  • Is your organic traffic in Google Analytics growing each month?

If you answered no to any of the above, or if you don’t know how to check for any of those things… you probably want to consider hiring an SEO specialist.

How Do You Hire an SEO Specialist?

Step 1: Decide What Type of Support You Need

Before hiring an SEO specialist you first need to decide what type of support your business needs. There are 3 main types:

Someone In-House

  • Pros: dedicated support
  • Cons: generally most expensive

An Agency

  • Pros: wealth of knowledge and resources, can often support you with more than just SEO for a more holistic marketing strategy
  • Cons: generally also quite expensive, and you’re often one in a roster of clients and depending on the size of the agency it’s not always the most individualized support

A Freelancer

  • Pros: often specialize in niche areas so you can find one who knows your industry inside & out, you often get individualized and dedicated support as they have a smaller roster of clients
  • Cons: depending on their expertise they can be sometimes narrow focused on SEO and not consider how SEO can complement other channels of your marketing strategy

Related: If you’re planning on hiring someone, you may want to check out our post on How to Find an SEO Consultant You Can Trust which includes what to look for, and questions you should ask them!

Step 2: Determine Your Budget for SEO

The question we’re asked all the time: How much do SEO services cost? The short answer: You get what you pay for, and it depends. The long answer… SEO is a long-game that requires ongoing maintenance. As a result, it will require investment if you want it done well.

When you hire an SEO agency or freelancer, they’ll often charge a setup fee to account for an in-depth audit, competitor research, and the work it takes to learn about your business, industry, and how you fit in the market. In Canada, this initial project can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000+ depending on how large your site is, your industry, and the scope of the setup project.

With that information they’re armed to present a strategy to you. Most companies work in an ongoing monthly retainer format to deliver the strategy (although some companies do offer different pricing models like performance based or hourly based packages). Again, the cost and size of the package will vary on your site and industry, but also on the level of support and whether they’re doing content development and SEO copywriting, or if it’s technical maintenance, or backlink building and PR. In Canada, these prices can range from $500 a month to $30,000 a month.

Whoever you decide to hire, be sure that they tie your SEO spend into clear performance metrics so you can calculate an ROI. This is one of the questions you’ll definitely want to ask when you’re sourcing out options.

The Founders of Akari Digital Discussing SEO Strategy for a Client

Step 3: Find the Right SEO Specialist for Your Business

There are 3 main things to pay attention to when hiring an SEO specialist:

Someone who understands your industry and product/service.

If they’re going to get in the head of your customers to find out what they’re searching in Google, they need to have a grasp on what you’re doing.

A strategy that is built from data and is measured by data.

SEO success comes from ranking on the first page (especially the first few spots) on the search results page for relevant keywords that bring organic traffic to the website. As the specialist or agency to bring a sample report from another client (even if they remove the client name) to show you how they report on the success.

Someone who can differentiate between keywords that will bring website traffic, and keywords that will drive conversions.

Not all keywords are created equal, and a big part of the art of SEO is not only finding keywords that have high search volume and getting the client to rank, but also considering which keywords will actually drive revenue.

Ready to Ditch the DIY and Have Your SEO Done-For-You?

We specialize in helping businesses grow with effective SEO & Content Marketing. Whether you want an Audit & Strategy to set you off on the right track, or a comprehensive strategy that drives traffic and conversions, we’re here to support you. Book a consultation with us to get started.

Get data-driven marketing insights and exclusive resources right to your inbox.

Don’t just market more. Market better. Get exclusive access to resources and insights that introduce you to the once-confusing world of data-backed marketing.

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