Yesterday, I was reading a how-to guide produced by the Iowa Get Your Business Online! initiative. (I enjoy reading and comparing SEO-related beginner’s guides – yes, weird, I know.) This guide covers areas such as how to create a website using Intuit’s website platform, how to drive traffic to the site, and how to be “found in your town” (via Google Places).
Of course, I was especially interested to hear what they had to say about SEO. A lot of times, SEO is an afterthought when creating a website. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard: “I’ll contact you when our site is up and running.” (but that’s material for a different post).
When I got to the SEO section, I was very pleased by the content. The guide points out that you can certainly do SEO on your own, as skill and time allows (which we advocate as well), but also talks about the option of hiring an SEO professional:
If you don’t have the time or the skill set internally (don’t feel bad, many small businesses don’t), then hire a professional SEO provider. Think of it as an investment, not an expense. A successful SEO effort will pay its own way — and a lot more — in better sales and profits.
SEO professionals have gotten a bad rap over the past decade or so, and it’s nice to see Google & Co defending the profession.
So without further ado, here are the top ten reasons to hire an SEO professional:
1. SEO Is Always Evolving
Google changes their algorithm (rules for which webpages to display for a given search query – by a given individual, in a given location) on a daily basis. Yep, your heard me right: On. A. Daily. Basis.
That is a lot to keep up with. In fact, there are companies who spend most of their time testing different SEO techniques to figure out what works and what doesn’t work. Fortunately, they share this information with the SEO professionals community through blog posts, videos, and infographics. We read about SEO every day, which brings us to #2:
2. Save Time
Being an SEO professional requires a lot of reading, testing, reading, and testing some more. This is on top of writing blog posts, doing keyword research, being social, and hitting up web masters for the latest link building campaign.
If you are a small business owner, my guess is you’re already strapped for time, and trying to keep up with all the nuances of SEO seems like a daunting task. It’s OK. If you hire an SEO professional, you won’t have to spend your precious time reading blog posts until your eyes bleed. (Except for this one, of course…)
3. You Hate Computers
SEO does involve computers. Some of it involves messing around with the structure of your website and other web-master related activities. It also involves a lot of writing – on the computer. In addition, you have to measure the traffic to your website, the conversion rates, and make updates accordingly. All on the computer.
If you’re not ready fully to embrace computers, hiring an SEO professional is a good idea.
4. Cover All the Bases
A lot of thought goes into SEO. The search engines (like Google and Bing) take hundreds of factors into consideration when deciding which webpage is the most relevant to a given query. These factors have different importance.
Bottom line: It’s easy to miss problems that may impact SEO.
We recommend our comprehensive SEO Audit as a first step in any SEO effort to ensure that all the bases are covered.
5. You Want Quality SEO Work
There’s no getting around it: An SEO professional is more likely to do quality SEO work than an amateur. Why? Because they’ve done it before, they’re up to date on all the latest best practices, and it’s their freakin’ job!
If you’re a glass blower, you’re probably going to do a much better job at blowing glass than somebody who is just trying it for the first time. This is pretty much true for any profession. Makes sense, right?
6. Social Media Is Overwhelming
Social media (think blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, FourSquare) is becoming increasingly important for SEO. We believe search engines take into consideration the number of social shares a given webpage has, and social media is a great way to attract people to your website.
Putting a well-designed social media strategy in place is a good first step, but it may seem like an overwhelming task. Getting some help with your social media strategy is a great use of your SEO dollars. Even beyond the strategy, you may consider hiring a third party to manage your social media life (so you can have more time for your social life offline!).
7. Focus On Your Strengths
If you’re an awesome business coach, flute player, acupuncturist, plumber, etiquette consultant, or dentist and can charge gazillions of dollars for your services (or any amount of dollars), it probably makes sense for you to focus on what you do best and hire somebody else to handle SEO.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi developed the concept of “flow,” which is that wonderful situation when you get so absorbed in what you’re doing that you forget the world around you. Flow is achieved when you are sufficiently challenged and have the skills to handle the task. A situation where your skills don’t match the challenge leads to stress and anxiety.
Hopefully your profession enables you to be in the flow on a regular basis. If working with SEO doesn’t cause you to be in the flow, it’s time to hire an SEO professional. We don’t want you to be more stressed than necessary!
8. SEO Is a Great Investment
Back to the quote which was my inspiration for this post: SEO is a great investment. Why? The work that you put into your website to help search engines find it relevant to given search queries lasts forever. A well-written, link-worthy article lasts forever. A great URL structure lasts forever. Easy-to-use navigation lasts forever.
Compare this to a PPC campaign where you pay $1,000 in January and have to turn around in February and pay $1,000 again to continue to get the same results. (This is not to say that there’s not a place for PPC, but it shouldn’t be your only search engine marketing strategy!)
SEO just makes sense.
9. SEO Professionals Are Fun
At least we are! 🙂 The point is that SEO professionals are rarely stuffy and have a good sense of humor. Maybe it’s a survival-mechanism, but the reason doesn’t really matter.
If you don’t believe me, check out this cartoon.
You’ll be laughing your way through your next SEO project!
10. You’d Like to Sell More
Yep. This is a good one. Think of your website as a 24/7 salesperson who never sleeps and doesn’t use up half the T&E budget. Sounds pretty awesome! The thing is, if potential customers can’t find the relevant webpage on your site, you’re not going to see huge sales figures.
The main point of SEO is to help searchers on Google and Bing find your webpages, click on the link to go to your site, and complete the desired action once they get there. Not something you can live without, really…