Search engine optimization, often shortened to SEO, is one of the most significant aspects of digital marketing in today’s business arena.
While you might have a basic understanding of SEO, can you safely say that you know enough about it to deliver fantastic results on your own? For most business owners, the answer is a hard ‘no.’
But before you start looking at your in-house talent pool or begin filling out job listings, you should know that it’s a much better investment to find an SEO specialist outside of your office.
Keep reading to find out why hiring an outside specialist might just be the best investment your business makes this year.
What is SEO?
If you ask 10 different marketing experts to describe SEO, you’ll get 10 different answers. As a frame of reference, we’ll work off of Webopedia’s definition, as it’s the most succinct and comprehensive.
As they point out, SEO is the process of using certain techniques and optimization methods to better one’s web presence, with the ultimate aim of raising visibility on search engines like Google.
SEO is an umbrella term that can encompass methods like:
- Web design
- Mobile functionality
- Keyword research
- Image tagging
- Metadata creation
- URL structuring
- Site mapping
- Social media optimization
- Reputation building
And if you can believe it, that’s only the beginning. Learning even the basics of SEO can take years to master. That’s time that most businesses just don’t have.
Why Does SEO Matter?
There’s an old marketing joke that speaks to the importance of SEO: Where’s the best place to hide a body? On the third page of Google!
While the joke is a slight exaggeration, the fact of the matter is that higher-ranking sites generate the most traffic. The top position on Google alone generates 33% of all search traffic for a given query.
Therefore, if your website isn’t on the first page, there’s a good chance your customers won’t find it at all.
Moreover, better results correlate to stronger consumer trust.
Think about your personal search habits for a moment. What are you more likely to believe: the top result on a search engine or a result a few pages back?
For your customers, the choice is clear. They want trustworthy answers and they want to find them quickly.
Speaking of which, your customers use search engines to enhance their lives. Whether it’s seeking out a restaurant, finding info on a product, or researching a company, most people turn to a search engine for help.
As of last year, 73 billion phone calls resulted from customers searching for a business on Google.
Search engines are powerful, and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.
Reasons to Hire an SEO Specialist
With a better grasp of SEO and its significance, let’s turn our attention to how you can change your company’s position with the help of a specialist.
Though a specialist may seem like a tough investment at first, we’re confident that you’ll agree with our reasoning here.
As the saying goes, time is money. And since there are only so many hours in a workday, it’s vital to use your time in the most efficient ways possible.
Trust us, going through the process of hiring an employee is far from the most efficient method.
The average job search lasts for several weeks. And that’s if you’re lucky.
If your listings don’t yield the strongest candidates, you’ll spend even more time poring over resumes and interviewing potential marketing team members.
That’s weeks that you could spend on other, more pressing projects that demand your time.
By partnering with an agency, you’ll meet with a team that comes with receipts. They’ll be ready to show you how they’ve changed other businesses, and how they can use that same expertise to change yours.
2. Poor SEO Is Worse Than No SEO
That might sound like an exaggeration, but the truth is that poor SEO is far more damaging to a company than having no concept of SEO at all.
So what makes some SEO ‘poor?’ It’s all about the strategies.
In the world of SEO, there are two camps of methodology: white hat and black hat SEO. And make no mistake, there’s a world of difference between the two.
White hat SEO utilizes the methods mentioned in our first section. Practices like practicing user-friendly web design or researching keywords. These are tried-and-true, search engine approved methods.
Black hat SEO, on the other hand, is far more devious. It uses deception and tricks to raise a site’s ranking.
Content scraping, for instance, is a major element of black hat SEO. This is the practice of stealing content from another website and posting it as your own.
There’s also keyword spamming, which is all too common, despite Google’s repeated efforts to make site owners see the light. You may have come across these articles before. The ones where they use a keyword in every other sentence.
Not only does it look bad, but spamming is ineffective and certainly doesn’t help build your website’s library of content.
Finally, black hat SEO makes use of a system called cloaking, which is the process of hiding links throughout your text.
All of these methods are to be avoided at all costs. And by partnering with an SEO agency, you can rest assured that you won’t have to put up with any of these tricks.
3. A Specialist Can Help Your Business Recover
Black hat SEO isn’t only a bad practice. It can result in some serious consequences for your business.
If your company is caught utilizing black hat strategies, your website can suffer a penalty like lowered search rankings, or worse, complete de-indexing, which removes your site from an engine entirely.
As scary as that sounds, the good news is that it’s never too late to turn things around. While you’ll still have to serve your digital sentence, an agency can help you recover from your troubling prior efforts.
4. You’ll Save Money
Hiring some outside help for your SEO needs might not seem like a way to save money. But it’s quite a bit more affordable than hiring a new team member or even training your existing employees.
For starters, consider the cost of onboarding. The average cost-per-hire sits at around $4,129. And that’s for a single employee.
You’ll likely need to bring on at least two or three more employees if you’re attempting to turn your SEO efforts around for the better.
However, that’s only the beginning. You’re also on the hook to cover benefits that can run your company thousands of extra dollars per year.
With an agency, you’re paying for only what you need — great SEO services.
You can take that extra money and reinvest it back into your business.
5. You’ll Gain a Better Understanding of Your Market
One of the first things an agency will do is speak with you about your current stance in the market. Often, that means bringing a market research report that includes information on your past performance, as well as what your competitors are up to.
This information alone can be game-changing.
With a sense of where your competition is heading, you can beat them to the punch, winning over new customers in the process.
6. No Need to Worry About Changes
One of the trickiest aspects of SEO is that it changes. Often, several times per year, at that.
Keeping up with each change and what it means for your digital presence is a full-time job in and of itself!
Leave it to your partners. While you’re running your business, they’re keeping up with the latest trends so your website will stay in Google’s good graces.
7. They Can Spark Positive Buzz
Reputation is everything. That’s never been truer than in the age of the user review.
Websites like Yelp, Facebook Business Manager, and YellowPages.com specialize in helping customers find local businesses. As you likely know from experience, one of the first things they’ll see upon finding a business is its user review score.
While user reviews might not seem like a big deal, customers rely on them to help with purchasing decisions. It’s up to you to keep up with these influential conversations about your business.
SEO specialists know how to list and manage businesses on search engines, update pages, and most importantly, handle user reviews be they positive or negative.
How your company handles a negative review can be a make or break difference, so don’t risk losing a customer over one bad experience.
8. Specialists Link You Up with the Right Links
A higher ranking means greater authority. At least, according to search engines.
A large part of establishing yourself as an industry expert comes from your link-building strategy.
Backing up your claims with evidence helps build relationships with other brands, makes your content more informative, and ultimately boosts your traffic. It’s a win-win scenario for your business and your audience.
9. They Know How to Generate Leads
What good is an SEO campaign if it doesn’t deliver sales?
Proper SEO is designed to strengthen your sales funnel, driving visitors through the buyer’s journey and helping you find new clients. Of course, if it were that easy, everyone would do it.
Specialists know how to guide your customers through your sales funnel in organic, honest ways, that end with happier customers and stronger sales.
Your partners know what to do and how to do it so that you get results in a timely manner.
10. You’ll Enjoy Long Term Success
An agency worth its salt is concerned about more than the here and now. The right fit for your business is an agency with a vested interest in your success, whether it’s today, tomorrow, or 10 years from now.
By teaming up with an agency today, you’re not only helping yourself in the immediate future but future-proofing your SEO.
No more worrying about SEO updates or keeping up with trends like voice search. Let your new partners do the work for you for years to come.
Tips for Finding the Right Partner
By now it should be clear that an SEO agency is the best use of your money. Finding the right partner, though, can be a bit of a challenge.
Start by assessing your goals. What is it you want from your next campaign?
Get specific, as some agencies specialize in certain aspects of SEO like local optimization, reputation management, or content creation. Knowing what you want can help your new partners create an effective strategy in less time.
It’s also wise to pair with a specialist who has years of experience. Not only will a more experienced specialist deliver faster results, but they’ll have unique insight on industry shifts and trends that can help your business stay ahead of the curve.
Finally, make sure you’ve seen what they can do before teaming up. Most agencies offer a one-time free consultation or an SEO report as a sample of their work, so use this as an opportunity to gauge their work.
If possible, you should also ask to speak with past clients. An agency is only going to sell you the highlights, but a client will give you the real story.
Find Your SEO Partner Today
As technology continues to advance, SEO is only going to become a more important part of the business world. With the aid of an SEO specialist, your company can enjoy the top spot on Google, better sales, and greater customer trust.
We’d love to partner with you and your colleagues to help you grow your business. Get in touch today to see firsthand how we can help you grow.
By getting in touch and filling out a form, you’ll be eligible for a free, no-obligation consultation with our experts. We hope to hear from you soon!