If you’re not focusing on SEO, you’re falling behind.
Every company now has to have a presence on the Internet, and they have to invest the time into making that presence rank on search engines. That’s a given these days.
It’s not hard to get a handle on the basics of search engine optimization, either.
There are tons of guides, columns, helpful hints, video and more floating around for those who want to take the time to study. Especially for startups, it’s easy to just focus on handling things in-house, doing the best you can with the resources you have available.
There comes a point of diminishing returns, though. Eventually your SEO will reach beyond the capacity you have to keep up with it in house. How do you know when to turn it over to the experts instead of handling it yourself?
1) You Don’t Have the Expertise to Do the Work
Not everyone is good at everything.
If you’re trying to do everything yourself, or only have a small team, it’s worth asking this question: “what’s the most effective allocation of my resources?”
You know why you’re in business. You know what you’re good at. You know what your team is good at. Calculate the hourly value of your time against what it would take you or your team to learn SEO and do it yourself, and you’ll see quickly that if you want a strategy that goes beyond the very basics it’s probably worth farming it out.
If you want to scale your business, you’ll have to let go of some things.
Look at LEGO—when they let go of some of the things they weren’t good at, then took their time and invested it in what they were actually good at, their profitability and sales absolutely skyrocketed.
Be like LEGO. Do what you’re good at.
2) You Don’t Have Enough Time to Keep Up With Changes
Maybe you do know a little bit about SEO. In that case, you’ve got other concerns—you still need to be concerned about how much time things take. Google’s obviously the 800-pound gorilla of the SEO space, and when it changes, everyone has to move to keep up.
And Google updates its algorithms 500 to 600 times per year.
Not all of those updates are major. But even if you only count major updates, Google changes up its algorithm about once a month. If you’re not willing to invest the time and resources it takes to follow those changes and adjust your website accordingly, it’s time to move on from doing it yourself.
One caveat to this: don’t naturally assume that just because you can’t keep up with the changes in SEO, you need to hire a big company.
According to Josh Steimle, founder of MWI, “The best ‘SEO firm’ for you might not be much of a firm. Bigger is not always better. The right SEO firm for you might be a guy working from his basement. Or it might indeed be the international SEO firm with 500 employees. Don’t write either one off automatically.”
3) You Don’t Have the Resources to Generate Backlinks
There’s one truism to SEO that you can’t shortcut, can’t find a way around, and will probably take the bulk of your time if you really want to plow resources into it:
Backlinks are the foundation of Google’s algorithm. If you’re not building them, you’re failing.
If you’re not building new links to your website constantly through a mix of evergreen content, constantly updated content and social media strategy, you’re going to have a bad time.
No matter how good your site structure is and how good your keywords are, if the niche is anywhere close to competitive you’ll never build up enough of a ranking without a strategy for backlinking.
That takes time and effort. It means working the phones, constantly putting out good social media, and creating consistent content that people want to read and share.
If you can’t do that, it’s time to farm it out.
4) Your SEO Is Making Your Website Worse
Maybe you know a little about SEO. But you’ve been seeing your website start to slide down the rankings, and you’re not sure why.
There are plenty of easy pitfalls that you can fall into if SEO isn’t your full-time focus.
Are you focusing on quantity of links over quality? Have you been adding new pages to your website in a haphazard way instead of focusing on clear organization? Is your social media stagnant, making the links you share worse?
You may not know. You may not have the time to diagnose. And if you don’t, it’s more cost-effective to hire someone to help than it is to mess around with it yourself and maybe make things worse.
5) You’re Paying Too Much
When you’re doing the work in-house, it can be easy to ignore the costs of trying to keep up with SEO. Try keeping track of your time. You might be surprised how much you’re spending in real money when you count up your hours.
Sometimes, hiring an outside firm is actually cheaper. Do your homework and see if it’s worth it.
Hiring an SEO expert is a step you should take if any of these points apply to you. If you’re not ranking, not getting the right results and want to focus on growing your company, try hiring an SEO company.
You’ll be glad you did.