If you want your website to be found — which is essential for websites to earn a profit — then you simply must rank well with search engines. Many tactics for improving your website’s search engine rankings exist, but in broad terms, there are three main SEO strategies:
1. Media Relations
By contributing press-worthy quotes, mainstream media will publish your quote and attribution, including your name and website.
2. Contribute Content
You can write articles, record podcasts, and create videos for blogs, forums, websites and mainstream media, including your brief biography and website.
3. Share Content
Share your website’s content on blogs, forums, and other social media to increase exposure, as well as comment on industry blogs and forums with occasional links to relevant content on your website.
These strategies, while effective, take significant time, so the question becomes this: Should you add this time-consuming task to your colossal to-do list or should you loosen your purse strings to outsource it?
1. Outsourcing Relieves Stress
This might be an obvious point, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Removing an item from your never-ending to-do list is certainly a plus. Not to mention that if you make SEO your responsibility, the work is never really done, and therefore, never officially off your task list. There are always more quotes to pitch to the media, more content to contribute, and more to share.
Even if you rank first in the search engines, you need to continue your SEO efforts to maintain your position. So the only way to remove SEO from your assignments is to outsource it.
2. Professional-Level Performance
Just because you can employ the aforementioned SEO strategies doesn’t mean you should. Professionals possess the knowledge, resources, and experience to perform the job faster and better than you. Assuming you outsource to a legitimate expert, you’re more likely to enjoy professional-level SEO success.
3. Outsourcing Frees Your Time
SEO is a time-consuming task. After selecting one of the many methods, you still must find quality websites to target and implement your strategy, which often requires developing some content. But if you outsource SEO, your time is freed up for the other demands of your business, such as obtaining more clients, creating content, marketing and brainstorming, and planning improvements.
1. Outsourcing Costs Money
Estimate how many hours it would take you to perform SEO tasks yourself and multiply that by how much an hour of your time is worth. Then compare that figure to how much it costs to outsource SEO. You may find that it’s actually more cost-effective to outsource, but if you’re just launching your business, you may not have the capital to spare.
2. There Are No Guarantees
If online marketing were as easy as throwing money at a service, then we’d all be millionaires. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will gain a satisfactory return on your marketing investment, even when you hire a professional.
Of course, not everyone who claims to be a professional SEO provider actually is. And even if you manage to find a high-quality and effective SEO service, there are no guarantees you will achieve and retain better rankings.
Hiring an SEO professional doesn’t eliminate the possibility that you could inadvertently sabotage their efforts. For example, you could pay professionals to target keywords that are too competitive or unprofitable, or keywords that produce minimal traffic. Or you could over-optimize your anchor text and buy your way right into a search engine penalty. Truly effective SEO service providers will recognize and correct these errors, but the cheapest freelancer on Fiverr probably won’t.
3. SEO Is Unpredictable
Granted, some universal SEO principles are here to stay, but search engine algorithms and methods continue to change. So even if a professional is able to improve your search engine rankings today, they may fall tomorrow thanks to new SEO rules.
Unfortunately, the best SEO experts can’t produce immediate results—so a few months may pass (and several invoices may be paid) before you are able to determine their efforts are not improving your rankings.
Ultimately, investing in an SEO service is a gamble. You’re gambling your money on a service in hopes your search engine rankings will improve. But like any gamble, you can better your odds by educating yourself — understand SEO and stay abreast of the latest trends and news.
Before you officially roll the dice with outsourcing, examine your personal situation. Does your child’s college fund depend on your business’ success? Do you have other startup costs that should take priority? Are your other marketing efforts already yielding satisfactory results? Only you know your situation, and only you can determine what’s best for your company and goals.
Photo by Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Simon Slade is CEO and co-founder of Affilorama.