Search engine optimization is one of the major keys to success with an online business, or with the online presence of a brick and mortar business. The majority of people start their search for information and for products by turning to their favorite search engine. Therefore, it is crucial to your online success to be found within those results – as close to the top as possible. The question remains however, does it make more sense to bring an SEO expert onto your staff, or to outsource your needs with a search engine optimization consultant?
Search engine optimization consulting involves analyzing a web site and modifying it or suggesting improvements so that is best identified by the major search engines. These search engines will catalog the site and match it with appropriate keyword phrases, creating a ranking index for every search term utilized by Internet users.
Whether you bring somebody onto your team or hire someone outside of your company, it’s important to realize that if you try to tackle these tasks by yourself you could end up in a world of trouble. For example, SEO for the inexperienced is very time consuming. Additionally, staying on top of the latest best practices takes more than studying up from a guide, you need a wealth of real, hands on experience to truly be effective. Finally, when running a promotional campaign such as a pay-per-click or PPC campaign, costs can quickly spiral out of control without professional oversight.
One of the first factors to focus on when choosing a search engine optimization specialist – whether in-house or outsourced – is the return you’re going to get on your investment. ROI has to be one of the key factors in any business decision, and your search engine strategy is no different. Since search engine traffic is free and it ideally directs potential customers who are actively looking for your products or services, acquiring prospects through SEO is one of the most cost effective and efficient ways currently available in the crowded, worldwide marketplace.
For a small or medium sized business, in the majority of instances, bringing in a consultant to handle your needs is going to be the better option. You can setup a monthly retainer or fee, a set amount of hours or particular projects or guidelines so you can keep costs directly in control, and ensure you only pay for what you need and in turn, receive. Hiring a consultant is a flexible way of achieving your SEO goals without bringing on a large, fixed cost regardless of your changing needs. An SEO consultant can also work well with your existing marketing team and any web designers or service providers you may have already hired.
However, for some large businesses bringing on an SEO person or team can certainly make sense. If you have tons of content on your website or websites, want to dive into the world of social networking with a big splash on all of the major communities, are running multiple PPC campaigns and so on, there will be too much work for a single consultant to easily handle. In this case, it will be cheaper and more efficient to have a dedicated staff taking care of your SEO management and online marketing needs.
Before you make a decision on bringing on a full time employee or hiring an SEO consultant, consider your various needs and objectives. The majority of companies can satisfy their desires with a consultant that handles monthly or quarterly projects, but a few large companies may need a dedicated team in house. Be sure to make the right choice, and you’ll reap the rewards of one of the most effective and ROI-efficient forms of customer acquisition ever created.