SEO is one of the most important aspects for your organic growth. Search engines have proven, time after time, that it is one of the most effective sources for traffic on websites. You probably already know this and are reading this blog to make a decision based on your confusion about hiring an SEO agency. We are going to answer these questions for you.
Looking at SEO holistically, we have come up with 7 major factors involved in the decision-making process. We are going to discuss each factor and analyze scenarios, if you decide to perform SEO duties by yourself or choose an SEO agency. Let us know about the approach in the comments below.
7. Overall value addition
SEO is no easy feat, if you’re reading this blog you most probably would be aware of that. Your SEO efforts won’t be a small list of tasks. SEO efforts involve keyword research, identifying target audience queries, website design, clear website navigation, code, optimizing based on google algorithms, creating tons of content & the list can go on. This checklist is long, but time is limited.
DIY – You can definitely do this by yourself or with your marketing team as well, but if you are a small business, you most likely would not have those resources. Though, it is possible to build a foundation for your SEO efforts by creating an optimized web design, clear navigation, initial content based on your expertise, basic coding, etc.
Agency – An agency specializes in these tasks; it is their daily bread. An SEO agency handles these tasks for you and gets them done efficiently with their expertise in SEO. Hiring them would help you to focus on your business’ operational aspects. Agencies teams can help cater to their clients based on their respective requirements be it content, design, coding, etc.
The list of efforts we talked about earlier, well you must continuously maintain & occasionally update them as well. You have to keep track of trends & updates in search algorithms, keep up with your target audience’s behavioural changes, update your website, create consistent & effective content, generate backlinks & more to ensure an effective SEO strategy.
DIY – These tasks can take an ample amount of time. If you have a team or any marketing personnel, you can delegate these tasks, but small business owners have multiple tasks at hand, if your business’ operational tasks do not need higher time investment, then it is still possible to invest time in continuous SEO efforts. You can use tools like content calendar, Google analytics, Google search console, Quora, keyword planner, etc. to form an SEO strategy.
Agency – An SEO agency creates an action plan for your business and acts on that action plan with SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant & time-bound) goals derived by both you and the agency. The agency will use their respective framework to identify & solve your problems & gaps with their expertise and awareness of the importance of continuous efforts.
You might know by now looking at the number of tasks involved in achieving SEO success, that it is time consuming in nature. The amount of time to be dedicated towards SEO is at least 4–12 months to notice some changes in ranking efficient efforts are in place. For a business to notice significant efforts after this point, increase in time investment, content & backlink generation is very important.
DIY – With the existing amount of time devoted towards SEO you might have exhausted the resource; time is a resource you cannot generate in excess. At this point, your business is growing, that means you would need a team, or you will have to delegate the task to an external. Doing this on your own might stagnate your efforts or even see a decline.
Agency – An SEO agency can grow your business with their team of experts. Their only focus is to grow your business’s digital imprint. They don’t worry about other operational tasks associated with the business, unlike you, who has to juggle almost everything. This helps them to have laser focus towards your digital growth & higher return on investment.
It is one of the most important part of your SEO strategy. Creating quality content will help you build authority, answer target audience questions, educate them, generate leads, create backlinks, top-of-mind awareness, PR, tell your brand story, convey a message & set your brand’s tone. A content strategy framework is necessary to be successful, it is important to identify the target audience, understanding their behaviours, form of content (video, blog, newsletter), medium (social media, website, webinars) used to share it, & most importantly fresh, original & consistent content.
DIY – Content cannot be ignored at all. It helps your business to grow and build gradual authority in the industry and your market. Creating new content is not easy, it is time consuming, but if you know your customer or prospect customer well and can answer their questions, you can also create quality & relevant content for them. You must have a content strategy to ensure success. The increase in published content can lead to organic success.
Agency – An SEO agency can help you build a content strategy with their expertise. They have tools to research the industry and serve content targeting the consumer you wish to target. Based on this information, an SEO agency can produce effective and engaging content which is relevant for your audience.
Let’s address the elephant in the room. It is no secret that budget is one of the biggest constraints for growing companies. It is important to treat your business as an asset, where your growth is closely related to the investment in the company. The more time and money you invest the better your business gets over time. On average a B2B company should spend 2-5% of their budget on marketing and 5-10% for a B2C company. Your expenditure on marketing should gradually increase to grow in your respective markets based on your business growth and return on investment. This investment can further be categorized and divided into various aspects of your spend.
DIY – SEO can be low expenditure. Sometimes even free with tools like google analytics, keyword planner, search console. Expenditure increases when your business starts to grow, and your list of tasks keeps piling up. That’s when you will need paid tools like Semrush, Moz, Ahrefs, etc. if you decide to go solo. If you decide to grow your team in-house, you will have to hire marketing personnel to enhance your digital footprint.
Agency – Hiring an SEO agency is most definitely an expenditure, but this expense can get you a high return on investment. An agency has a team of SEO experts who walk & talk SEO, they work on your business to ensure digital growth. When you hire an SEO agency, you can use these tips. After your research, a budget can be agreed upon for the agency to develop an SEO strategy catered to your business.
6. Growth / ROI
There is no secret passageway which will direct you to SEO fame. To be successful in SEO, it takes time & effort at a constant. Digital success cannot be taken lightly especially after Covid-19, which changed most of the consumers & their habits around the world. Growth in SEO is hard to measure, most efforts would not have a quantitative value to measure (navigation, fixing broken links, keyword research, etc).
There are other ways to analyze growth. As we talked about, time needed to see adequate changes is 4-12 months. Within this period, you should have generated higher than before, leads, awareness, SERP ranking, domain authority & visitors. If not then, it’s time to switch up your process or amp up your efforts or fire your SEO agency.
DIY – Reflect upon the goals you have set for your business at the start of your SEO campaign. These goals can give you a comparison between ‘what you wanted’ vs ‘where you’re at’. If you’re close to what you wanted to achieve, kudos to you, just amp up your SEO efforts and perform a website audit. If you’re further from your goals, it’s time to switch your approach and invest more time & money into your business. Agency – Same as on an individual level, reflect on the goals decided with your SEO agency at the beginning of your partnership. If you have not seen desired results, have a chat with your agency to see what’s lacking. But keep in mind, this is your precious money if your agency is way off with their predictions and efforts, maybe it’s time to find another SEO agency who values your business as much as you do.
7. Overall value addition
Value in SEO is derived by digital success. Whichever stage of the buyer’s journey (awareness, consideration, decision) you are in, you can analyze value addition through respective end results.
It is considered as success within the awareness stage, if you see higher site visitors, higher authority, and improved Search rankings etc.
Higher engagement, inquiries, follows on social media, directs towards success in the consideration stage.
If you are able to generate higher sales, renewals, feedback, indicates success in the decision stage.
Once you start noticing traction in any stage, you should aim higher to push yourself more towards your business’ success.
DIY – Value addition is a holistic approach towards SEO, gauging value can show you where you stand and help you create an action plan based on the stage you are in. If you are not able to generate results, then reconsideration of your approach is highly recommended.
Agency – An SEO agency’s efforts can be tangible and intangible. The tangible efforts can help you analyze their performance and aid in making a decision regarding your future with them. For the intangible aspects you can ask for a report from your SEO agency.