DIY SEO vs. Hiring an SEO Agency: The Definitive Guide
Should you hire an SEO company or try to do SEO yourself for your company’s website? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each approach.
Category: Search Engine Optimization | Tags: Content Strategy, conversion rate optimization, guide, SEO
What Does SEO Do?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of utilizing multiple tools to rank a website higher on search engine results pages (SERPs), bringing more organic, qualified leads to a business.
SEO is hugely beneficial to businesses with an online presence. SEO not only increases brand awareness, but also supplies useful, trackable data to continually improve the user experience of a site, converting to more goal completions.
Should I Hire an SEO Company or Can I Do SEO Myself?
While anyone can do their own SEO, it can be a daunting task. An SEO agency like Avalanche completes the keyword research necessary for higher rankings, and then follows up every month with specialized reports to ensure the traffic coming to the site is not only growing, but resulting in a quantifiable action (an appointment booking, sale, contact entry form, etc.).
What Does Good SEO Look Like?
- On and off-page work, including website restructuring for optimum usability
- Long-tail keywords resulting in specific searches
- Reputable backlinks
- Strong metadata
- Clear, data-derived headlines
- Intent-driven content
- Regular market-driven and search engine-based updates
DIY SEO: How to Do SEO Yourself
There’s more to SEO than identifying a few keywords and adding them to every page of your website. To really do SEO yourself, you’ll need to complete a variety of time-intensive tasks, such as:
- Choosing a good CMS: It can be difficult to find a practical, user-friendly, and SEO-friendly content management system (CMS). Certain platforms don’t allow necessary SEO functions, like customizable navigation, image alt tags, and meta tags. With tons of helpful SEO-based plug-ins, WordPress is a popular powerhouse CMS.
- Conducting keyword research: One of the most important parts of any SEO audit and ongoing strategy is locating and utilizing the keywords your intended audience is using to search for your product or business.
- Writing blog content: Using the relevant keywords you identified, write meaningful, educational, interesting articles that benefit your audience and help your page rank higher.
- Setting up a Google Business Profile: If you aren’t already using this free software, get your business on it, stat. GBP (formerly known as Google My Business, or GMB) will show you what people are searching to find your business and track metrics like phone calls and direction requests. Setting up link tracking is an important and easy way to collect more data about user intent.
- Creating a contact form on your website: This is where your leads will reach out to you to inquire about your services. Your call to action should offer the next step for the customer, and it will often be submitting a contact form.
- Adding metadata to all pages and posts: Metadata provides necessary information about the web page to search engines categorizing for relevancy. This process increases rankings and also helps the human searcher behind the computer. Meta tags, for example, give a brief but applicable preview to the link on the SERPs. These include titles and descriptions with character limits, keeping the information short and sweet, perfect for skimming eyes.
- Optimizing images: Captivating visual content sets a great website apart from a good one. Compressing high-quality images like a JPEG (or WebP) will result in a smaller file size and quicker load time. What does that mean for you? Happy customers that don’t have to wait to see what great information you’re providing them.
- Using alt text: The short description that appears with your photos can and should be modified for a few reasons. It increases accessibility for visually impaired searchers using screen readers and provides additional information to search engines. Keep alt text brief and to the point with just enough contextual information—and don’t forget the keywords.
What SEO Companies Do
Interested in SEO, but not ready to jump in with a DIY approach? We don’t blame you. SEO needs to be done right to be worth doing at all. Here are just a few services you can expect to benefit from if you choose to work with an SEO agency.
Keyword-Driven Content Strategy
A keyword-driven content strategy means we take the time to find the hundreds of keywords that your customers (and future customers) are looking for, and then we use those to boost you to the top of the search page.
After researching the phrases most relevant to your business, we create meaningful information through web pages and articles to provide empathy-driven content that not only shows up on Google, but also converts to goal completions like more leads, sales, bookings—you name it. We skillfully craft metadata that gets you ranking higher and connecting with people looking for your services.
This important aspect of on-page SEO work includes user experience (UX), site design, and page speeds. No one wants to wait more than a few seconds for a page to load. A page that pops up lightning fast and is laid out in a helpful but also aesthetically pleasing way will result in a better UX.
Another aspect of technical SEO is the sitemap. An SEO agency can build this key framework with SEO principles in mind, ensuring that your website is built to rank from the ground up.
A little competition is healthy. It is also useful when it comes to SEO. Knowing what keywords your competitors are ranking for through competitor analysis gives incredibly valuable insight into what categories you are crushing and which need attention ASAP.
The goal of competitor analysis is not to copy what your competitors are doing, but to be informed of the market overall and adapt your strategy to perform even better.
One of the off-page tactics to SEO, link building (inserting hyperlinks to your pages) establishes credibility to a site by referencing other notable, reputable pieces of content. This could be an article or relevant study supporting your stance. The authority of the page is important, so make sure to vet content you are linking to and only do so if they would benefit to someone reading your page.
Managing a Google Business Profile is essential if you are a local business. Whether someone is searching on Google or Google Maps, searchers will see your industry categorization, address, phone number, hours, and reviews. An SEO agency can make sure your profile is updated regularly to reflect your holiday hours or other significant changes.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
CRO is designed to get users to take more actions on your site, leading to more goal completions. Maybe you are seeking large conversions, like a product sale or service booking, or smaller conversations, like an email subscription or contact form submission. A single, simple pop-up can provide a quick and easy way to achieve any goal.
A CRO campaign is a way to test and track which methods are working and which are not. After an audit to discover site barriers that are preventing conversions, SEOs examine the different pathways a user can take on your site, where they end up, and what they do when they get there.
Analytics & Tracking
Without analytics and tracking, you’ll never know if the hard work being put into SEO is worthwhile. Monthly reports from platforms like Google Data Studio provide extremely helpful, page-specific information that confirms if and how SEO is contributing to more leads.
DIY SEO vs. SEO Agency: Pros & Cons
Do It Yourself SEO
- Cost effective: Keeping the SEO work in-house will save you money.
- Time consuming: There are many steps that are integral to the success of SEO. Taking the time to learn the necessary skills that comprise each step can be an entire full-time job in itself.
- Requires specific skills and expertise: Consistently performing SEO relies on the work of many people with different skill sets, including web developers, SEOs, and content writers. Extensive, specific experience means a more well-rounded site, resulting in higher SERP rankings.
- Constant maintenance: Search engines are always updating and changing. Because of this, SEO site work needs to be adjusted regularly.
- Limited free SEO tools: SEO agencies utilize industry standard software, which isn’t cheap. Free SEO tools lack the depth and analytical reporting needed to make a significant impact.
Hiring an SEO Agency
- Experts in charge of each aspect of SEO: Specialized positions means every part of your SEO is done by someone who doesn’t just know what they’re doing—they’re dedicated to their craft, day in and out. Web developers, SEOs, and writers work cohesively to create educational content your audience will look forward to while your site rank increases.
- Professional-level SEO tools: The complexity of the softwares we use takes months to learn and years to master, but provides the ability to perform the highest quality development, research, and reporting.
- Set up website right: A site audit and subsequent sitemap play huge roles in your site’s UX.
- Track your progress: One of our clients’ favorite reports includes a metric comparison from “One Year Ago Today.” The ability to quantifiably measure progress means you will always see and understand the value of the time and money put into SEO.
- Optimize old content: Times change, and content goes out of style. An SEO agency works to revamp and rewrite already published content to rank for relevant terms and better serve your audience.
- Little to no time commitment (focus on your company!): As we said earlier, committing to an SEO process is a tedious one, and you already have a lot on your plate. With initial and ongoing SEO processes, and even more time for reflecting on analysis, an agency takes care of everything, supplying you with detailed, easy to understand reports and a plan to adjust as needed along the way.
- Maintenance and support: Your website needs to stay updated to serve both your clients and SERPs. We are here for you every step of the way with answers, suggestions, and strategies to stay on the top of the page.
- Cost: A specialized SEO agency is not like a free SEO tool, but the ROI is much higher.
- Hard to find a good company: Finding a company that is communicative, people-driven, creative, dedicated, knowledgeable, and data-focused is not easy. Luckily, you’re reading this article, and we know of a pretty great SEO agency we can recommend.
Get Started with SEO
We are excited to help your business grow with our research- and empathy-driven SEO. Reach out today to learn more about our process and begin increasing your leads.
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