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By: Amy Merrill, Page One Power

For large companies with a comparable budget, SEO strategy can be a bit of a no-brainer as far as deciding to hire a link building company or content creation service. Small and medium sized businesses have far more difficult decisions facing them when it comes to determining what search engine optimization strategy will work best for their business and their pocketbook.

Know Your SEO Options

Not all SEO has to be implemented by an outside company. Often, in-house SEO is just as vital to a company’s success as outsourced SEO can be. That isn’t to say you should tackle it all on your own though.

In-house SEO often is best at on-page optimization—meaning SEO related specifically to the company’s website, whereas an SEO firm generally excels in off-page SEO—more specifically, link building. The resources available to an outside SEO firm allow for a group or team of people to work on your account. They are capable of more broad and comprehensive coverage as far as link building is concerned and they are able to take a more open look at the company’s needs.

In-house SEO is more cost effective, however, and can often work more closely with important internal departments like IT and product managers.

Unfortunately, though, if your in-house SEO quits for any reason, this can have a huge impact of your company. In the world of outsources SEO even if individuals working for the company quit, they have the ability to seamlessly continue work for your company.

Regardless of whether or not you decide to outsource or use in-house SEO or a combination, both on- and off-page SEO is essential and your SEO efforts will not be successful if attention isn’t paid to both.

SEO Is An Investment

Like other investments, immediate results are an unrealistic expectation, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be diligent in tracking in-house and outsourced SEO.

There are two common reasons small businesses struggle with driving traffic to their homepage and internal pages, or grow revenues following a blog or SEO campaign, and both are rectifiable

  1. The SEO company you hired isn’t the right fit for your companies needs.
  2. The in-house SEO implementation was poorly done or neglected.

How To Find a Quality SEO Firm

Do some independent research before making any hiring decisions. If you decide to outsource some help, check to see how successful that company has been in its own SEO endeavors.

  1. Check out how well that company is ranking in SERPS. SEO should be important for an SEO company, and if they’re good at what they do, it should be evident based on their company’s ranking. If they are stagnant or have a poor rank, what are the chances they will successfully increase yours?
  2. Look at their Google page rank. This shouldn’t be taken as the final word for any company. You should keep in mind that the Google page rank is a way of determining what the sites reputation is on Google, but doesn’t indicate how good of a site they are overall.
  3. You should be able to expect a quality company to offer to look over your website, although if you are working with in-house SEO as well, you may want to have the two touch base together as on-page SEO is generally handled by in-house. However, regardless of who is checking your site, they should offer a set of recommendations or potential strategies. Your current content should be evaluated and a clear content strategy should be developed.
  4. You should run from a company if they promise you a set number of links a week or month. Any reputable company will tell you it simply isn’t possible to promise a set number of links. When a link building firm works to acquire links, the process can be slow and it takes time to find relevant and high quality sites. You may feel swayed by a company that tells you it can provide a hundred links in a month compared to another company which promises to work diligently but can’t guarantee anything. However, you risk your reputation and the future of your website if you allow an SEO company to engage in what is now considered shady business practice to obtain links.
  5. Whoever you hire should utilize a variety of SEO practices. A well-rounded SEO approach will utilize a whole arsenal of tactics including content marketing, relevant directory listings, and white-hat links.

There is no formula or specific recommendation that can fit any business when it comes to SEO. A combination of in-house and outsourced SEO can often be the best solution, but it absolutely isn’t the only one. Take your time doing research about different companies and carefully check individual credentials when hiring anyone in SEO. Talk with various companies and compare possible strategies, and lastly, remember that on page optimization and off page optimization are both important and to skip one in favor of the other will not help your rankings in the long run.

 

Amy Merrill is a freelance SEO, online marketing, and blog optimization writer. Amy is currently working at Page One Power, an SEO company based in beautiful Boise, Idaho as a writer. She spends her free time working on her own blog posts and a variety of freelance articles.

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