That said, there are a few notable exceptions. Before getting into those, we should probably start at the beginning.
If you are a more established business new to the SEO game, here is a basic primer that will help get you up to speed.
The internet and social media is not just a passing fad for those pesky kids you keep telling to get off your lawn. It is also not a resource with speculative potential for the future.
The internet and social media have arrived. They are here, now, with the ability to make or break your business. Ignoring these resources ensures that the best days of your business are behind you.
But learning how to use this new medium is another lifetime worth of work. You have three choices:
- Try to do it yourself and figure it out as you go.
- Hire an in-house professional.
The first is a really bad option that should be dismissed out of hand. The second is a good option for some, but generally not the best. The third is far and away the best option for most companies, with a few exceptions. I will give you a few exceptions and in doing so, teach you the rule:
Money Is No Object
If you really don’t care how much money it costs, then there are a handful of reasons you may want to get the job done in-house.
First, you can more easily keep company secrets. When nothing is outsourced, nothing has to leave the conference room. Also, you can just find the best consultants and make defensive hires so that they are unavailable to the competition.
But, that is the kind of thing crazy billionaires do.
The rest of us have to track every penny and sometimes answer to a board and shareholders. If you find yourself in that boat, you should heed the numbers from Forbes:
It costs about 3,000 a month to outsource quality SEO and SEM. It will run you $80,000 and up, to hire the same. An expert team will run you north of $300,000 a year.
As for doing it yourself, ask yourself if you have $50,000 to $300,000 a year worth of expertise. If not, that should inform you that outsourcing is the way to go.
You Really Are an Expert
There are scores of things you need to know if you are going to manage your own SEO. There is a very good chance that if you are not already working as an SEO consultant, you don’t know them.
Here is a random list of 10 things in no particular order that your expertise needs to cover:
- Filtering spam
- Moderating blog comments
- Adding metadata, images, and tags
- Keeping profiles consistently updated
- Creating and editing landing pages
- Keyword research
- Proper link building
- Analyzing engagement
- SEO auditing
- Reputation management
This is just 10 random things. It is not even the top ten. The real list goes on for days.
The vast majority of people who undertake the task of managing their own SEO/SEM grossly underestimate how deeply involved the task really is.
Internet marketing is a masters-level degree program at respected universities. It really is that intense. If you are not a bona fide expert in the field you need to outsource the work to someone who is.
You Have All the Time in the World
Let’s say you are one of the few people on earth who has the necessary skills to manage your own search engine marketing. That still doesn’t mean you will be able to do it. Even if you have the skill set, you probably don’t have the time.
Internet marketing is a full-time job. Chances are, you already have one of those. If you spent the appropriate amount of time doing the job, you wouldn’t have time to do the one you currently have.
The experts at Goldman Sachs list social media as the first thing entrepreneurs should delegate. As captain of the ship, you don’t have time to do the work of the officers. That’s why you have officers in the first place. When time is limited, outsource.
You Can Keep Up with All the Changes
In addition to having the rare expertise and extra time to do the job, you must also be able to keep up with all the changes in SEO.
There are new rules every year. What worked last year might get you de-listed this year.
The latest crop of changes is already out there. And companies are scrambling to meet compliance. The Next Web described one of the changes this way:
Today, blue links to websites are giving way to the Knowledge Graph (their very own colossal vault of information). And it’s a much more complex territory. Google no longer thinks of itself as the middleman. Google wants to be “the answer.”
If you are still putting all your effort into lighting up blue links, you have missed a key strategic shift in how Google operates.
This is yet another reason why outsourcing makes the most sense for SEO duties. You can bring on different consultants over time, ensuring that you always have someone who is up-to-date with the latest SEO trends and guidelines.
Skills get stale and out-of-date. No one can keep up with everything all the time. Putting a fresh pair of eyes on your SEO needs is a great way to remain current and relevant.
You Fully Understand the Intricacies of Social Media Marketing
Let’s face it: SMM is one of those things that almost nobody understands. SMM experts are rare, and worth their weight in gold.
The full extent of what most people know about social media is Twitter and Facebook. And they are not particularly well-versed in those. Bring Snapchat and Instagram Stories into the conversation, and eyes glaze over.
There is so much more to know. And you shouldn’t feel bad for not knowing it. It is not your job to know it. That’s why you outsource it. Your job is to make sure your company is fully exploiting every legitimate avenue for marketing and commerce at your disposal.
You let someone else handle the marketing, the accounting, human resources, and IT. You stay apprised. But you don’t get in the way of the experts.
Let that same sensibility guide you when it comes to your SEO/SEM/SMM.