As in many other areas of web development, a long-standing argument exists between those who feel that learning and practicing SEO should be done in-house, vs. those who feel it is best left to the professionals. There are advantages to either side, and it’s best to weigh these against each other when making a final decision:
Advantages of Working with a Professional SEO
- Diverse Experience – Professionals with several years of SEO experience under their belts can tell you what to expect from the search engines as you conduct the optimization process. They can also interpret and understand rankings data and “hiccups” in the results that may indicate certain trends or strategies that should be implemented or avoided.
- Pre-Existing Relationships – Many SEOs have contacts inside the SEO industry to folks with experience in certain fields, expertise in unique areas (i.e. press releases, article distribution, directories, etc.) that can have a great impact on the success of your efforts. Several SEOs even have personal relationships with the folks at the search engines, although the use of these contacts is very rare and SE representatives pride themselves on not showing favoritism.
- Link Building Knowledge – Professionals will have the ability to quickly identify topical communities and the most popular and relevant sites in them, saving time when link building. SEOs also have considerable experience with link acquisition, and will recognize the requirements of certain sites for paid links, link requests, etc.
- Identifying Linkable Content – SEOs are often masters of crafting and launching content. Not only can they identify the content most likely to get links from the specific web community, they’re also experienced in how to package and promote it.
- Fixing Possible Problems – Professionals are competent at identifying and managing issues that can cause a lack of indexing, low rankings or penalties from the search engines. This is a skill that can be very hard to develop without years of practice and experience. If you have a ranking issue, an SEO can be of great value.
- Time Savings – SEO can be an exceptionally time-consuming endeavor. An experienced SEO has the processes and systems of optimization down to a science, and can use that efficiency to provide better service in less time.
Advantages of Do-It-Yourself SEO
- Complete Control – With personal responsibility comes complete control for each element of your site’s progress. There can be no question as to who or what created a link or modified a document.
- Learn from Your Actions – The ebb and flow of the SERPs will quickly teach an amateur SEO what works and what doesn’t. Certain links, timing and on-page changes will be fully visible and recordable, making it a learning process.
- Personal Responsibility – Your success or failure will depend entirely on your own efforts, narrowing responsibility and preventing overlaps in work or issues of blame.
- Cost Savings – Doing SEO yourself means you don’t have to pay someone else. If you find that your time is less expensive than hiring an outsourced provider, do-it-yourself SEO can be a great way to save money.