The term “professional SEO” is thrown around quite often. In fact, I’d venture to assume that there are quite a few people that stay relatively up-to-date on current tactics and news by reading a few SEO blogs. But being able to read about SEO does not make one an expert. In fact, if this were all it took, then we’d be swimming in SEOs and Google just wouldn’t have a clue what to do in order to make rankings “fair” anymore.
Due to the advent of everyone assuming they are indeed SEO professionals, you see more and more people opting to take the do-it-yourself (DIY) route to search engine optimization. Most fail miserably, and here’s why.
You don’t have the experience. While reading SEO blogs and paying for a membership to an SEO forum or two might make you more knowledgeable than most casual followers of this niche, it does not make you a professional SEO. A professional SEO has seen it all, done it all, and knows just what to do when certain situations arise. While we don’t have the answers to everything, we have certainly seen enough to be able to advise a client on their best course of action for specific goals. The casual SEO? More than likely, he’ll have a general strategy that he assumes works for everyone and every type of goal. This isn’t the case.
You don’t have the budget. SEO tools like Moz or Raven cost money. Outsourcing costs money. Generating content costs money. Following up with clients and publishers… you guessed it, costs money. The average SEO has time, but he doesn’t necessarily have the budget he needs to get all of this done. With more time than money, you’ll find yourself wanting to do all of these things using free tools and doing the manual labor yourself. This leads to less effective SEO, and severely limits how much work you can actually do over the course of the day. I mean, you’re not a full-time SEO, right? So that means you’ll probably have a business to run on top of trying to do the work of someone who does this all day, every day.
You’re a one trick pony. SEO is all about links… or on-page optimization… or content… or social media… or local search… or mobile… you’ve heard all of these in the past, but the truth is that modern SEO is a mixture of all of these disciplines, and more. While you might be great at one of these things, chances are that you aren’t even average when you start to mix them all together.
You lack the relationships. Agencies that specialize in SEO and link building have existing publisher relationships in place to ensure that you’re getting the best links for the money. Links are great, but optimally placed links are even better and chances are that without a lot of time, an outreach department, or a significant budget to pay someone, you can’t get your links placed in some of the same locations that professional SEOs do.
Now, I know that there are some business owners and entrepreneurs out there that can definitely handle their own SEO, but the fact remains that most cannot. It’s okay not to be good at everything, and sometimes – especially with something as integral to the future of your business as SEO – it pays to hire an expert.