We talk to a lot of businesses who say they want a company to "do SEO" for them - they're looking for a company or consultant to whom they can outsource their search engine optimization completely. Many people who are new to the space and don't yet understand how SEO works - how it is an ongoing process that requires a business' input - think that it's simply a checklist of items that they can hand off to an outside consultant. But that is not actually the case.

Why Your Business Can't Fully Outsource SEO:

  1. Your Keywords . You (hopefully) know your business better than any SEO consultant you could hire. This means that you know your market and you can make the right judgments on the most relevant keywords to optimize around. When it comes to developing a smart Internet marketing strategy, you should do a full keyword research process to identify which keywords (1) have a high number of monthly searches, (2) are not as competitive or difficult to start ranking for, and (3) are relevant to your business.
  2. Your Content . A big piece of search engine optimization is creating interesting and relevant content for your audience. That often means calling on your expertise for the content of a blog post, for example, even if it means hiring a writer or editor to put it down in sentences and paragraphs.
  3. Your Relationships . Another big piece of search engine optimization is linkbuilding - links serve as references for your site and signal to the search engines that you are important. Some linkbuilding you can outsource - getting listed in high quality directories, for example - but another piece of your linkbuilding strategy should include engaging in the blogosphere and developing relationships with bloggers in your industry. Much of building up your business' reputation online involves building up your personal reputation online by interacting on a individual level with the consumers and peers in your industry - something a consultant cannot really do on your behalf.

All that said, this is not to say that you should not hire an SEO consultant. The key here is that you cannot fully outsource this project - you must be commited to being involved in your SEO initiatives (and should probably be wary of any SEO consultant that says they can do it all without your input). Whether you hire a consultant or decide to take on your SEO yourself, you should probably educate yourself on the basics and understand what you should be tracking and measuring to make sure you're not wasting your time and money. Our one hour marketing webinar on SEO 101 can quickly get you up to speed.

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SEO kit

Originally published Jun 20, 2008 3:10:00 PM, updated October 20 2016