Many business owners get in the habit of shouldering every responsibility – of wearing every hat – in the early stages of their growth. Others tend to force the wearing of many hats on their employees, even when they’re not exactly qualified for (or interested in) the work.
There are certain elements of SEO that are largely doable by just about anyone, especially in those early growth phases.
But when do you reach that point of too many hats?
When are you expecting a little too much from your web designer?
When is it time to talk to an SEO agency?
Consider some of the following circumstances.
1. Too Big to Do Yourself, Too Small to Hire an In-House Team
The most common motivation for seeking out a quality SEO firm is that the company has reached that sweet spot between being able to handle all your online marketing yourself (or with a single marketing) and being able to hire an entire in-house team.
In other words, you’ve reached that point where there is too much to do, but not quite at that point where you can afford a full-time, experienced SEO manager and the other necessary members of an online marketing team (writers, paid search experts, SEO specialists, etc.).
While it is possible to do a lot of SEO on your own, as you grow, you can start to spread yourself too thin. Even if you have some in-house marketers, they may not have all the necessary skills to manage the amount of work necessary to keep growing.
This is when it may be the right time to talk to an SEO agency and bring in some extra help. Even if you are just looking for fulfillment on some aspects of the campaign, you can get the work done while still focusing on the other aspects of running a business.
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2. You’ve Done Everything You Can on Social Media
A lot of new companies start developing their online audience through social media. However, when these numbers start to plateau, what do you have left?
Social media is an intrinsic part of our online experiences, and you can get on there and start managing your company’s page for free.
The thing is, your social media followers may not even be the right target audience. They may be following you for your information, your personality, or your random pictures, but they may not be interested in purchasing your products.
There is also a common problem with social media, in that many companies fixate on the number of followers or likes they get.
These numbers don’t always translate directly to higher sales and more company growth.
Still, it’s a good foundation for building a captive audience, and now it’s time to see what else you can do.
Your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media followers can be a big help as you move into more SEO. Your agency or firm should be able to leverage the work you’ve already done to get some immediate benefits from the search engines.
3. Your Costs for Paid Online Advertising Seems Too High
Pay-per-Click campaigns (AdWords, display marketing, etc.) can be an effective way to really boost your traffic.
It can also be an excessively expensive way to get traffic to go to your site.
And if that traffic isn’t turning into paying customers, then you’re looking at a lot of outgoing money without a lot of new revenue to cover it.
PPC can be a tricky beast, and it has to be monitored, tweaked, and updated constantly.
SEO, on the other hand, is a bit more of a lumbering beast. It may take some time to get it going, but once it starts moving in the right direction, it brings a lot of momentum with it.
In other words, once you start building your natural search engine rankings, you can start to see a lot of highly targeted traffic without the associated costs for each and every click.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean you should just give up on your PPC efforts. This may simply be the sign that it’s time to see how an SEO agency can help you augment those efforts and get a higher ROI.
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4. Your Competition is Attacking Your Reputation Online
Reputation management is often one of the most difficult aspects of search engine optimization.
Now, it’s not just about getting your website to rank highly in the search engines, it’s about getting the negative things off the front page.
There are ethical ways to do this, and there are unethical ways to do this (which will only hurt your reputation more if you go that route), but every way is very time consuming.
If you’re already trying to manage other elements of your online and offline marketing campaigns, and trying to keep your everyday business tasks working smoothly, this isn’t something that will easily fit in your schedule.
An SEO company will have the necessary resources to begin creating a more positive buzz around your website.
It will also be able to help you respond directly to customers, whether on your blog, social media sites, or review sites, and make sure that you’re always putting the best image out there.
This way you can spend more of your time developing your business while the SEO agency works on your reputation.
5. You Have a Local Audience
As the world turns to mobile devices for information about local businesses and companies or service providers “near me,” you need to make sure you are effectively reaching a highly local audience.
This can be a fairly competitive arena. There are a lot of people fighting for a limited amount of local traffic.
Local SEO is a bit of a different strategy than traditional search marketing. Now, things like appearing on the Maps results or getting your address and phone number to show up under your listing may be just as important as traditional link building and other strategies.
An SEO agency will be able to manage your local listings, build the necessary citations, and make sure that you are doing everything possible to target the right audience through search and social media.
6. You’re Expanding Beyond a Local Audience
And what if you have conquered your local market? Are you really ready to branch out and go big with your SEO?
This is a critical time to at least consult with an SEO agency because you need to know exactly what the competition looks like and what kind of investment it will take to carve out a niche in an established industry.
Can you take your reputation in the local community and translate it into the wider market?
When you consult with an SEO company, you can discuss the potential here, look at the competition for lucrative keywords, and develop a plan based on current search engine trends.
7. You’re Getting a New Website
Making the move to a new website with a sleek user experience and modern design sensibilities can make your website more attractive to visitors.
However, if the change really messed up your navigation, left hundreds of pages orphaned, and removed your old linking structure and the detailed content you previously had, you may see a massive drop in rankings.
Even without those massive changes, making the switch to a new website can have a huge impact on the rankings you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
Get an SEO company involved from the beginning of the design process. Your designers and developers may be a little annoyed by this. In their minds, it is just one extra hoop that requires some jumping through.
However, the most important thing is that the launch of a new website does not hurt your rankings or, if it does cause a dip, that your strategies will be in place to come back even stronger.
Understanding Your Options
There are a few different ways to get SEO done for your company, but we recommend careful consideration of these seven circumstances. If you find yourself experiencing any of them, a discussion with your favorite SEO company may be in order.
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