If you’re here right now you probably understand the importance of having good Search Engine Optimization or SEO. And you’re also probably someone who is tasked with overseeing the SEO for your company.
You could do it yourself, or you could partner with an agency.
In this blog post we will discuss some pros and cons, from doing it yourself, to partnering with an agency that does it all for you.
Agencies have the potential to provide incredible value.
Many agencies are darn good at what they do. Agencies bring the skill and expertise to maximize every cent of your budget.
They are knowledgeable of industry do’s and don’ts. Good agencies will be able to get the job done without having to result to “black hat” tactics that can easily lead to punishment from Google.
Plus, having an agency manage your SEO can leave you with more time to focus on running your business.
Agencies have the knowledge, insights, and industry experience to get the job done. Better yet, they will do it all for you, thus crossing the SEO task off of your overflowing to-do list. Sounds great right?
Well, until you see the price tag…
With the tremendous value agencies can bring, they can also provide a tremendous price tag. If you want to partner with a reputable US based agency, prepare to pony up. According to webfx, “Most SEO projects in 2021 cost between $750-$2,000 per month based on the scope of the project. A one-time project will range between $5,000-$30,000 and hourly rates for consultants fall between $80-$200 per hour.” Many larger enterprise solutions can cost much more than this.
Typically, agencies will have three ways of billing you:
- A Monthly Retainer: A monthly retainer is a fee paid in advance to an agency to ensure that the agency’s services will be available every month. Monthly retainers typically range from $750-5,000 a month.
- A Fixed Price Agreement: A Fixed Price Agreement (also known as a project-based agreement) allows clients to pay a fixed amount for specific services. For example, a client could pay 25 cents a word for SEO copywriting, or $3,000 for an SEO content audit. Prices on fixed price agreements vary greatly depending on the task at hand.
- Hourly: This is where an agency bills a client for the hours they dedicate to a specific task. Hourly rates for an SEO expert typically range from $100-$300 an hour. It should be noted the there are some “cheap SEO agencies” out there that offer low rates. A word of caution: you get what you pay for. These cheap SEO agencies typically lack the necessary resources to get the job done effectively, and you will end up with a lower ROI.
It is important to know that agencies commonly will bill clients for all three of the above models simultaneously.
Another negative to working with an agency is the time it can take for the agency to learn about your business, especially if your business is not in a simple niche. For example, legal SEO can be difficult for agencies who have not worked in this field before.
Additionally, not all agencies are cut from the same cloth. How do you go about making sure that you are choosing the right one? How do you know you’re getting the best value? Are they really doing what they tell you they are?
If you decide to go with an agency, we recommend interviewing several agencies before choosing. Get a feel for their level of expertise. Can they deliver everything you need? What is their value add? Do they have a proven track record of success? Have they worked with other clients in your niche?
Picking the right agency partner is critical to success. Do your due diligence and be sure the agency you pick is going to leave you satisfied. Remember, if you don’t love the shirt in the store, you’re not going to love it when you get home.
If picking an agency sounds like it may not be right for you, don’t fret; there are other options.
Do-it-yourself (DIY) SEO can be a great alternative to partnering with an agency. It allows you to have control over your SEO and is (usually) more cost effective.
If you are someone who falls into the following categories, doing your business’s SEO yourself might be the best option for you:
- You love having control over all facets of your business
- You’re on a tight budget
- You think you’d like doing SEO and want to give it a try
- You’re a tech-savvy person
In order to be successful in SEO, you need to acquire a lot of knowledge and technical know-how. From keyword research to page speed tests, from meta data to backlinks, you need to have the fundamentals down. There is a lot to learn, but luckily there are some great services out there that can help teach you, such as softserveSEO.
If you like having control, are excited about learning SEO, are willing to put in dedicated time, or are on a tight budget, DIY SEO is probably the best choice for you.
The biggest cons of DIY SEO:
- It takes time
- You must learn the skills
- You must keep up with any changes in Google’s algorithm
Besides these two options, there are hybrid models that can allow you to get agency expertise for significantly less. These hybrid models provide the tools and education you need to be successful, for significantly less than what a traditional agency charges.
We offer a hybrid model called softserveSEO.
softserveSEO is our self-service SEO portal that allows you to take the lead of your website’s Search Engine Optimization in the most efficient way possible.
softserveSEO teaches you everything you need to know about SEO to improve your website’s rankings and organic traffic volume. From SEO 101 to how to create a sitemap, perform keyword research, test your website page speed and analyze Core Web Vitals, the softserveSEO modules will walk you through the basics. It will help you quickly get your website performing at its best and learn the methods that will affect your site.
softserveSEO also teaches you proven SEO best practices, honed after working with hundreds of clients. These best practices will help you continue to maintain your site’s rankings over time with a simple, easy to follow process.
In addition to training modules, softserveSEO provides an easy-to-understand SEO dashboard, tips and tricks, and more resources to help you take your knowledge – and your website — to the next level.
Finally, softserveSEO gives you the access to the same tools that agencies use: Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Tag Manager, Semrush, Competitive Research Tools, Keyword Research Tools, Website Crawlers, Page Speed Tests.
The softserveSEO portal includes everything you need in one place. Navigate to the tool you need and view a quick tutorial video or read the simple step-by-step instructions to jump in quickly.
- Keyword Research Tool
- Positioning Tracker
- Site Crawler
- Site Audit Tool
And that’s not all. With your double or triple scoop softserveSEO subscription, you also benefit from Agency Expertise for less. Like a lot less. Remember how expensive they were?
With softserveSEO, you pay one low monthly fee. Know exactly how much you will spend each month and enjoy predictable budgeting with affordable search engine optimization. Plans start at $79 a month. View plans here.