If you’re trying to get found more easily online, search engine optimization is critical, but should you try to execute it in-house or outsource it to an SEO company? We asked professionals with experience in the digital marketing industry to weigh in on the debate. Read on for their replies.

Yaniv Masjedi

Yaniv Masjedi

Yaniv Masjedi, CMO at Nextiva.

SEO companies can be lifesavers

If you are just starting out and don’t know much about SEO, these companies can be lifesavers which quickly catapult your company to the top of searching engine result pages (SERPs). However, if you are that much of a newbie to SEO, do be wary that we aren’t yet out of the SEO era in which many of these practitioners were cutthroat enough to fleece an unknowing newcomer.

If you know what you’re doing in terms of SEO, but just don’t have the bandwidth to do everything while satisfying client needs, these companies may be a perfect fit. You’re competent enough to know how to keep an eye on your SEO vendor, as well as recognize when you’re getting real value out of the deal.

However, if your company is mature enough that you have multiple employees, you may want to reconsider working with a comprehensive SEO provider. These companies can still be a good fit for one-off projects or a particular service offering, but they aren’t necessary for general help-me-rank campaigns. By this point, you should have content marketers who know how to do their own keyword research and technical lead generation specialists working on offsite campaigns.

In short – yes

SEO companies are worth every penny if they’re practicing good (i.e., white-hat) tactics. SEO specialists and digital marketing agencies across the country understand the importance of businesses being visible in their local community, as well as in their online community – and they’re here to help.

Nowadays, nearly everyone uses the internet for quick answers about everything. In fact, there are about 63,000 searches entered into Google on any given day. If your website lacks SEO, you’re missing out on hundreds and thousands of opportunities to be seen in the search engine results by people all over the web searching for exactly what your business offers.

If people are searching the products and services that your business offers, chances are they’re already in your marketing funnel, ready to spend money on your services. At that point, all you have to do is catch their eye on Google – but you can’t do this without organic rankings. In the competitive world of the internet, businesses should take advantage of every moral aspect of marketing that they can get, and SEO is one of the tactics that has proven great results over time, time and time again.

SEO is an investment

Hiring an SEO company is an investment worth making if you want to gain more traffic to your business’s website with the work of professionals. Digital marketing companies that specialize in SEO help to eliminate the guesswork in organic search and do what’s important to get your business’s website above the competition in search engine results.

Dominique Martinez

Dominique Martinez

Dominique is the Organic Search Manager at Tandem Interactive. She utilizes her Google-master skills to help improve client rankings and website performance and ensure that the entire SEO team is on board with the latest and greatest industry techniques.
Tony Mastri

Tony Mastri

Tony Mastri has been in the SEO industry for about 4 years now (2 in-house, and 2 agency). Find him at: marion.com.

SEO companies are worth it, if…

In my experience, SEO companies are only worth it if:

  1. Your business doesn’t have any internal marketing resources that can research and implement on-page SEO.
  2. Your business has a liaison that can respond to any informational requests from an SEO agency in a timely manner.

If your company has a marketing team, or even just a single marketing specialist, they can typically be cross-trained to optimize for some of the fundamental SEO components. If that marketing employee is too strapped for time, you may need to employ an outside search engine optimization company.

An SEO company will only be effective if someone from your team can provide the necessary subject matter expertise when it is needed. A good SEO professional can identify when and where to use the right keywords, but they may need you to supply insights and technical content on occasion. This is especially true if you’re redesigning your website. Creating page content about your products or services is critical to your marketing results, and it will be obvious if an SEO company has to use a third-party writer vs. one of your staff members with technical and brand knowledge.

SEO warning

A word of warning – before hiring an SEO agency, make sure you know the very basics of search engine optimization. You can usually figure this out by reading a few online blog posts. Without knowing the basics, you could be taken advantage of by an untrustworthy company that uses big words and scare tactics to sell you on overpriced services.

Good alternative to hiring someone

Working with an SEO company provides small businesses with a flexible resource for technical training or project delivery. Given the cost of permanent or contract hires in this area, SEO companies are often worth the investment.

SEO projects in small businesses often fall into two categories; one-off technical projects and labor-intensive ongoing SEO campaigns.

SEO companies can provide requirements-based training or planning for one-off technical projects such as website migrations or schema implementation. This can bring new skills to the in-house team and ensure best practices are followed.

For ongoing campaigns, SEO companies offer a good alternative to full-time hires, especially when a team is looking to test strategies in link acquisition before committing to a payroll cost.

Tom Feltham

Tom Feltham

Tom Feltham manages the marketing and product development teams at Software Path, the business software comparison engine.
Nikki Bisel

Nikki Bisel

Nikki Bisel is the founder of Seafoam Media, one of the top digital marketing consultancies and agencies in the Midwest. She has over two decades of experience in digital marketing and oversees a team that works with brands across the globe.

Yes, with caveats

SEO companies are worth it with a few caveats.

Depends on your goals

First, you need to know what success looks like for you. Does it mean a certain amount of traffic to your site? Do you have an online sales goal? Is it just first page rankings? Really think about what success means and what boxes you’d need to tick off to know you’ve achieved it.

If an SEO company can help you tick those boxes, then it’s a pretty good bet they’re worth it.

Depends on your industry

Next, look at the SEO landscape in your field. Have a few agencies run some reports for you (they’ll usually do this for no charge). Is anyone actually searching for your product or service? If not, SEO may not be the right marketing mode for you. Is the competition pretty fierce? That may mean it could take tens of thousands of dollars and years to make decent headway.

Know what you’re getting into! SEO is, oftentimes, not a sprint — it’s a marathon.

Depends on your budget

Lastly, have you budgeted for it? As mentioned previously, SEO isn’t a quick fix. It’s an extension of your company. Accordingly, it generally takes months and years (not days and weeks) to see a solid movement that’s going to affect your bottom line. Be prepared for a slow and steady race.

If you’re positive that SEO will help you achieve your measures of success, you’re confident you can compete with your competitors, and you’ve allotted the time and budget necessary to get where you want to go. Then a trustworthy, experienced agency can definitely help you get where you want to go.

SEO is vital

Yes, SEO companies are worth it. Many small businesses shy away from working with SEO companies because of the high price tag of their services.

However, the steep initial price is more than worth it considering the great profit potential business can achieve with an optimized and enhanced online presence that professionals at an SEO company can execute.

Many businesses, particularly new, small businesses don’t recognize or they underestimate the power of their company being easily found online. In today’s world, consumers first interact with brands online. If a business isn’t found online, it may as well not exist.

SEO companies, however, know how vital it is for businesses to be prominently displayed online and the immense profit potential that can occur.

If businesses want to succeed and stand out from the competition, they need to invest in SEO. Unless business owners put in the time to learn the ins and out of proper and effective SEO strategy and implementation, it is best for businesses to work with an SEO company that employs people who live and breathe SEO.

Sarah Snider

Sarah Snider

Sarah has been at SEO.com for three years and is on the content writing team. She now helps execute clients’ SEO strategies in addition to writing content for clients. She graduated from San Diego State University with a B.A. in public relations and a minor in business management.
Shakun Bansal

Shakun Bansal

Shakun Bansal is the Head of Marketing at Mercer | Mettl, an HR technology company and leading talent measurement firm that enables businesses to make precise people decisions in talent recruitment, management, and training across industry verticals.

Google awareness

There will always be divisive opinions on whether or not to do SEO in-house. Irrespective of such views, some organizations want to pare down their responsibilities of greater visibility and authority in content marketing and SERP rankings and [delegate] them to third-party agencies. Some organizations solely want to focus on their core business functions and model instead of taking additional pains of ranking and outdoing competition on Google.

SEO companies are worth it in the present age as they are more aware and cognizant of the Google algorithm changes in SERP rankings, what old techniques are now black hat techniques, and which white hat techniques to employ to target the audience better, reach and engage them better, and add to an organization’s growth and profits.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors are not necessarily affiliated with this website and their statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.