January 13, 2010

Hiring an SEO Consultant – Worth the Price?


Hostway Team

By Dan Kenitz

When you need to keep your car in shape, you take it to an auto mechanic for a tune-up. When you need a tooth pulled, you pay a dentist because that's not exactly the kind of service you’d want to handle yourself. So when your small business Web site needs SEO help, you hire an SEO consultant and consider it worth the cost.


Maybe not. Some business leaders find that when they hire an SEO consultant the rewards simply don't justify the up-front investment. If you want to make sure that your site is optimized for search engines, read this article before you decide to take the plunge and sign your name on that next check.

Consider some of the following points:

  • The value of an SEO consultant may diminish over time. If you have a site that is failing to attract visitors, your SEO consultant may be able to help explain what your site is doing wrong, but if your site doesn't keep them coming back, there's nothing an SEO consultant can do about it. The law of diminished returns will start taking effect.
  • For some small businesses, the benefits of SEO don't justify the cost. If you were told you had to invest $1,000 a month to keep your Web site updated and modernized, you'd probably find a way to justify that investment. But if you actually look at the numbers and research how much money that SEO brings in, it's possible you may be discouraged. It's difficult to measure the return on SEO, and in some cases, there may be better places to invest your money.

But what about the benefits of hiring an SEO consultant? Here you'll find some important points as well:

  • Outsourcing your SEO leaves it in the hands of an expert and gives you less on your plate. If you've been a jack-of-all-trades in your business but simply don't know how to handle SEO, hiring a consultant may be exactly what the doctor ordered. Delegating this responsibility to an SEO expert will give them the authority to work their magic and give you one less bullet item on your to-do list every day.
  • Fixing your blind spots. You may think you know SEO, but when you hire a professional, there's a good chance that their expert, objective eye will be able to spot the weaknesses you weren't able to see.

Remember this rule of thumb: If you can find a reliable SEO consultant that tracks the money he or she helps you earn or the traffic he or she helps generate by showing your Web site stats, then you've got a good one on your hands.

In any industry, there are good and bad consultants that offer a varying degree of service and quality. In SEO, where the technology is still relatively new, it's especially easy to pay someone too much money for too little results. Before you hire an SEO consultant, ask yourself about one basic question: What's the ROI? In every other aspect of your business and life, you worry about return on investment. Why not in SEO, too?

About the Author

Dan Kenitz, a graduate of Cardinal Strich University in Milwaukee, is a former Search Engine Optimization professional and a current freelance writer who works out of of the Midwest.

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