This is a continuing series of questions that need to be asked before you engage in any kind of SEO strategies or services. We started in Part I with questions that need to be answered if you in-source your SEO campaigns, specifically addressed questions about doing it yourself. In Part II we continued the in-sourcing line of questioning but addressed issues of splitting the work between you and another party. In this installment we'll expand the in-sourcing line of questioning further, looking at the questions regarding hiring a dedicated SEO to bring into your company.
Question 18: Do I hire someone to do it? You've decided that managing the campaign yourself, either all or in part, isn't something you want to do. Before you decide to outsource your SEO entirely you still have the option of hiring a dedicated SEO to bring on your team instead. The two main concerns here are cost and effectiveness, or more precisely, how much will it cost go find someone who is effective.
Question 19: Do I pay someone to learn search marketing on the job? A lot of small companies can't afford to hire someone with extensive knowledge of SEO so they look for someone who can do some on-the-job training. The main benefit of hiring someone without knowledge is they don't have an expensive price tag. Not to mention that finding someone local with even a basic knowledge of SEO isn't always easy to do.
Question 20: Do I have the resources to teach or pay someone to learn the craft? If you choose to hire someone without knowledge of SEO then you're going to have to invest in their education. This means that on top of payroll and other company benefits, you'll have to allow them on-the-job time to learn via blogs, forums and whatever other resources they can get their hands on. A considerable number of hours will need to be allowed each week for educational activities.
Question 21: Will I have to pay for additional resources such as conferences, books, etc.? While there is a plethora of free knowledge available online, sometimes that's just not enough. The investment in allowing a team member to learn SEO on the job is more than just one of time, but it's also financial (beyond the paycheck). SEOs in training will benefit greatly from attending strategic conferences, reading books and ebooks, attending seminars and whatever else comes your way. You'll have to decide how, when and where to invest additional dollars to get your SEO up to speed.
Question 22: What if someone learns it and leaves? This is a legitimate concern for any small business owner. While you can invest in teaching someone SEO for your company, there is nothing stopping them from taking that knowledge and using to find a better paying job somewhere else. After all, their new-found SEO skills are likely worth a bigger paycheck to another company. That's not to say that anybody you train will leave within a year of having gained this knowledge, but you also certainly should not expect them to stick around forever.
Question 23: What if I can't find someone capable of learning the craft? Not everyone is cut out for SEO and while you may hire someone with the intent of them learning it, they simply may not have what it takes. Hiring someone without knowledge brings the risk that they simply won't be as interested or capable of doing this job as either of you may have thought. Unfortunately, this is something that you or they may not really know until they have been at it for three or six months.
Question 24: What if they screw up my site or get me thrown out of the search engines? This is always a risk. Whoever you hire may find some bad advice and do something that breaks the search engine guidelines and gets you thrown out, at least temporarily. While this can happen with anyone, the less experienced person is more prone to making mistakes that can have a more devastating impact on your business. Worse, if such a thing were to happen, they may not know how to get you out of it.
Hiring a dedicated SEO may save you the exorbitant fees charged by many SEO firms, but it also comes with it's own set of costs. You now have a better understanding of the pitfalls in hiring someone without experience to manage your SEO campaign. In Part IV we'll look at the questions that pertain to hiring someone with experience and how that may or may not be more beneficial.
Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.
If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.
Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.
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