When it comes to implementing an SEO program, there are many factors a company needs to consider. What are your goals? What resources are available internally? What areas should you invest in to be successful? The best option for your company will depend on a complete assessment of what you want to accomplish with an SEO program, the internal time and budget resources available, the level of expertise required, and how SEO will fit into your integrated marketing mix.
Before diving into the logistics, it is important to understand what it takes to perform SEO correctly and effectively. An assessment of expectations should be completed before determining how and where resources will be allocated. Is traffic or sales more important? Is there a geographic set of goals? What are the business outcomes and the interim milestone goals? What does a solid SEO program look like? Do you have the time and expertise necessary to carry out such a program? Once you have established goals, you can better determine whether or not you have the manpower, time, and level of expertise required to deliver success.
Experience and Expertise
Once goals are established, your company will have to determine a budget. Setting a budget helps to properly strategize how your program will operate. One of the primary questions to consider for a budget is whether or not staff is available to manage an SEO program, or if hiring a dedicated in-house SEO expert is a realistic option. It is important to keep in mind that a well-maintained SEO program requires a significant time commitment— 50 – 100 hours per month could be expected. If neither option is feasible, finding an SEO agency may be a worthwhile alternative. Even with an agency, though, you’ll need to designate an employee who will own the program and help ensure success.
There are many educational resources available to help users learn about SEO, as well as tools that can maintain various components of an SEO program. Choosing to remain in-house may help absorb some costs, but it may become necessary to invest money in tools necessary to implement and maintain an SEO program. Total costs for a complete suite of on- and off-website resources should also be factored into your budget. Remember that a correctly executed SEO program can take an average of 4 – 6 months to deliver real results. Your company should decide whether it has the time and money to experiment with various tools.
Another factor to consider is the level of knowledge at hand in comparison to the knowledge required to carry out SEO. An effective SEO program is multifaceted; it is imperative to understand how various components—such as content writing, link signals, page-load factors, platforms, and more—work together to drive results. While someone in-house may have enough time to dedicate to SEO efforts, you should consider whether or not they have the level of foundational knowledge needed as well as the extra time required to stay up to date with important changes in a fast-paced industry. Agencies that specialize in SEO are committed to keeping up with the latest industry news, trends, resources, and best practices. In addition, agencies usually have experience managing SEO for a wide range of clients. By investing in an agency, your company essentially purchases a level of reliability, experience, and accountability that is not always attainable internally.
Overall Marketing Integration
After considering internal resources and capabilities, you should determine how SEO will fit with other marketing efforts. Companies that already work with agencies for other marketing tactics may choose to take the same route with SEO. Many agencies also provide a full range of services to help integrate SEO with overall marketing efforts to boost its effectiveness. If your company decides that working with an agency is the most cost-effective option, it is critical to define what the agency’s unique role will be within or in conjunction with your existing marketing structure.
A decision on how to invest in an SEO program will ultimately depend on your company’s goals and resources. With all these considerations taken into account, your company should be able to easily determine how and where to allocate resources in order to implement an SEO program and find success with it.
Have you decided to keep SEO in-house? Stay tuned. In a later post, we’ll discuss how to implement and manage an in-house SEO program.
How does your company manage SEO efforts? Do you work with an agency? Let us know in the comments.