As a business owner, you wear many hats. You’re not just someone who sits behind the scenes while others make your dream happen. You show up every day, often teaching yourself skills that you didn’t know you needed the day before. Search engine optimization is probably one such skill you’re looking into learning, but you also may wonder whether it’s something you can manage on your own.

SEO is so complex and dynamic that it’s now a full-time career for many people. Marketers have spent years developing their knowledge and skills, and they’re still also having to learn new trends and best practices as algorithms evolve. Can you manage your own website’s SEO? Yes, but the results will vary depending on a few factors.

First, you have to consider how much time you have to put into learning the best practices, tools and strategies used today. Are you willing to complete a certification course through Google Academy or HubSpot? Can you set aside a few hours every week to research keywords and your audience? Will you be able to write your own content, optimize the technical aspects of your site and perform routine SEO audits to improve your ranking?

It’s a lot of work for one person, especially someone who is already busy with their full-time job running a business. But marketing is fundamental to your personal success, so you need a strategy. That’s why turning to a professional can help you build up your site and learn a thing or two in the process.

Hiring an SEO Company

There are freelance contractors and SEO agencies that you can recruit to manage your business’s online presence. An agency tends to have higher prices, but they also have more resources to offer you a full suite of services. In addition to maintaining your website, they can also create and publish new content, implement keywords, collect important audience data and manage your paid ad campaigns. You can check out this free guide on where to find the best SEO companies. In addition to teaching you about what to look for in an agency, the guide will also help you find a provider whose services align naturally with your business goals.

Services to Look For

It can be easy for someone with limited search engine optimization know-how to choose the wrong company. You wind up forking over hundreds or thousands of dollars a month with little to show for it. To avoid that pitfall, you should learn the basics of SEO. This will allow you to hold articulate conversations with your potential agency/freelancer and ask the right questions. Services will vary based on your objectives, budget and needs, but there are still some fundamental elements to look for. These are:

  • SEO audits and reporting.
  • On and off-page optimization.
  • Keyword research and integration.
  • Content and copywriting with SEO optimization.
  • Link building services to boost rank and build authority.

Taking Over

If you study and learn the basics, you’ll likely be able to manage your own SEO strategy after it’s been implemented. For the best results, it’s recommended to let a professional manage your account for at least three to six months. During this time, you’ll be able to get an idea of what works for your site, how it’s growing and what might need to be done to continue improving your rank going forward. You can even consider reducing your agency’s involvement to a part-time status rather than going completely solo. This will allow you to be more hands-on and save money without sacrificing a professional’s expertise.