It’s a fair question, given the fact that there are TONS of resources on the web: “Optimize this” and “Maximize that”. “Top 5 tips to PUT YOUR SEO INTO OVERDRIVE IMMEDIATELY” or “5 Secrets Google doesn’t want you to know (You’ll NEVER guess #4!)”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about empowerment through education, and if I don’t have to pay for it? All the better. Unfortunately, moving your business up in Google isn’t simple, isn’t guaranteed, and isn’t immediate. There’s not some secret sauce you can pull from internet articles that will guarantee a Page 1 rank in your Search Engine of choice.
Let me answer your question with a question: why hire a photographer? I mean, we all have cell phone cameras, right? Your mom probably still has that CoolPix with the 8GB SD card tucked away in the coat closet somewhere… Your sweet Aunt Sally always has HER camera out at family gatherings; why not have HER film your important life events?
We hire professional photographers because of their experience, vision, and expertise. We hire them because we know and trust that our photographs and memories will be captured the RIGHT way, by someone who has made their career about accomplishing this for their clients. We also vet them to ensure that they have the proper experience and style that we’re looking for.
SEO professionals (the good ones anyway) are very, very similar. They should have ample experience (it’s an added bonus if that experience is with your business type). They should be transparent and informative, even educational to their clients. There’s no reason a client shouldn’t know what their SEO pro is doing and why it works. A pro should be able to define quantifiable goals for you, provide steps to achieve those goals, and be offer status updates.
Your specialist should be comfortable enough to manage expectations; there’s no reason to promise something that’s not feasible to achieve. For example, expecting to come up anywhere on planet Earth when someone types “photographer” in Google is unrealistic. However, if your specialist is able to identify why you want to come up for this keyword (more leads?) and offers an alternative that’s sure to achieve those goals, it’s a definite win.
As SEO Specialists, we know that there is a ton (TON!) of outdated, half-truthed or just plain incorrect information out there. We know that in order to succeed, you need to know what factors are required to move up in rank. We also know that this isn’t an overnight solution: proper SEO strategy takes time and effort. Our true goal is to see you succeed. Our actions, advice, and strategy should reflect that.
Think of an SEO Specialist as your own personal coach or trainer: they’re going to cater sessions to your business, not use some completely templated system. They’re going to talk to YOU and learn more about what sets your business apart from others. They’ll then adapt this plan to guidelines either said or implied by Google to give your site the best chance of success in search. Much like a coach or trainer, there’s no 100% guarantee for success. In fact, a lot of your success depends on your commitment as well as the coach’s. However, it’s better than doing nothing at all, or hoping that you’re able to figure it out yourself with no guidance, assistance, or assurance.
Lastly, you simply have to ask yourself: What’s your TIME worth to you? Sure, you could take all sorts of classes, read articles, and try tons of questionable tactics. Are you confident the information from "seonumber1getimmediateresults.gov" is going to be an article you can trust to represent your business? If not, how much time did you just sink that could have easily been spent elsewhere?
Small business owners wear many hats: they’re Management, HR, Accounting, Customer Service, R&D and so much more. If SEO is a priority, why not place it in the hands of someone that does it on a daily basis; whose passion it is to stay up-to-date on best practices to service their clients the best? Making the right decision here allows you to focus on more pressing responsibilities and issues that can’t fall between the cracks.
Simply put: if SEO and having good rankings in Google and other Search Engines are important to you and your business, do it right. Skip the “shortcuts” and hire a pro.
PhotoBiz offers SEO Services that have helped hundreds of clients, and they can definitely help you. If you’d like to get started, sign up for our SEO Service. (If you're already a PhotoBiz member, you can register via the control panel).
Alex C. is our senior SEO expert at PhotoBiz. He is Google Analytics (GAIQ) certified, HubSpot Inbound Marketing certified & Moz Advanced SEO certified. Alex has helped hundreds of clients optimize their websites, blogs, and online portfolios.
Want Alex to review your site and see how it can perform better for your business? With an SEO Kickstart, Alex will personally guide you through fine-tuning your website content and layout, crafting effective metadata, and building a blogging strategy that will get you more exposure online.