Recently someone who works at a PR firm in Boston asked me "Can you recommend an SEO firm for one of our clients?" I thought my answer would be interesting to others, so here it is:
I want to clarify that SEO alone is not the best strategy for inbound markeitng and trying to generate more qualified traffic and leads. SEO alone does not leverage publishing new content (blogging, podcasting, etc.) and does not leverage social media to promote your content and attract more links and people to your company. The best way to grow your business using the internet is through inbound marketing, and most SEO firms only address part of the solution.
That being said, let's say you have the in-house expertise to start blogging and using social media, and you just want to do some SEO. There are three options when looking to improve your SEO:
- "Do it yourself." - This is where you use a bunch of different online resources and learn how to do everything yourself. This is the most difficult and time consuming, but if you know what you are doing and have a lot of experience, it can be the most cost-effective since it will only take your time.
- "Do it with assistance." - This is where you do much of the work yourself, but with assistance from trained experts and software to make it easy for you, even if you are not an expert or have any experience. The cost is a few hundred dollars per month (HubSpot is $500/month or less) plus some of your time, but the good part about this is that you get directly involved in your inbound marketing and learn a few things that will help your other marketing programs be more effective.
- "Do it for me." - This is the easiest option because it takes little of your time. It is also the most expensive, because a good consultant will typically charge $2500-5000 per month, and you need to do a 6 month or longer engagement. The other issue here is that there is no knowledge transfer to your internal marketing team, so when you stop paying the consultant, you stop getting any of the benefits.
Overall, I'm a huge fan of "Do It With Assistance"since it build in house-expertise, gets you the results you want, improves other marketing programs besides SEO and just generally gets your company on the path to inbound marketing. But of course I am biased since I work at HubSpot. But you can't argue with our inbound marketing results, either...