No company is going to win the search engine game without putting time and effort into search engine optimization (SEO). So the question becomes one of who actually puts in the time and effort. Organizations can do everything internally. They can contract out some tasks and handle everything else. They can pay for fully managed SEO services. But are they worth it?
It would be wonderful if someone like me could provide a black-and-white answer applicable to every organization on the planet. But that’s not how it works. Whether or not a fully managed SEO solution is right for a given company depends on a whole host of factors that are too lengthy to discuss in a single post. The best this writer can do is offer some basic guidance.
What Constitutes Fully Managed Services
Fully managed services in the SEO arena are no different from similar services in any other industry. Just think about all the services a typical SEO agency would provide. Get all of them in a single package and you are paying for a fully managed solution. It is pretty simple to understand.
As for what SEO agencies typically offer, the list can be rather long. Here are the basics:
- Keyword Research – Given that keywords drive internet searches, no agency would be doing its job if it didn’t offer keyword research.
- Link Building – Next to keywords, there may be no single element as important to SEO performance as links. Therefore, a full-service package would include link building.
- Technical SEO – Technical SEO involves elements on a website that cannot be seen by visitors. It involves all of those ‘under the hood’ things search engines rely on to do what they do.
- On-Site Optimization – On-site optimization is the practice of looking at every element on a website and optimizing it for SEO performance.
- Off-Site Optimization – Certain aspects of an organization’s off–site reach can be optimized to improve SEO.
- Content Creation – In recent years, content creation has become an integral part of effective SEO. Most full-service providers include content creation in their packages.
SEO providers can certainly include many more services in their fully managed solutions. The main point is that fully managed SEO services offer end-to-end management of all things SEO-related, at least in terms of the specific services an agency offers.
Your Needs and Budget
Getting back to the money question, whether fully managed SEO services are worth paying for is partially determined by your needs and budget. Let us start with your needs.
How much knowledge and skill does your in-house IT team already possess? If they are capable of managing some of the more costly aspects of SEO development, you might be better off letting them do it. Likewise, if you’re only looking for help because your team’s time is limited, you might consider offloading just those tasks that are exceptionally time consuming – like keyword research, for example.
The bigger issue is your budget. It goes without saying that fully managed SEO services do not come cheaply. You could spend thousands of dollars per month on one of the best firms in the business. If you cannot afford fully managed services, the question is off the table anyway. If you can, do you still want to spend that amount of money?
SEO services come in all shapes and sizes. Whatever you decide to avail yourself of, make sure you are getting what you pay for. And what are you paying for? Results. A good SEO provider should start producing results within 4-6 months. If you are not seeing them, it’s time to move on.