A reader of my blog got in touch with me recently through my Facebook fan page and we began exchanging notes about SEO. One of his questions really made me think and it’s something that is on the mind of a lot of people these days. His question was this: Would you recommend hiring those expensive SEO companies that charge $150-500/ month? Is it worth doing and would it be faster?
My initial reaction was “why not hire an SEO virtual assistant? That’s the virtual assistant in me talking. But on further consideration, I realized that this is not the right response. I have something else I want to say. I ended up giving him a more thoughtful answer but I fear that it’s still not enough. Thus, I will try to give a better answer through this blog post.
Define your ultimate goal
Just like in life, you do SEO because you have a certain goal in mind. Your goal is primarily dependent on what kind of web site you are building. Are you building an authority site or an affiliate marketing site? Are you building a brand or do you just want to drive traffic to your web site? Are you building a web site you’d be proud to call your own or is it something that you won’t want your name to be associated with?
I believe that your approach to SEO will vary depending on your answer to these questions. I’ve had several prospects who just wanted to drive traffic to affiliate niche sites. One of them was building a dog training site featuring products from Clickbank and Amazon. The web site had no picture of him, nor does it carry his name. He’s posting low-quality content to eZines and Build My Rank in order create backlinks to his site. He is also doing web directory submission because he wanted to amass as many backlinks as possible in a short amount of time as possible and hired an SEO agency to do just that. How that worked out for him is not something I’m privy to but I’m guessing he’s not too happy with the Panda and Penguin updates by Google. I know those updates were tough for a truck toolbox web site owner I know.
On the other hand, I have a couple of clients who work in very specialized niches and want to build their personal as well as commercial brand. One of them is a doula and has a web site focused on natural sound birth. She’s more about establishing herself as the leading sound birth professional in her country and wants to increase sales of musical instruments for mothers and babies. We’re taking a slow and steady approach to her SEO that incorporates social media, newsletters, guest blogging and becoming an affiliate for other birthing professionals like her. We’re also heavy on on-site optimization since we want traffic to increase naturally. Another tactic that I’m suggesting we use is blog commenting of the white hand kind.
Use the sorting hat
So just like in the Harry Potter books (and movies), you’ve got put your web site under the Sorting Hat and figure out which house it belongs to. It is spammy? Is it an affiliate site? Is it an authority site? When you have done this, then you can start planning your SEO strategy. That includes deciding whether you should go for an SEO agency or an SEO assistant.
When should you hire an SEO virtual assistant?
I hope that by now you have an idea of when should you use an SEO agency or an SEO virtual assistant. Essentially, you should hire an SEO assistant if you want to be involved in your own SEO and need help with planning and executing your strategy. SEO help will come in handy if you:
- Decide to build an authority web site loved by search engines.
- Want to have a blog that’s the envy of other professionals in your industry.
- Realize you need to use social media to optimize your web site.
- Want to build your credibility through blog commenting.
- Desire to have a branded web site.
Please watch out for my next post where I would enumerate some tasks that you can delegate to your SEO virtual assistant.