There are many small business owners that try to find a balance between hiring an SEO agency and trying to do a few things on their own. It makes sense to want to have control over your website, and it makes sense to familiarize yourself with the process first so that you can hire a great agency. However, there is a fine line between what SEO tasks a company should perform first and what SEO tasks a company should leave to the experts. If you’re trying to figure out what you should do before you hire an agency in order to keep this control, don’t sweat it. Below lists seven things to keep in mind:
- Have clear goals in mind. This might be a no-brainer to most, but it’s worth mentioning just in case. Before you set out to hire an SEO agency to help your efforts, make sure that you have clear goals in mind. This doesn’t necessarily mean SEO goals (rank number one by this time, earn this many backlinks, etc.), but rather means goals for your company in general. Who is your audience, what do you want your audience to gain, etc.
- Hire your own great content writer. Understanding great SEO doesn’t mean much if you don’t understand great content. Most SEO agencies will be equipped with content writers, but it’s helpful to have your own writer that you hired working with your company. This will help you begin to understand what it is you truly want out of your content, and it helps give you control at the start. It’s tough to know what you want until you really get going, so hiring your own writer is a great way to make that happen.
- Begin building links. Some might advise against this because there is a chance that a company will start building bad links, but the majority of companies can handle building links for a short while before consulting the help of an agency. Starting to build internal links as well as linking out to other websites that are well known is a good way to build up your PR and credibility before an agency gets to you. It will help speed things up.
- Foster relationships across the web. It’s never a bad idea to get started talking with others across the web. Write guest articles and start establishing those relationships. This will also help speed up your agency’s efforts when it comes time.
- Dabble in social media. Set up a social media account for your company on all the big networks—Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You might not know exactly how to optimize them, but at least having a presence will help give you a jumpstart.
- Install an SEO plugin. Installing an SEO plugin to your site will help give you an idea about what it takes to optimize a piece of content. This will help you know what to look for when you do hire an agency.
- Familiarize yourself with the source code. This is a bit trickier, but some aspects of web development aren’t too difficult to understand. Do a little bit of research on the canonical tag and familiarize yourself with what it looks like and why it matters. Hint: This is the tag that deals with duplicate content!
Of course, many people are able to complete all SEO tasks without the help of an agency or an expert. It is usually a good idea to consult one or the other and/or attend seminars to make sure you’re on the right track; however it’s incredibly possible to complete these steps listed above and then just keep going.
Have you hired an SEO agency in the past? Did you find that there were SEO tasks that you wish you had completed first? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comments below.