Do it Yourself or Hire an SEO Company?

Now, before I start this post I admit that may be a bit biased. However, I live and breathe SEO and I have seen both sides of this topic. With that said, let’s get into it.

I saw a post on twitter the other day that essentially said, “Anyone can do SEO, but most do not”

Though I understood what the intent of the comment was (meaning people just never get around to doing the work) it  hit me like a ton of bricks. In the past, I might have wholeheartedly agreed with that statement, but I do not agree with it now.

That would be the same as saying “anyone can repair their own car, but most do not.” The reality is, physically someone may well be capable of doing it (just like they could in any profession), but the key ingredient is the knowledge. Without the know-how, trying to repair your own car will only get you a car that is more broken than when you started. The same could be said for the website rankings of someone who tried to implement DIY (do-it-yourself) SEO without sound SEO knowledge.

I have spent a lot of time learning how to do search engine optimization and then practiced it by implementing it on my own projects as well as that of the clients I have worked with. While to me much of it seems simple enough, I recognize that it is that way because of the years I have spent learning it. Continual learning is essential in this industry because things change so often and so frequently. Many principles of search engine optimization that I learned when I started are no longer best practices.

At one point I worked as a coach teaching people how to build their own Internet business. From that experience, after coaching thousands of clients, I learned there is some truth to the statement that “…most do not.”  Lack of time and dedication is always the culprit in failed DIY SEO.

That is not to say that everyone should rush out and get an SEO proposal from an SEO firm. DIY SEO can be the best solution for some cases. The question, is it the right choice for you? I will let you make that call, but here are some factors that I would consider when making that decision.

1.    How comfortable are you with your SEO knowledge? Have you ever done SEO successfully? Do you feel confident in your ability to get rankings?

2.    How tough is your competition? Even the best SEO minds recruit help to get all of the work done to get top rankings in those extremely competitive markets. If your competition is fierce, how many resources do you have to help you get everything done?

3.    How much time do you have? As much as business owners want to save money so they can make more money, many of them spread themselves too thin. SEO takes a lot of consistent time and attention. Very few business owners can really do that.

4.    Is it cost effective for you? Even when a business owner is comfortable with search engine optimization and their ability to get high rankings, it does not always make sense from a money standpoint. Each case is different and a business owner should do the math to make sure that the time they will spend doing SEO is the best financial use of their time.

5.    Have you received an SEO proposal before? Every case is different and some SEO companies will provide a customized proposal based on each circumstance. Simply put, do not assume because you know how much someone else is paying a company to do their SEO, that your proposal will be the same. Get the numbers to help you make your decision based on facts, not fiction.

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  1. A Samuel says

    I think point 3 is the most important. Time is the key reason why people do or dont do things.

    Quite simply if you do put the time and effort into SEO you will likely reap higher rewards in time, because you know your business better than anyone.

    Thats not to say SEO companies will not do a good job, but they mop up the market of entities that dont have time to learn or have the expertise.

  2. Nichole says


    I don’t know how many times I hear “I’ve been doing my own SEO but its not working and I need help”, “a family member is helping me with my website” or my favorite “I downloaded an SEO software…”. I hear “red alert, red alert”!

    Being an Internet Marketer, I may be biased as well but I’ve seen what happens when someone tries to fix a radiator leak when they don’t know where the radiator is.

    You have an interesting article here and I will definitely tweet it in hope it will find the right people.

  3. Benjamin Jackson says

    I’ve owned and sold a number of companies and my website was always my most controversial asset. It seems that most business people are quite content with thinking that they’ll build a well-optimized site and that “any idiot can do it.” I love this article and your work Rick.
    I’ve used a few SEO companies and the benefit wasn’t necessarily their work as search continues to evolve, but in their direction. It kept us focused on making it a priority. My newest company site is currently under development, but I’m excited about the new technology it possesses.

    All the best,


  4. says

    Thanks for the replies guys. There is no question seo is evolving along with all aspects of internet marketing. What some business do not get is that more and more dollars are spent online each year and if they do not find a way to have a solid presence on the web, they will continue to lose business until they are out of business.

  5. Oscar says

    I’m glad I started out using SEO software. After a year of using it I learned a great bit to get me started. I recommend anyone getting started to use some sort of low-cost SEO software.

    It’s true, time and patience is an important requirement for DIY. I’ve learned that link building is what’s going to give your website the push it needs to go up the ranking ladder. Link building is a daily task if you want to make it work.

    Thanks for the article!

  6. Spunky Jones says

    I believe that every web site owner should learn at least some basic SEO optimization skills. There are plenty of free resources to get a good foundation started.

    I am retired so I have lots of time to do my own optimization on my sites. It works for me most of the time. I have used some SEO software in the past. However, one must be careful because most sites that rank on the first page of Google, never have a SEO score of 100%. Most of the ones that I see in my SEO niche only sore around 75% to 85%.

  7. says


    You are absolutely right in the link building. It is the major piece to climbing the rankings after you have done the on page optimization. It is a daily task and it is the one thing that most people do not have a solid grasp on how to do. There are a lot more ways to build links than simply sending out emails to other website owners 😉


    I definitely see value in business owners learning the basics of SEO. Those that have some understanding better understand the value of what we are doing for them. They have some concept of the work that it takes and they are then making a conscience decision to let someone else do that work while they are focusing on other aspects of their business.

    Thanks for the comment.

  8. Jon says

    The truth is that some people just haven’t got the time or know-how to do any SEO themselves and prefer to let the experts take control.

    On the other hand it can be refreshing when a client comes on board and already has certain things like URL structure and a solid CMS in place, something that has usually been done with SEO in mind.

  9. says

    Absolutely Jon!

    Though it is a great thing to have clients come on with some seo background that have done a great job in the set up of the site – combining seo-abiltiy and usability in the design from the start, they are the exception rather than the norm.

    Word to a the business owner – If you are planning to hire an seo company and you are either going to have a website built or move your existing website to a new platform – consult with an seo company first and ask what they would recommend. You will save yourself money and the frustration of being told that your new site needs some redoing to make it seo friendly.

  10. Spunky Jones says

    If you are talking about the site that is attached to your name, some basic SEO will work wonders. Your title is “Home” and that gives the search engines nothing to work with.

    I would make sure that you page content is related to your blog topic and that you use a couple of keywords in your content.

    Checkout my blog for lots of free SEO tips on basic and advanced SEO.

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