A SEO agency employs experts in different areas of search engine optimization. These SEO professionals provide a range of services, including auditing your site, developing a tailored SEO strategy, and implementing the tactics that will help your business reach its goals.

SEO is also more complex than ever in 2020. It takes more than just building links, creating any old content, and adding a few keywords to improve your organic search rankings and increase the visibility of your business or brand. You need to keep track of and understand: Emerging trends (e.g., voice search).

Working with an SEO agency will undoubtedly save you a lot of time, but it will also cost money. You’ll need to determine if your business has a budget for SEO. If you’re not able to afford hiring an SEO, then you’ll be forced to do it yourself. Keep in mind that ranking well on search engines can significantly increase your business’ revenue, which may very well justify spending more now to hire an SEO. You’ll need to determine how much your business can afford and what extra income you could possibly generate by ranking better.

Another thing to consider is your specific business. Every business is different and will have different SEO goals. Some businesses operate in a niche that is extremely competitive and far more difficult to rank while other businesses may operate in a less competitive niche with far fewer competition. The area your business targets is another factor. Do you sell a product or service that is offered nationwide or do you only sell locally? Ranking in a small town for a local business will naturally be easier than ranking for a search term competing nationwide. If you’re a local business with low competition, you may be able to succeed by doing SEO yourself. However, if your competition level is extremely high, you’ve got a lot of work ahead and are going to need to hire a professional SEO agency.

Another thing to consider is your knowledge of SEO. Do you know a lot about SEO or are you just sort of dabbling into it? Search engine optimization can be risky and optimizing your website with the wrong SEO tactics has consequences. Some search engines (primarily Google) are constantly changing their algorithms and reevaluating what it “likes” and what it “doesn’t like.” If your website is not up to par with what Google wants, they can penalize your website, strip your website from their SERPs, and crush your business almost instantly. Potentially at that point, your business name wouldn’t even show up – even if a customer searches for your exact brand name!

Take, for instance, BMW. The automobile giant was deindexed completely from Google for a few days in 2006 after it was found cloaking links. Interflora, a flower retailer, was hit with a one-month deindexing in 2013 after hiding links in advertorials. Famously, travel site Expedia was hit with a rank penalty in 2014 after over-saturating anchor text and other SEO tactics now frowned upon. For larger businesses with more popular websites, the recovery process is a bit easier. But for small business owners, this can be devastating.

This is why you really need to know your SEO and stay up to date with the latest SEO best practices. Google alone has over 200 different factors on how a page ranks. While professional SEO companies don’t even know them all, they do have experience and can make an educated guess. A good SEO agency will also know and adhere to all of Google’s rules and avoid wrong SEO tactics. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, performing SEO yourself can have negative consequences and it is better to hire a professional.

So, do you really need an SEO agency? That’s up to you. A larger business will likely say yes, but a small business may decide to forge their own road and do it themselves. Performing SEO yourself is still entirely possible – if you have the time, the right tools, and the savviness of learning and implementing the best SEO practices.