Why you shouldn’t use external search engine optimisation services

One of our most Frequently Asked Questions is “why don’t you offer search engine optimisation services?” so here’s the answer. We tend to deal with companies whose budgets for maintaining their internet presence are at the lower end of the scale. The sort of companies who spend hundreds of pounds a month on internet marketing, or at most a few thousand pounds. If you’re in this category, then with all the other calls on that budget, you won’t have much to spend on search engine optimisation – certainly no more than for a few hours of an advisor’s time. But there are two requirements for effective search engine optimisation: knowing how to do it, and knowing the market in which your website operates. If you use an independent advisor, it’s likely that they would need all of their few hours a month just to familiarise themselves with your market. They won’t have any time to do anything productive.

So the reason we don’t offer SEO services is just professionalism: we don’t think we (or anyone else) could do a really good job within the budgets you probably have, and so (unlike less scrupulous consultants) we’d rather not get involved at all.

We believe that the fundamentals of search engine optimisation aren’t very complicated. And because you don’t need to learn about the market in which you operate, it’s far more cost-effective for you to learn about SEO, and then to implement what you can in-house. For a good external search engine optimisation expert to achieve anything worthwhile on your site, they’re going to need so much input from you that – seriously – we believe it’s better not to subcontract it at all.

For those of you who are thinking: “but I’ve heard of people paying consultants a few hundred pounds a month and getting some measurable change in the search engine results”, here’s what I reckon is happening. They’re using ‘short cut’ methods such as setting up links to your site from highly-ranked sites which they control, and using methods with no long-term future such as planting links in the comments of random, unrelated blogs. All this is fine for now, but as soon as you stop paying them, don’t expect to see the improved positions in the search engine results continue. What else could they be doing in so little consultancy time? Good SEO is a cumulative process; stop your efforts and you shouldn’t lose any of the progress you’ve made (until your competitors invest their way past you, anyway).

Tomorrow I’ll give you two examples of what you should be doing to improve your website’s standing in the search engine results, and why it’s better to do it in-house than to contract it out …unless you can afford several thousand pounds a month.

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