Should you hire an in house expert or go with an SEO agency?

Digital369 on 28 August 2017

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a top marketing priority for many Australian businesses. With Australians spending 552 million hours on Google in 2015, it is little wonder why SEO is so vital to a digital marketing strategy.

While some SMEs try to tackle SEO on their own, the reality is that it can be a full-time job that requires specialised skills. Should you get an expert to drive your company’s SEO efforts? And what do you look for when hiring an SEO expert in Australia?

You will need someone who has the technical know-how to conduct both on-page and off-page optimisation. But the best SEO experts have other skills too. What are they? Here are five to look for when hiring your SEO expert.

1. They understand that SEO and content marketing are not separate entities

This does not mean that you will need to look for an all-in-one specialist. A lot of what SEO encompasses overlaps with that of content marketing. You wouldn’t be able to drive an effective SEO strategy without creating great content on your website or company blog.

Most of us know that SEO keywords throughout website content are an important part of SEO. But the same can be said about backlinks to your company’s website. The more quality backlinks you get, the higher your business name will climb in SERPs. Creating interesting and valuable website content will attract these quality links to your website – a valuable investment.

A great SEO expert knows that SEO and content marketing go hand-in-hand.

2. They have an eye for design and user experience (UX)

The rules of SEO are dictated by the algorithms used by search engines such as Google. As they evolve, so will your SEO strategy if you want to continue to rank highly in SERPs. Although keywords and backlinks are an important part of SEO, in the case of Google, there are estimated to be over 200 other ranking factors.

One thing Google has been paying attention to is a website’s usability and UX on mobile devices. If your visitors are leaving your site as soon as they arrive, the search engines may interpret this as a signal of low quality. A good SEO expert will look at the click-through rate of your pages in SERPs, as well as page metrics such as bounce and exit rates.

And not only can UX improve SEO performance, it will also increase the number of conversions. Once traffic lands on your website from a search engine, a better experience will mean more enquiries with your business. You should look out for an SEO in Australia who knows that UX is an important a factor for website success.

3. They know how to track, measure and analyse the data

Almost any digital role these days will require some level of data analysis. It should come as no surprise that a great SEO should be armed with the skills to collect data and discover insights about your audience and website performance.

You will want someone who can track and analyse the relevant metrics to shape your business’ SEO strategy. And not only should they be able to analyse this data, but they should also be able to share the insights to you.

That's where SEO reporting comes in. An SEO report should contain the relevant performance data and SEO insights – helping you and your wider team better manage your business and understand the impact of your SEO strategy. The report will contain all the data insights that reveal the best path forward.

4. They are experienced in using industry tools

It is an absolute necessity that the SEO you hire is experienced in using Google Analytics. A good way to check their level of expertise is to ask if they have a Google Analytics Individual Qualification. Or, if you choose to work with an SEO agency in Australia, ask if they are a Premier Google Partner.

It is also important that they are proficient in using other tools of the industry. Every expert has their preferences of tools, but some essentials to be familiar with include Moz, Google Tag Manager, Screaming Frog and Hotjar. The list of SEO tools is extensive, but the more they know, the better.

Google even suggests that you request for a technical SEO audit from your potential hire. This is a good way to get a feel for what they can do while testing their technical knowledge.

5. They have excellent communication skills

By now you should begin to understand that an SEO expert will have their hand across many aspects of business. Your SEO hire will work closely with different departments such as marketing, analytics, and web development. As such, they will need to know how to communicate in a way that everyone understands.

For example, if your SEO has found that the website is loading too slowly, they should be able to get the team to understand why a change has to be made. If changes need to be made – from new campaigns to web development – the SEO needs to know how to build a case to get it done.

Alternatively, you can hire a great SEO agency

If you don’t have the time or resources to look for a great in-house SEO, you might want to consider hiring an SEO agency. With an SEO agency, your business will get access to a range of talent, each with niche specialities. From technical optimisation to content creation, and SEO agency should be able to provide it all.

Want to find out more about SEO agency services? Talk to a digital marketing specialist about your business needs.