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SEO: DIY or DFY?

In 2020, a business cannot survive unless it is visible online, and a business cannot be visible online unless it dives deep into SEO. Because SEO has been around for decades now, most business leaders are familiar with the basic practices: building links, planting keywords, increasing webpage speed and the like. Fortunately, many of these practices still have an impact on search rankings, so it is possible to DIY a business’s SEO.

But — is DIY enough for your business? There are plenty of benefits from having SEO services done for you (DFY), especially if you can partner with an experienced and qualified SEO agency. Here is a quick guide to the pros and cons of DIY and DFY SEO.

DIY: Pros

Deeper Knowledge. You know more about your business than a third party does, and even if you delegate SEO to your marketing staff, they still have a better grasp on your brand and services than any outsider could. By keeping SEO in house, you can apply this knowledge directly to your SEO practices.

Financial savings. It’s important to note that DIY SEO isn’t free — it isn’t even cheap. However, if you already have an SEO expert on your payroll, it won’t cost you extra to leverage their skill; it will only require them to devote some of their time. In contrast, outsourcing might be out of your current business budget.

Complete control. SEO is an element of digital marketing, which means SEO could affect your current marketing campaign or even your overall brand image. If you are unwilling to relinquish control of this, you might want to DIY your SEO.

DIY: Cons

Limited expertise. It doesn’t matter how many white papers you’ve read on SEO; you aren’t an expert. The same goes for your in-house marketing team. If you want a deep well of knowledge and experience, you will need to invest heavily in SEO experts or go the DFY route.

Limited growth. The results from your in-house SEO efforts will be severely limited by the time you and your employees can invest in the endeavor, and as your business scales, you will almost undoubtedly find it impossible to scale your SEO strategy to match.

Limited accountability. If you aren’t achieving the SEO results you intended, in-house solutions are few and far between. You might find it difficult to identify the problem, and you probably wouldn’t be able to solve it. Most importantly, you couldn’t press anyone to do better because you are ultimately responsible for your SEO performance.

DFY: Pros

Expertise and resources. It should go without saying that an SEO agency comes equipped with a staff of well-trained SEO experts as well as ample resources for accomplishing any SEO-related goal.

New perspectives. Having third-party professionals weigh in on your company’s SEO efforts could be exceedingly valuable, offering insights and outsider perspectives that could lead to revelations on marketing strategy. What’s more, because SEO agencies have worked with many clients, their perspectives are likely to be finely honed to give you the best chance of success.

Accountability. When you work with an SEO agency, you will sign an agreement that explains what both parties must contribute every week, month, quarter and/or year. Thus, there is a legal document to keep your agency accountable and your SEO efforts on track.

DFY: Cons

Ongoing cost. SEO isn’t one-and-done. If you use an agency to manage your SEO, you should continue doing so to give yourself the best opportunity to improve your search rankings. Unfortunately, this means your business will incur an ongoing expense.

Shady practices. Not all SEO is created equal. Some SEO firms lean into black-hat tactics which will give you a swift bump to your search rankings but ultimately harm your SEO over time. You need to vet all agencies you consider hiring to ensure they are focusing on long-term SEO effectiveness.

In truth, the pros and cons for DIY and DFY tend to be subjective. Not all businesses gain a financial benefit by striving to manage SEO in-house; the costs of training existing staff or hiring experienced SEO employees can be steep and ultimately provide unfulfilling results. Then again, not all DFY SEO services are created equal, so it is imperative that you fully vet any agency you consider hiring to ensure they can provide the quality results you deserve. There are pros and cons to DIY and DFY — it is up to you to weigh them fairly to make the right choice for your business.

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