It’s not that difficult for most businesses to get a website in the top Google results, particularly if the business services a local customer base or is in a niche much smaller than something like mortgages or pizza. If you own a pizzeria in a small town, you shouldn’t have much difficulty being found by a local search if you learn enough about search engine optimization.
If you’re looking to sell a product or service nationally, the task of search engine optimization becomes much more difficult. But if you need to be found in national and local and/or international results it’s a very large, labor-intensive and complex task. For instance, if you’re trying to sell diamonds or jewelry, you may have a national customer base or even an international customer base making SEO a difficult task.
Most difficult is if you have a need for both national and local search optimization such as when customers may just search for your product/service or search for your product/service with a geographic descriptor. For instance, someone may search for “best mortgage refinancing rate” or “best mortgage refinancing rate New York” or a franchise may need to be found in both national and local searches.
If you know your field and customers well and have the time and inclination to learn about search engine optimization, you can do it yourself. I’ve been doing it myself since the mid 1990s and have hundreds of websites in the top Google results.
While experience, education and talent is important, the important caveat is time. Most people running a business are too busy trying to run their business and service their customers without any time left for learning SEO and how to create content on their website. Often, hiring an SEO company is a better alternative because you’ll have the time to focus on your customers. I know, because I have both a law practice and an advertising business (I don’t have an SEO company). For me, creating content and learning SEO has been an addiction.
Even if you hire the talent to build your website and search engine optimization talent, you may want a partially hands-on website. You can hire a website designer to create a website using a content management system such as WordPress which will let you can easily create some or all of the content. There are several good plugins for WordPress which automate some on-site search engine optimization and perform other functions. See my list of best WordPress plugins. You can concentrate on writing useful quality content and hire an SEO company to do search engine optimization on the content you create.
Start with longtail keywords such as “best mortgage refinancing rate New York” or “Brick Oven Pizza in Oshkosh” which are easier to obtain top Google results, less expensive to optimize and usually more effective for sales.
If you don’t have the time; don’t want to learn a complex subject; find the task daunting; or you’re in a particularly competitive industry, it’s wise to spend a few hours to find a reputable SEO company. However, even if you hire an SEO company it’s a good idea to start reading about search engine optimization to get a basic understanding. This will both help you determine if the SEO company you’re using is doing a good job and will also benefit your relationship with your SEO company.