Value of SEO reported a few months ago that it expects Internet marketers to spend at least $26 million on SEO. Those who are unfamiliar with the benefits or skill set needed to perform SEO services may feel this number is severely inflated. Small businesses are engaging in annual contracts worth thousands of dollars in attempt to tap into the wave Google and searchers have created. Thinking about ways to shave some money off of your budget? After a thorough examination, of what it would take to bring SEO in house for your small business, I believe you’ll understand why a outsourcing your SEO is worth the money.

SEO is more than tags, keyword research, and link building. It’s a tactical entity that is improved through extensive training and experience. More than anything else, a significant amount of time and research is needed to reach the level of expertise needed to do your SEO internally. Lets examine some of the methods you could initially learn about SEO:

Search Engine Academy of Oregon – In Oregon we have an academy geared specifically towards teaching business professionals the tools they need to become a search engine marketer. They offer a 2-day essentials class, 3-day advanced workshop, or a 5-day comprehensive workshop. These cost  $895, $1,195, and $1,795 respectfully.

SEMPO Institute – The Search Engine Marketer’s Professional Organization offers six different classes ranging from $299 to $1,399 depending on the course material and if it’s an advanced level or not. They seek business professionals looking to learn about search engine marketing and provide for their company.

SEOmoz Pro – SEOmoz Pro offers tools, guides, and enables you to ask Rand Fiskin a set number of questions per month. Depending on the package you choose it could cost you $79, $129, or $229 per month. SEOmoz Pro is catered towards individuals who have some search engine marketing experience, but need additional tools to help them.

These are three extremely viable entities for learning the sheer basics. I’ve personally used SEOmoz Pro and can say from experience it is a great product. However, whether your taking a class or purchasing tools if you don’t have experience physically doing SEO you could find yourself in trouble. Through a class you’ll learn about the basics of SEO, that you could also learn from SEO for Dummies, but what you wont learn is how to compete against other businesses. You can do keyword research, set up your tags, submit a site map, and attempt to do link building, but all of your competitors are doing the same thing only they’re outsourcing the work.

Aside from the initial education of SEO tactics and techniques their is the continued education and trends you must know and understand. Most web design companies offer a SEO package that you can buy and bake into your site. This is always from a third party partner that is an expert and dedicated 100% to SEO. The techniques and tactics for SEO update too rapidly for a web design company to remain an expert on web design and the latest SEO tactics. Instead it’s easier for a web design company to partner with an SEO expert who can relay the latest techniques that should be incorporated into their design. Specialization allows for a better product than being versed in several different fields.

You can begin to see how much time would be needed for a marketing director or manager to become versed enough in SEO to prevent outsourcing.  Constant blog reading, the testing of different techniques, and researching new opportunities for enhanced SEO are all components of seasoned SEO professional.  The short influx of education a class will provide you is only the basics. Add in the time needed for the continued education and you’re talking about the need for a full-time internal team member just to ensure your website is properly optimized.

An entry level, maybe they just took a class or read SEO for dummies, search engine marketer would cost you $30-45K while a search engine marketer with three to five years of experience would cost you $50-75K annually. It makes more economic sense to find a freelancer or organization to do your SEO because you can get rates of $500 to several thousand a month depending on the contract scope and competition of your space. Most SEO campaigns take three months to show any results and SEO companies typically will ask for a six month or year long campaign contract. In the end, you’re saving yourself a substantial amount of money by outsourcing your SEO work.

Classes, tools, and substantial time are the components needed to train your marketing personnel to do your SEO internally. $30 – 75k annually is what it would cost to bring a full-time dedicated SEO member to your team. Save yourself the headaches and money and reap the benefits of outsourcing your SEO work. Your bottom line and website rankings will thank you later.

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