Oftentimes I am questioned about the benefits of hiring a professional SEM company versus starting a do it yourself (DIY) campaign. I receive this same question from local, national, and international prospects. One of the better analogies I can give is related to the medical field. If a loved one had a heart problem and needed a blood transfusion or operation then who is best equipped to handle the work? Unless you’ve spent years training as a doctor or surgeon, chances are you are not the best person for the job. Although we are not talking about health issues, the same is true with search marketing. It is impossible to gain, within a few months time, the same level of experience as a SEM consultant with a decade of experience.
Certainly, it helps to become knowledgeable of the techniques involved in search engine marketing. However, the reality is that a DIY marketer cannot expect to achieve top search rankings anymore than a layman could operate on a loved one with a heart problem.
There are websites that truly help the novice marketer. Search Engine Watch and Matt Cutt’s Blog are two such websites. However there are not any niche websites that offer insights into international search engine marketing (I hope to change that). Rather, most other websites offer invaluable information, wasting time that someone could spend effectively promoting a website.
The flipside of websites created to help people, is a blooming cottage industry of sites that preys upon individuals and business owners. These sites target those who believe it is possible for a novice web marketer to successfully promote a website without any professional assistance. Perform a quick search on Google for “SEO” or “internet promotion” and sure enough websites will appear that sell cheap marketing packages for $100 to $500. Oftentimes, these sites promise top search rankings for anyone willing to pay their small fees. The reality of the situation is that lighting money on fire is a better move. While most of these service provide little benefit, some of them can hurt a site’s search rankings via automated submissions and other techniques used.
I cannot stress enough the importance of using common sense when promoting a business and its website. Be smart, perform research, and go from there. Most people would not randomly select a heart surgeon, take the same precautions when selecting a search engine marketing company or in the alternative, if you decide to market a site on your own, do so carefully and armed with as much knowledge as possible.