How To Choose The Most Affordable SEO Service For Your Business

Without an effective search engine optimization (SEO) strategy to build a strong, competitive online presence, any small, medium or micro-sized enterprise (SMME) will struggle to be seen by their ideal customers.

This is not news to any savvy business owner: you know you need to be on top of your SEO game to be on top of your game. The tricky part is what SEO service to use to get there. Do you hire an elite SEO agency? Contract an SEO consultant? Hire an in-house SEO expert? Or go DIY and use artificial intelligence (AI)-driven SEO tools?

‘With 93% of buying experiences occurring through search engines, small businesses will miss out on essential revenue if they don’t improve their SEO presence’
– The Manifest – Small business SEO Statistics 2021

It’s a tricky decision to make, and if you keep reading to the end you’ll see there is a third “best-of-both worlds” option. But let’s start by breaking down the pros and cons of SEO professionals versus in-house SEO staff versus DIY SEO tools.

Outsourcing To The SEO Professionals

Whether you contract an elite SEO agency or independent SEO consultant, there are pros and cons to outsourcing your business’ SEO to these professionals.

The Pros

Elite SEO agencies will have large teams that include specialists in the various areas of SEO, such as backlinking, meta data and keywords. An independent SEO consultant or a single in-house SEO employee will not be able to provide the same level of specialized skills.

SEO agencies or SEO consulting service providers will generally have up-to-date knowledge across several industries. This will enable them to solve your companies SEO issues quickly and efficiently.

SEO agencies and SEO consultants work off strict timelines and deliverables, which means turnaround time to complete tasks and to see results can be quick.

With an SEO agency or an SEO consultant there is no waiting period to interview new staff and to integrate them into the business, and none of the HR hassles associated with hiring in-house.

 ‘If you are hiring a top-level SEO company to execute a local campaign, expect to pay $500.00+ per month. A national or international campaign will require a minimum budget of $2,500 to $5,000 a month’
– Search Engine Journal – SEO Cost Calculator – How Much Should You Budget for SEO Services?

The Cons

SEO agency services can be prohibitively expensive for small businesses.

Elite SEO agencies and the best SEO consultants will have loads of clients. So your small business may not be top priority compared to other big-roller clients.

Communicating with an SEO agency or independent SEO consultant can be a lot slower than communicating with internal staff.

There are many small fly-by-night SEO agencies and SEO consultants who promise the world and are good at convincing companies to come on board with attractive price tags, but then don’t deliver the promised results. So finding a credible, trustworthy SEO agency or SEO consultant can be time-consuming and comes with risks.

An SEO strategy takes at least 4 months to start seeing results. That’s four months of contract fees paid over to an SEO agency or SEO consultant before you know if the professional you have outsourced to is was worth their salt.

Hiring An In-House SEO Expert

Hiring an in-house SEO expert, perhaps even two, may seem like a cost effective option compared to the prices of elite SEO agencies and SEO consulting services. But this option can end up being more costly in the long run, both financially and in terms of productivity/HR admin.

The Pros

Having at least one dedicated SEO expert on staff who focuses solely on your company’s SEO needs means the work should happen quickly. Changes can be implemented right away and regular checking in on your website’s SEO progress is easier and quicker.

The in-house SEO expert will be part of the team and will ideally understand the companies’ values, culture and business goals, and can ensure this is carried out in your SEO strategy.

An in-house SEO expert can work with all the other departments within the company, like the sales crew, the IT guys, the marketing and human resources staff. This makes the room for collaboration much wider.

The Cons

The process of hiring and training new staff typically takes at least 28 days per staff member, and 1 to 2 years for them to be fully productive! That’s a long time to wait to start seeing SEO results and begin getting return on investment!

The cost of hiring a team of employees starts to make SEO agency and SEO consultant fees look like small change when benefits, leave and other permanent employee inclusions are factored in.

Theoretically, an in-house SEO expert should make the SEO work faster. But typically permanent employees get drawn into office meetings, training, they require annual leave etc. So in reality their deliverables may be slower than an external SEO partner.

The reality is that a solid SEO strategy requires at least 3 people with different roles: a project manager and strategist; the SEO expert undertaking the work; an expert SEO content writer. So hiring just one SEO expert just isn’t going to cut it in the long run.

On top of salary costs, your in-house SEO expert/s will still need SEO tools to perform their work effectively, and these come at an extra cost.

DIY With SEO Tools

There is a huge range of easy-to-use SEO tools on the market, enabling business owners to do their own SEO tools. But is this the right option for you?

The Pros

Many SEO tools are easy to learn how to use and user-friendly on a day-to-day basis.

Many SEO tools provide good recommendations of what you need to do to improve your website’s SEO ranking on a day-to-day basis.

Doing it yourself with SEO tools gives a business owner a deeper understanding of what SEO is all about.

You can decide which SEO ranking factors are most important for your business and focus your efforts accordingly.

The Cons

Some SEO tools are better than others in terms of efficacy and user-friendliness. The free trials are usually limited in scope, so you’ll only find out what a particular SEO tool’s shortcomings are once you’ve signed up and locked into a contract.

SEO tools vary in the features they offer. In order to choose the right tool, or tools, for your SEO needs you will need to have a good understanding of SEO. Otherwise you may waste your money buying tools you don’t need.

As user-friendly as SEO tools have become, you will still need to find the time to learn how to use them.

Most SEO tools only tell you what needs to be done. You then need to learn how to implement the recommendations and find time each day to do so. If you aren’t consistent, your SEO ranking can slip down quickly!

The Best-of-both Worlds Option

Looking at the pros and cons of all the above options it’s not hard to see why SMME owners are stuck between a rock and hard place. They can outsource to an elite SEO agency or SEO consulting service but this will cost top dollar.

‘Businesses spending more than $500/month on SEO are 53.3% more likely to be extremely satisfied’
– Search Engine Journal – SEO Cost Calculator: How Much Should You Budget for SEO Services?

Alternatively, they can hire in-house, but this may end up being more costly in the long run. Or they can DIY with AI-driven SEO tools, but then have to find the time to learn these tools and undertake the recommendations.

It’s clear none of these are ideal for SMMEs, which is why there we custom-built aiNANSI for small, medium and micro-sized businesses. aiNANSI combines the best of all available SEO options: the power of AI-driven SEO tools; in-house human expertise; SEO agency and SEO consulting level services.

The best part is aiNANSI is super affordable for SMMEs, fast, effective and 100% hassle-free. And it’s totally transparent, enabling business owners to track their SEO results 24/7 via a live reporting dashboard. This gives SMMEs full access to and control over their SEO investment at all times.

aiNANSI has a team of in-house SEO experts on hand to assist all clients, and each client is assigned a dedicated Account Manager to provide unparalleled customer service.

In addition to SEO packages covering all the key aspects of SEO for your website, aiNANSI also offers top-up SEO content packages. This ensures your website is always updated with relevant, professional content written by real people, which Google’s search engine really loves, especially in 2022!

These are just some of the features that make aiNANSI different to any other SEO solution out there. Find out more about Our Differences.

Interested in finding out how aiNANSI can tick all your SEO requirement boxes? Book an appointment with one of our SEO experts here.