These days there are two camps of opinions about SEO. There is the camp that claims SEO is dead and to look for other ways of generating traffic, and there is the camp that says SEO is a critical part of any strategy. Whenever I see polarization like that, it tells me that the real answer is somewhere in between. And this is why I am squarely in the middle on this issue.iStock_000017510524XSmall

Being in the middle means that I don’t ignore SEO and I don’t build my content around SEO either. The one consistent thing I hear is that you should write for your reader first and deal with SEO second.

How do I know if an SEO Strategy is right for me?

Despite what the experts say, taking on your SEO isn’t for everyone. There are some “personalities” and marketing styles that are more drawn to SEO as a strategy. For example, if you are a detail oriented person who loves competition and puzzles – you might enjoy using SEO as a strategy because it is very much a strategic puzzle and game where you compete against your results and the results of others. In other words – you have to be more passionate about your results than your topic. (I’m grossly over-generalizing here but you get the picture). Like anything else, to do SEO well, you have to have a sort of passion for it.

But what about the rest of us — who aren’t so driven by the game of rankings, but still want the benefits? It’s clear that we’re going to need some kind of SEO help, but how does a low-budget DIYMarketer create a great SEO strategy without braking the bank?

Why and How to Outsource Your SEO

To do SEO properly you need to create great and original content, publish that content, build links both pointing out to other sites and pointing in to your own and make sure that everything you do is optimized for your business’s name and the keywords you’ve chosen to focus on.

The truth is that a really great SEO campaign takes time and effort and it needs to be worked on every single day. Sure you’re a DiYer but good SEO can take up a lot of time and it won?t be long before you start trying to find ways to outsource it. But how do you do that? How do you make sure that the duties you outsource are going to be completed by professionals and not a group of Black Hat scammers who will shove your business’s rep down the stairs and through a wood chipper?

Consider Parceling it Out

There are lots of all in one SEO shops out there but maybe you want to retain control over some things. For example, maybe you want to create your own site content but don’t have time to do your own back linking. Hiring a company that specializes in one thing like creating back links (like SpreadEffect.com) or content and keyword tracking or reputation management can help you save a lot of time.

Google is Your Friend

Just like you use Google to track your own reputation, you can use Google to check out the reputation of any professional company you might consider hiring to help you with your SEO. Find out what people have to say about every company. Make sure to check independent reviews. Do not limit your search for testimonials to the candidate?s own website.

Know What to Look For

You know that black hat techniques are bad but do you know what they are? Black hat techniques include things like hiding keywords, creating link wheels, and sending out blasts that do little more than associate your business’s name with scamming. Look for mentions of these things in the descriptions of each candidate?s services. Someone who blasts comments out to thousands of websites in one day? likely uses black hat techniques. Sure these techniques might get you a quick rankings bump but they’ll decimate your long-term reputation.

Educate Yourself

The more you know about SEO, SEO tools and the construction of a great SEO campaign, the better. The more you know about these things the more you can work with anybody you hire to help create the strongest possible campaign for your business. This is something else you need to look for. A company worth hiring is one that will value your input and one that will help you learn more about the world of SEO. A company that pressures you to let them handle all of the details and just ?enjoy the rewards? is probably shady.

Finally, always trust your gut. What is the impression that you get when you look at one company and compare it to another? Always go with your gut.