Should You Hire an SEO Specialist or Generalist?

SEO Specialist

Search engine optimization (SEO) is kind of like dentistry — without all the drills, shots and root canals, of course. Whether you should go with a specialist or generalist depends on what your goals are and your current situation. All SEO professionals have the same goal: To get more organic traffic and revenue for the client (kind of like the goal of all dentists is for patients to have nice, healthy teeth). However, the way you get there can vary drastically.

SEO gurus have a lot on their plates, acting as content developers, creative marketers, keyword analysts, and client cheerleaders. Some purists, like SEO blogger Joe Hall, say SEO should just be SEO, focusing on tasks like cleaning up problems stemming from the Google Penguin update, making sure URL structures are up to snuff, and taking care of redirects. While there is nothing wrong with “pure SEO,” that does not give clients everything they want. Should an SEO agency offer one-stop shopping, or act as a boutique? No matter which route you take, plenty of clients are looking for both.

SEO in 2015

Today, SEO is used as a catchall phrase to encompass many elements. Sometimes, you can use tech optimization alone to up organic traffic. Other times, a digital marketing strategy by itself will increase traffic. Many times, using both will result in even better traffic. There is a big demand for marketers to get more technical and vice versa — although the demand for techies to embrace more of the marketing side is not nearly as strong.

As such, two (unfortunately often opposing) sides have been created: The tech people and the marketing people. The tech people focus on code review, cleaning up penalties and the like. The marketing people have vision for developing content, digital strategies, and being UX (“user experience”) researchers. No matter what type of client you are, you’ll need both in order to achieve the most success. In the world of generalists versus specialists, is one better than the other?

Two Sides of One Coin

If clients hire specialists, they have a good chance of enjoying great results for that one task they hired them to do. If you are facing a penalty cleanup, a specialist is a good idea. However, if you want to increase organic traffic, you may be better off with a generalist. Otherwise, you may end up hiring two people for what should really be one job. Companies want the most bang and convenience for their buck, which has upped the demand for cross-platform SEO experts.

In no other industry do clients demand and expect a single professional to have a smorgasbord of expertise, and in reality, these skills and talents have little to do with one another. They want a marketer who is also a backend coder. Are there really people who are equally good at both?

You probably already intuit whether you need a generalist or a specialist, but you cannot expect any single SEO professional to have it all. A better approach is going with an established, smaller firm that has collected the best SEO professionals for you. This is where you can truly have it all, albeit not from a single person. After all, you wouldn’t hire a dentist-mechanic-sous chef and expect perfection, would you? If you’re not sure what type of SEO services you need, contact the experts Be Locally SEO today and let them help you get started with a plan.

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