Having an in house SEO expert is absolutely wonderful, that said, expect to pay $150,000 – $200,000/yr for people who truly are experts.
What Do Good Local SEO Experts Charge?
I personally am trying to hire an SEO expert myself, and even with a $150,000 budget, the low-stress, 100% remote, flexible hours position remains open.
Sure, you can put up a job posting on Indeed and offer up a 70k salary and you’ll get 300 resumes in about 72hrs. But, if you know more than enough to be dangerous, you’re going to delete 100% of those resumes. Seasoned SEOs are most definitely not applying to those positions.
What To Look for when Hiring In-House:
If you are hiring top talent you will need to either poach the ideal candidate, get extremely lucky with a job listing, or find a freelancer willing to go full time.
Most SEOs specialize in something. Examples:
- Some are purely “white hat”, while some are willing to bend the rules, and know which rules may be (carefully) bent.
- Some are good at linkbuilding, a mandatory skill for personal injury firms. However, most are not.
- Some focus too much on “on-site” or technical SEO
Skills an SEO Expert should have:
- Link-building experience, with dozens of proven results
- GBP – Google Business Page suspensions, redressal, verifications, reinstatement
- GSC – Google Search Console
- GA4 – Google Analytics 4
- GTM – Google Tag Manafer
- Technical skills – Ability to migrate websites, update DNS records, etc
- Content management experience – Our expert writers create “people-first content” here, which is then placed online by the SEO, then styled by a designer.
- Communication – if you have a marketing manager, public relations professional, and/or someone who is active in the community, your SEO expert should be in touch with them frequently to ensure all link opportunities are being taken advantage of.
Less Useful Skills:
A lot of people in the SEO world spend too much time doing “keyword research” and “competitor analysis”. You can only get so far copying everyone else. We have been, we are, and we will be, in control of the sites blazing trails and getting copied. You have to be ahead of the curve, not playing catch up.
A lot of people in the SEO world try writing. This is a bad idea 99% of the time. If you’re going to hire a full time SEO expert, you’re going to need in-house writers as well.
Technical SEO is mandatory, but, many of the tasks are one time events. Setting up WordPress, installing Yoast, HTTPS, etc is now done in a matter of minutes. It’s just not an ongoing thing. Optimizing a site for speed is something which will only take a skilled SEO expert a day or so. For sites with under 5,000 pages, technical SEO is just not something anyone should be spending any significant amount of time on, assuming they have a GOOD website.
A Jack of All Trades is a Master of None.
True SEO experts do SEO. They understand the technical side. They’re proactive. They may have 1 additional digital marketing skill which they’re great at, such as link-building, or PR, or graphics design, or maybe some experience running Facebook ads or something, but, they do SEO. Asking an SEO expert to run your TikTok account is like asking your plumber to perform surgery on you – he might be willing to do it, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it.
In general, these are usually skillets all of their own:
- Social Media
- Content Writing
- Graphics Design
- Website Design
- PPC Management
Agency SEO vs In-House SEO:
There are several personal injury law firms with a full blown in house marketing department. Most firms who are not willing to hire a team of marketers will be much better off hiring an SEO agency.
If you’ve been burned by SEO agencies in the past, it’s time you read about SEO for Personal Injury Law Firms to see why we’re different.