Is Paying for SEO Worth it?

This is a question that most businesses ask at least once. Is paying for search engine optimization (SEO) really worth it? Should we do it in-house? Should we not even worry about SEO?

It’s difficult to judge the effectiveness of something like SEO if you’re not very familiar with how Internet marketing in general works. But at this point, some level of SEO is absolutely required for most businesses to remain competitive within their industries.

On this page, we’ll dive into the pros and cons of paying for SEO. Keep reading to learn more, and give us a call at 888-601-5359 if you want to learn more about how SEO can help your business.

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What are the alternatives to paying for SEO?

We’ll start with the obvious: if you don’t want to pay for SEO, what are your other options?


For some business owners, this is a very valid option. There is an endless amount of information online about SEO for beginners, SEO best practices, SEO checklists, and so on. If you’re willing to put in the time upfront, it’s completely possible to self-teach SEO.

Pros of self-serve SEO:

  • It can be cheap
  • It can produce high ROI if you take the time to learn it thoroughly
  • It allows you direct control over the direction of your business’s online presence

Cons of self-serve SEO:

  • While the resources are out there, learning it is not always easy
  • You’ll have to identify and fix any issues or penalties yourself
  • You need to be able to invest a large portion of your time, at least, in the beginning
  • Depending on the size of your company and site, SEO can be a full-time job itself

All in all, DIY SEO is best-suited for those who have an interest in learning SEO along with the free time to devote to it.

Video: What is SEO?

Hire an in-house SEO

This option is definitely “paying for SEO” in a sense, although it’s more of a direct investment in your company than outsourcing SEO work would be.

Pros of an in-house hire:

  • You have direct access to, and more control over, your SEO efforts at all times
  • There’s none of the ambiguity that can come with outsourced work
  • If everything goes well, you’ll have your SEO work covered for years to come

Cons of an in-house hire:

  • It’s a large expense to take on another salaried employee
  • It’s not practical for some smaller companies
  • If their strategy doesn’t work, you could be thousands of dollars in the hole with nothing to show for it
  • Vetting potential candidates can be hard if you don’t have Internet marketing knowledge yourself

Paying for SEO

Now that you know the alternatives, let’s get back to the question: is paying for SEO worth it?

The first thing to understand about third-party SEO providers is that they vary in quality. If you get taken in by a scammy agency, paying for SEO is most definitely not worth it.

In fact, improper SEO work can actually be more detrimental to your business than no SEO work at all. SEO work that goes against best practices and search engine guidelines often results in penalties from Google, which means your website will no longer be indexed until the issues are fixed.

What about SEO from a legitimate agency?

Thankfully, there are agencies out there who provide legitimate strategies for improving their clients’ visibility online.

Working with one of these agencies can most definitely be well worth your money. These agencies make it their job to provide the best possible SEO work to their clients. They’re always up-to-date on SEO best practices, and ahead of the curve in adopting new marketing strategies.

Is paying for SEO worth it?

Let’s ask once more: is paying for SEO worth it? The answer is, “it depends.”

If you have the time and budget to find an Internet marketing agency to partner with, you will get quality SEO work done. You’ll also save yourself time, frustration, and money.

However, if you get stuck with a fly-by-night agency only interested in your budget, paying for their work is absolutely not worth it.

If you’re on a very tight budget, DIY SEO is always an option. If you stick to Google’s guidelines, your results will be better than no SEO at all. But learning will take a serious time investment, and you may be in trouble if something serious comes up that you don’t know how to deal with.

The bottom line: Paying for SEO is worth it if your business is in a position to do so, and if you partner with a legitimate agency with a proven track-record of SEO success.

Are you looking for an Internet marketing agency to partner with?

Finding the right agency to partner with is hard. To help, we’ve written an article that provides criteria for choosing the perfect Internet marketing agency for your business.

We’re clearly a little biased, but we believe that WebFX is a great option for most companies looking for high quality SEO work. Our expert team of Internet marketers has years of experience, delivering continued success to our clients. We know what it takes to execute a proper SEO strategy, and we’d love to partner with you and your business.

Check out our testimonials or portfolio for more information – we like letting them speak for themselves!

Contact us today for more information or a free quote.