One of the biggest reasons to work with an SEO agency is because you’re not sure what you need to do to optimize your site, so you need help. Why bother trying something on your own that might cause more problems than you need? If you don’t really understand SEO, hiring an SEO agency is the right move, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you should do on your own prior to working with an agency.

An SEO agency will be able to start from scratch with your website, but if you take a little bit of time to understand how it works and dabble in a few tasks yourself, you’ll find that everyone’s job is easier and success will come faster.

5 SEO Tasks to Work With before Reaching Out to an Agency

As discussed above, people sometimes want to blindly hire and agency to do everything so they don’t have to deal with it. However, some people want to keep a lot of control over their company, so they are unsure what exactly they can do to make that happen.

Whatever situation you find yourself dealing with, below are a few things to do before hiring an SEO agency:

  1. Create a set of goals.

While it’s true that an SEO agency can help you work with some of your goals, you should have a brainstorming session on your own. You don’t want anyone to influence your vision too drastically, so having a good foundation is crucial. You don’t need to have any specific SEO goals necessarily, but just what you want to accomplish in general. Coming to an agency and saying, “tell us what you think we should do” is much more time consuming than being prepared with your own goals.

  1. Work with a content writer.

This is something that many are hesitant about at first. Why should I hire my own writer? Can’t an agency do that for me? How will I direct them? It is true that almost all good SEO agencies will have their own set of writers to write content for you, but you’d be surprised at just how much content is needed to be successful with SEO. You need content for your blog, your website, but also other publications around the web.

I recommend working with your own content writer initially for your blog. This will help you sort out the vision you want for your content and it will help you keep control at the start of your business as you begin an SEO strategy. It also helps to have some solid content on your website initially so that SEO agencies have something to work with when you finally do hire them to help. Make sure you are hiring a writer of quality, however, which you can learn more about here.

  1. Start building relationships.

The more relationships you have under your belt the easier things will be for an agency. They will have their own sets of relationships to help you build backlinks and get your brand’s name out there to your audience, but having your own is also something you can do before hiring an agency. See who you can work with on your own and get a feel for what companies are out there, what type of partnership they’d like to create, etc. Most like to hear from company owners more than from an SEO agency, so this isn’t something you should push to the side if you can help it. As a whole, SEO is becoming more about relationships than anything else.

  1. Immerse yourself in social media.

Setting up social media accounts is actually very simple. You don’t need to worry about optimizing them or being too active right at the start, but setting them up on your own will help give you an idea of how social media can benefit your company. This will also help you feel like you have control over your social efforts even if an SEO agency starts to take over. You will be familiar with the networks and be able to give better feedback about a strategy.

  1. Read a basic SEO guide.

There are quite a few different things to know about SEO. It can be overwhelming at first (a big reason you may want to hire an SEO agency), but reading a beginners guide can help you understand why an agency might make the decisions it makes for your backlinks, source code, design, content, etc. This will cut down time on questions and might even give you a few ideas to mention when you go to hire an agency. After al, it’s important to know what questions to ask so you know that you’re hiring an agency that knows its stuff. A few basic guides I recommend:

The Beginners Guide to SEO

Search Engine Land’s Guide to SEO

2014 Beginner’s Guide to SEO

The Takeaway

In the end, completing some of these SEO tasks will help an SEO agency’s job a little bit easier. You will have a clearer set of goals, you’ll know what questions to ask, and you’ll have the tools to work with a few tactics on your own (such as social media or content). You won’t dig yourself into an SEO hole if you do these first.

What tasks do you think it’s important to complete on your own before working with an agency? Let us know your experiences and thoughts in the comment section below.