Search engine optimization (SEO) has long been an important strategy for business success, and it’s becoming more relevant. More people are ditching desktops and laptops in favor of mobile-only devices, and conversion rates on smartphones are 15 times higher from searches than as a result of social media recommendations. Need more convincing? Take a look at these statistics:

  • 81 percent of B2B buyers start with a web search, and 9 out of 10 B2B buyers say “they’ll find you” when they’re ready to make a purchase.
  • 78 percent of internet users in the U.S. researched products and services online in 2013, with more than 10.3 billion monthly Google searches.

SEO can bring a lot of value, so whether you should be managing it yourself is worth some thought. Here are seven compelling reasons to hire a pro.

1. SEO is not easy.

Read an article about on-page SEO best practices and you might think you have it all figured out. In reality, an effective SEO strategy covers a lot of ground. There are technical considerations specific to your website, content optimization, user experience and effective backlinking. Not to mention optimization for other emerging rank factors such as RankBrain and social. And what about your local SEO efforts? A professional can recommend and execute the best strategies for each.

Related: SEO is So Hard That Even Google Needs Help With It

2. The rules keep changing.

Even if you take the time to read five books on SEO and become a self-taught expert, it’s a temporary expertise at best. Google regularly rolls out major and minor algorithm changes.

That doesn’t even include the changes they don’t tell you about. Some of them effectively rewrite the SEO rulebook. RankBrain is one of the top three rank factors now, and Google didn't clue in marketers for months.

As an online marketer, you likely don’t have the time or resources to identify, understand and optimize for every change Google makes. It's an SEO pro’s job to pay attention to algorithm changes and how they affect search engine results pages (SERPs). True experts understand how to monitor for under-the-radar updates as well.

3. Mistakes can hurt you.

Not all SEO is good SEO. Some tactics actually can hurt your rank in search, or worse, get you penalized. Steer clear of these:

  • Getting artificial backlinks
  • Stuffing keywords
  • Using unrelated keywords
  • Cloaking
  • Duplicating content

An SEO pro knows how to avoid these pitfalls and fix any implementation mistakes you've already made.

Related: Top 7 Things You Don't Know About SEO

4. The pros have the right tools.

Resources abound to help you develop an effective SEO campaign. But you’re a busy marketer, so you might not even know about some of them. Others cost more money than your budget allows.

Advanced analytics programs offer features that Google Analytics can’t provide. Premium keyword research tools provide greater context and extra insights into keyword relevance, competition, search volume and more.

A professional SEO expert invests in the most important software to improve your SEO. On top of that, she or he will know the best application for every tool.

5. They offer robust analytics.

SEO software helps you see the nuances of your efforts. It identifies which keywords and placement strategies are driving results and which aren’t. This information is invaluable because it allows you to tweak your SEO efforts for maximum impact on your specific audience.

But SEO software can be complicated. Seeing your analytics doesn’t mean you’ll have a clear picture of what it means for your SEO or how you can fix it. You might notice a high bounce rate on your landing page, but can you determine why?

SEO professionals understand the relationships among your key performance indicators. They'll use that knowledge to tease out a strategy that improves the customer journey through your online presence.

Related: 10 Questions You Need Answered Before Signing With an SEO Firm

6. They keep track of your competitors.

Competitor analysis is a big part of getting the most from your overall SEO efforts. A professional can identify the best strategies to set you apart from your competition. Even better, an SEO expert with experience in your field will know what has and hasn’t worked for similar businesses. These insights can inform other aspects of your business efforts. Suddenly, your SEO professional is an integral part of helping create a unique selling proposition, decide which audiences to target, brainstorming content topics and more.

7. There’s serious ROI potential.

SEO offers a unique opportunity for return on investment (ROI). Unlike any other kind of offline or online advertising, SEO targets people who are specifically looking for the products and services you offer. Traditional advertisements -- and even pay-per-click models (PPC) -- can require a significant financial investment to be worthwhile. Professional SEO services, on the other hand, can be quite affordable. And they can deliver results that continue boosting your bottom line down the road.

Hire a pro who knows how to do SEO the right way and take advantage of more dividends than with any other marketing strategy. Know any other reasons why it’s a good idea to hire a professional to manage SEO? Comment below to add your voice to the conversation.