DIY (Do It Yourself) SEO: Is it a Viable Option?
DIY (Do It Yourself) SEO: Is it a Viable Option?
So you’ve read about do it yourself home improvement, design, craft and landscaping… but what about do it yourself SEO (Search Engine Optimization)? If you’re wondering whether or not it is a practical alternative, all you really need to do is walk into a professional SEO firm and take a look around you. SEO, copywriting, designing, programming, backlinking, social media, public relations… Can all of these tasks really be done by anyone other than a qualified Internet Marketing firm? Even for a single website, can SEO be well executed by amateurs in a manner that strictly adheres to Google’s endless changes and boost your website’s business performance – without consuming too much of your precious time or boring you to death with the highly technical and often tedious nature of SEO? Here are eight reasons for you to leave your SEO and Internet Marketing in the hands of the experts.
1. Highly Methodical Process
SEO involves a highly systematic and ongoing process of testing, measuring, tracking and improving in order to increase the visibility of your online business. There are quite literally hundreds of detailed steps that go into successful SEO… many of which go beyond the naked eye. It’s the behind the scenes preparation which requires a great attention to detail, research, creativity and data analysis. You really need to be certain that your competitive analysis, keyword research, web copy, web design, sitemap, inbound / external links and social media strategy complement each other and effectively come together to yield successful Search Engine Optimization. For instance, your web copy must complement your web design. And it doesn’t stop there. Tracking and comparing the effectiveness of your SEO efforts is just as important as the efforts themselves. Bottom line is… Sure, you can read about this process online but a lot of the information is often inaccurate, out-of-date and tedious and quite frankly might not even register in your head. Technical terminology will fly right past beginners.
2. You Must Have the Right Tools
There are so many tools readily available on the Internet that it’s hard to know which ones to use first. Unfortunately, like most things in life, not all of these tools are free either. If you take the challenge of DIY SEO, you run the risk of spending your hard earned money on the wrong tools. You need to ask yourself the following questions.
a) What exactly will this tool help me to achieve?
b) Is this tool absolutely necessary in order for me to excel in my SEO goals?
c) How do I efficiently and effectively use this tool?
d) Is this tool similar to another tool?
e) How should I compare and prioritize them?
If you choose to invest in a well reputed SEO firm, however, you can rest assured that your money is being allocated towards the right resources. Other than Google Analytics, here are just a handful of the tools you need to use daily and have a thorough understanding of in order to achieve your SEO objectives:
Open Site Explorer is useful for analyzing backlinks. Backlinks are links back to your website and obtaining quality backlinks is extremely important to increase traffic. With this tool, you will be able to submit a domain and view the pages that are linking to it. It will display informational metrics as well as a detailed analysis of each page in your website.
SpyFu is the ultimate multitasker. With this tool you can begin your competitive analysis by inserting up to three different domains. The program will automatically compare Pay per Click rate, keywords and organic search of the sites. Equipped with detailed graphs and the ability to analyze domains in depth, this tool does it all.
Majestic SEO is another fully equipped tool that lets you analyze data. It reports basic information like anchor text, main linking domains, IP addresses, TLDs and important pages with minimal effort. You also have the option to filter out low quality websites.
3. Time Consuming
As mentioned earlier, SEO involves an on-going process of tracking, measuring, analyzing and strategizing. The copywriting process alone involves thorough keyword / topic research, scheduling, content creation, proofing / editing, more scheduling, implementation, promotion and syndication and must be repeated for each and every single webpage on your website. This can be an entirely too time consuming, and not to mention, tedious task, for an already busy business to manage all by their lonesome. Quality SEO firms have at the very least a dozen trained individuals whose input at various stages makes these pro-longed and often humdrum tasks manageable and of course, effective.
4. You Must be a Jack of All Trades
Believe it or not, success in SEO entails much more than simply being an SEO expert. You must be well rounded in several different occupations. Other than SEO specialist, you must also learn to be a chameleon in other specialty occupations such as a copywriter, designer, programmer, link bait savvy, social media guru and public relations specialist. If you believe that all copywriters do is work with the letters A-Z – Think again. There is much more to the art than you think. And with Google pushing quality, user-friendly content, you’re going to have to be extremely confident in your teams writing capabilities. Even if you do choose to outsource, it’s highly likely that the content will lack authority, especially if you’re in a technical industry. Consistency in style and tone will also be an issue.
Furthermore, if you believe that having a Facebook and Twitter account for your business is all you need to succeed in social media, you’re sadly mistaken. Social media extends far beyond Facebook and Twitter and there is quite a great deal of strategizing that goes into building your social media following. A professional SEO firm with a thorough recruitment process will guarantee that you only get highly qualified individuals who specialize in the above mentioned roles.
5. The Internet and its Ranking Rules are Constantly Changing
Let’s take a brief look at the history of Google’s algorithm updates. Back in November of 2003 was the Florida update… Then in September of 2005 came the Jagger update. February 2009 brought us the Vince update followed by the Real-Time Search update 11 months later. Finally, Google’s notorious Panda surfaced in February of 2011 shortly followed by the Search + Your World update and Happy Feet’s evil twin Penguin in April of this year. These updates continue to tell us something: User is King. Google is constantly changing and its updates are becoming more and more frequent as the years pass by. In fact, it is estimated that over 500 individual algorithm updates have occurred in each of the last 3 years. Unless you’ve got a hawk’s eye vision on Google, you’re likely to get it wrong as it’s easy to miss something.
6. You Might Overspend on Your SEO Investment
Deciding which tools to pay for is just the start. As mentioned earlier, you want to make sure that you don’t spend on tools that are too similar to each other (duplication) or won’t really help you to obtain your SEO goals – especially if they’re available for free. Furthermore, if you’re outsourcing your content, you also want to make sure that you have just the right amount of articles per month. How many articles do you need monthly in order to increase your keyword breadth (the diversity of unique terms searchers use to reach your website) and boost your rankings for select keywords? Should they be Power Articles or regular articles? Remember that if you outsource, writers usually charge on a per word basis. What about guest blogging? Posting on a blog with a high authority quotient is a great way to obtain organic links back to your website and consequently boost your authority. Some guest posts, known as sponsored guest posts, however, will cost you money. Should you invest in a sponsored guest post? With who? How many should you do? Leave these tough questions to the SEO specialists.
7. You Might Leave a Lot of Money on the Table
It’s important to remember that search volumes for keywords fluctuate frequently. What users are searching for one day may not be what they are searching for the next. Missed opportunities can result if you don’t make an effort to stay on top of keyword trends. Programs such as Google Insights for Search can direct you to the right kinds of keywords to use and also help you to zone in on trends for any given time period. You also might not be publishing enough articles on a monthly basis. This will prevent you from reaching your keyword breadth goals and therefore you will attract less people through search meaning potentially less money in your pocket.
8. You Might be Penalized for Bad Practices
We recently published an article on Google Reconsideration Requests for those of you whose websites might have been penalized by Google. Google’s recent and controversial Panda-Penguin updates have been the cause of great anxiety for all website owners. The updates, however, send a strong message to online businesses knowingly or unknowingly partaking in poor SEO. Make sure you’re following best practices by building for the users and not the search engines. Low quality content and spam link building practices will no longer be tolerated by Google and are being penalized daily. Google penalties range from a loss of rankings to a complete ban of your site. Invest in an experienced SEO firm to help you produce great, user-friendly content. The naturally occurring backlinks will soon follow as a result. Remember that naturally occurring backlinks, otherwise known as organic backlinks, occur when websites voluntarily link to your content because it shows authority, relevance and credibility.
We understand that you may want to save money by cutting a few corners and doing SEO yourself. The truth is that there are no shortcuts in SEO. Your visibility must be earned. Yes, a professional SEO firm can be a costly, but think of it as a wise investment with potentially positive return. If you’re worried about paying a hefty sum of money to an SEO firm and not seeing any results, consider an SEO company with a Pay for Performance model. Optimum7 has just such a model where the fee you pay is in direct proportion to measured results. Contact Us today for a free initial no obligation consultation!