Can I Do SEO Myself, Or Should I Hire a Professional?
In a largely online world, SEO is important for businesses to drive traffic to their website and improve their online visibility. Most businesses benefit from SEO, as better search engine rankings drive traffic and customers to their websites and storefronts.
A professional SEO campaign can be expensive, however. SEO costs vary based on factors like location, the needs of your website, and more, but it’s an investment nonetheless. Many business owners find themselves wondering, “Can I do SEO myself?”.
Learn whether do-it-yourself SEO is the right choice for you and your business!
Can You Do SEO Yourself?
The answer is yes – you can do SEO yourself, but it will take time and effort. It’s worth considering if it’s really worth your time to learn and implement SEO, or if you would be better served by a professional SEO company so that you can focus on other aspects of your business.
If you’ve already got your hands full juggling multiple roles as a business owner, you may not have the bandwidth to do SEO on your own. Learning SEO takes time, especially if you have not worked with online website platforms before.
Even experienced SEOs invest significant time and effort into every project, as real results take time and continued efforts.
If you have the time and inclination, however, anyone can learn how to use search engine optimization to improve their website’s performance.
Is it Difficult to Do SEO Yourself?
It can be difficult to do SEO yourself. More than difficult, it can be time consuming – and frustrating if you do not see the results you hope for after months of effort.
SEO itself is not difficult, but if you are starting fresh, it can take time to learn, understand, and implement best practices. If you’ve never worked on a website before, there’s another learning curve to master. You don’t want to mess up your website in your efforts to improve it.
If you are also a business owner, you may have other responsibilities on your plate that make it difficult to put in the work that SEO requires.
Ultimately, it is very possible to do SEO on your own. Just remember to be patient, as results will not come overnight and it may take some trial and error to find what works.
How To Do SEO Yourself
Search engine optimization is a multi-faceted concept, so there are many things that you can do to get started. We recommend reading up on the fundamentals of SEO to start and to give you a basic understanding of how SEO works.
Our basic SEO checklist is another helpful starting point for those without any SEO done on their website. We recommend tools and techniques to get your website off the ground and into Google’s search results.
SEO is often broken into on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-page refers to what is on your website pages – the keywords you use, titles, URL structure, images, and other elements.
Off-page refers to elements that are not directly on your website, like who links to your site, how many links are pointed at your domain, the quality of those links, and social profiles.
Use the following tips to get your DIY SEO campaign started.
Consider Your Audience
Who are you trying to reach? Who are you hoping to draw in to your website to learn more about your business? Knowing your target audience is the key to any marketing campaign, so it’s vital for SEO as well.
Figure out who your target audience is, considering demographics as well as brand identity. This will make it easier to optimize your website to attract that specific audience as you move forward.
Consider Your Competition
Considering the competition is just as important as your target audience. Who directly competes with your business? What websites outrank your site for the terms you are targeting?
For SEO purposes, figuring out who your competitors are can help guide your own process. If you find a competitor that has an amazing website with all the features and content you hope to have on yours, you can learn from them to improve your own rankings.
See what they did right that works for them, and find ways to improve upon their ideas to create a unique advantage for your website.
Set Up Analytics
If you don’t know where you’re starting, you won’t know how you’re progressing. Audit your website as it is to check its current SEO score, rankings, and learn about any other potential issues.
For example, if you run a page speed test and learn that your site is slow, you’ll need to figure out how to speed it up.
Begin Keyword Research
Keywords are the backbone of your on-page SEO strategy. By keywords, we mean any word or phrase that people search for on search engines like Google. It’s important to identify and target keywords that fit with your business so that people searching for those keywords can find your website.
For example, if you work as a roofing contractor in Santa Monica, you likely want to rank for keywords like “Santa Monica roofing”, “roofing company in Santa Monica”, “roof repair Santa Monica”, and other ways that people look to find roofers in your area.
Figure out what your main target keywords are – these are the high level words and phrases that people might search to find your business.
You should also consider smaller keywords as well, however. Long-tail keywords are more specific, smaller volume keywords that can help create context for your website. These smaller keywords are typically easier to rank, so they can help your website begin to draw in traffic while you work to capture those larger, big picture keywords.
Using our last example of a roofing contractor, you might want to consider long-tail keywords like “what to do if your roof leaks”, “how to know if you need roof repairs”, or “how to decide between roof repair and replacement”. This kind of information makes for great blog content to add more context to your website.
Optimize Your Pages for Search Engines
Perhaps you already have a website full of interesting and informative content about your business. If your pages are not ranking, however, they may need some adjusting.
Learn how to optimize SEO content, or use page auditing tools to figure out how to improve your pages. The basic principles of SEO include using keywords, so make sure that you use the keywords you found on your landing pages.
One of the most important things to consider on any page is what some SEO experts call the Three Kings – the URL, H1 or title of your page, and the meta title. The meta title is the title that appears on Google search results, as opposed to the title on your website page itself.
Make sure that the three kings include your target keyword or keywords. This helps Google understand what you are discussing on the page better, and this should be the first thing you look at when optimizing a page on your website.
Use other on-page optimization tips to ensure that your page is optimized for search engines.
Fix Technical Issues on Your Site
Fixing the content on a website page is relatively easy, even for the technologically challenged. Fixing your website’s technical issues is a bit more difficult for beginners to SEO.
Use SEO audits to learn how your website is functioning, and to determine if there’s anything you can easily fix yourself. Some common issues include site speed and security. If your web address begins with “http” consider changing to an “https” site for better security.
To improve page speed, look out for recommendations from whichever speed test you use. You can also consider making images smaller and choosing the best hosting platform for your website to improve the load time on your website.
Try to Build Links
Link building is no small feat, and every website on the internet is vying for potential link opportunities. Backlinks are the most important off-page factor to consider, as the more websites that link to yours, the more Google considers your site trustworthy and authoritative.
One important piece of advice: do not buy cheap, spammy links. Natural link building always works better than purchasing a link, as search engines like Google assess the quality of the links as well.
Use our favorite link building tools, or ask for help from an SEO consultant or agency to start a link building campaign.
You can also begin to improve your website’s backlink profile with general citations, social profiles, and press releases.
Learn SEO at Home
Can I do SEO myself? The answer is yes, but it will take significant time and effort, both to learn and implement SEO practices.
If you don’t have the time to dedicate to your website, consider working with an experienced SEO company. Contact us at SEO Digital Group to learn more about how we can help improve your website and grow your business.