We’re back in the saddle for another fun-filled post about SEO and doing it yourself.
Do-it-yourself SEO or DIY SEO, as it is also known as, can be quite an experience for the small business owner looking to take matters of SEO into their own hands.
Whether you have had a good or bad experience with SEO, in general, there is always a thought that crosses one’s mind that they too could optimize their website to rank well in search engines just as good as, if not better than, SEO professionals.
Some small business owners take to SEO coaching and consulting like a fish to water and succeed in learning, executing and sustaining sound SEO strategies and tactics to keep their websites highly visible and ranked in major search engines.
But with the good also comes the bad who were too smart for their own good, and stepped on the dark side of SEO due to being impatience, naïve or outright shrewd.
And for their unjust actions, they make their way back to me or another SEO professional, endlessly pleading with us to rescue their website from black-hat SEO snares, or penalization or de-indexation of their website in search engines.
I proclaim that anyone can learn do-it-yourself SEO and find success or failure doing so.
But where most small business owners go wrong is not truly considering all facets of do-it-yourself SEO in its entirety.
Most of the time, the do-it-yourself SEO approach is entered into blindly based on small business owners not having adequate resources as it relates to time, money and labor or effort.
And just like you need the S and E and O to spell SEO, you also need to have time, money and effort to invest in an ongoing SEO.
So before you launch into do-it-yourself SEO, let’s take a moment to discuss some common do-it-yourself SEO pitfalls, so you can thoroughly understand the pros and cons of do-it-yourself SEO before causing great harm to your business and having to call the SEO professionals in to clean up the mess.
Pros of Do-It-Yourself SEO
There is much success to be had by small business owners who have the time, money, and effort to invest in do-it-yourself SEO.
Do-it-yourself SEO goes beyond ranking well in search engines and gives small business owners an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of their website, search engines, and SEO, and how all three work together to hopefully growth a business in all facets.
Save money not outsourcing to 3rd party SEO Professionals
One of the biggest reasons for most small business owners to tackle do-it-yourself SEO is that you can save money when you implement proven, sound SEO tactics.
I know when potential customers are vetting Kickstart Commerce services, they want to know why they themselves can’t go do SEO alone and achieve the same results.
Essentially, they want the SEO performance and results, but not pay the cost.
In short, most small business owners are surprised when I inform, educate, and show them they too can perform SEO on their own without the cost, and not outsource to a 3rd party SEO professional or agency.
However, you may save money by not paying someone else, but it may take you more effort and time to achieve the same results a SEO professional or agency could.
But again, you as a small business owner have to consider and determine what is most important to you and your business.
Are you really saving money if it cost you double or more in both time and labor to achieve subpar results, in any?
If you can honestly answer yes to that question and have data to back it up, then you are well on your way to becoming a do-it-yourself SEO pro and expert.
Save time optimizing your website because of intimate industry knowledge
As it pertains to do-it-yourself SEO, one area I’ve always noticed potential customers and customers have always had an edge on Kickstart Commerce is truly understanding their industry, business and customer base.
It’s a critical and imperative step that must not be missed or dismissed by anyone, including SEO professionals.
When considering do-it-yourself SEO, possessing intimate industry knowledge of how your customers search, shop and buy will put you light years ahead of any SEO professional or agency.
Understanding traffic sources and which search keywords your customers use to arrive at your website will also help you as a business owner be able to communicate more effectively with both potential and existing customers.
Most of this intimate customer knowledge can be obtained or gleaned from your website using the following tools:
Learn SEO tactics and knowledge to increase ranking, traffic and conversion
One of the greatest benefits to learning SEO in a do-it-yourself approach, is that you truly learn SEO and don’t have to depend on outside sources ranking your website well in search engines or sustain rankings.
This alone is huge to most small business owners because they are able to put the money spent on SEO into other marketing and advertising opportunities.
In addition, do-it-yourself SEO provides you with greater clarity for how your website operates and functions as a 24 hour salesperson.
You’ll be more in tune to the inner workings of your website and able to sense and notice the difference in small changes, whether positive or negative.
Another great aspect of learning do-it-yourself SEO is the fact that should you have to hire SEO professionals or agency, both in-house and outsourced, you’ll be well versed in SEO to separate the good SEO from the bad and ugly, and the message from all the inaccurate or deceptive SEO noise.
Cons of Do-It-Yourself SEO
And for every good and successful do-it-yourself SEO story I hear about from small business owners, there are dozens that turn out bad, to say the least.
Most of the bad do-it-yourself SEO stories can occur due to wide number of reasons.
Some happen due to small business owners being impatient and knowingly taking a “by any means necessary” approach to rank.
Other do-it-yourself SEO efforts fail due to small business owners unknowingly executing bad or deceptive SEO strategies and tactics only to have their websites heavily penalized or de-indexed in search engines all together.
Either way, before you get blinded and all gung-ho about the pros of do-it-yourself SEO, make sure you do your due diligence in firmly considering the cons of do-it-yourself SEO.
If you don’t, you’ll pay dearly in search engines, and/or you’ll pay SEO professionals greatly to fix your SEO mess.
Cost in time, money and effort as opposed to outsourcing
Just as you can have success doing SEO yourself and not outsourcing, saving time, money and effort, you can also cost yourself, business and website across the board in time, money and effort.
Even though I coach and consult small business owners in do-it-yourself SEO and transparently give away the keys to the kingdom for how I rank Kickstart Commerce, it never fails that small business owners will spend 2-3 times as much money, time and effort.
It’s taken me 10 plus years to hone my web development and SEO chops to a point of bringing about SEO results in a matter of months, if not weeks in most cases.
So if it’s taken a professional that long to hone the skill, how in the world do you think it’ll only take you hours, days, weeks or months to achieve the same, if not more or less, results?
It’s not to say that you cannot or should not master do-it-yourself SEO, but one must do the math in determining how much money, time and effort it will take to pull off the SEO results that it would take to outsource SEO efforts.
Injure or harm your website due to SEO inexperience
A good number of forays into do-it-yourself SEO by small business owners ends up in their website being injured or harmed in a detrimental manner.
Most of this harm is due to the inexperience of the small business owner to understand the intricacies of SEO, most notably knowing the difference between white-hat SEO and black-hat SEO.
Even when small business owners understand the difference between sound and deceptive SEO practices, small business owners have a tendency to assign inexperienced staff to man their SEO efforts.
I’ve experienced a number of meetings and phone calls to where a SEO strategy or tactic had been unknowingly performed incorrectly, yet wreaked havoc on a website to the tune of heavy penalties and lost domain authority and rankings.
It pays to pay the professionals rather than chance it on the inexperience of yourself or unknowing and naïve staff.
Not keeping up with industry knowledge or the wrong SEO knowledge
Whether in-house or outsourced or doing SEO yourself, I can’t stress the importance in keeping up with both white-hat SEO and black-hat SEO knowledge period.
Most do-it-yourself SEO nightmares start with the small business owner scouring the internet and knowingly, or in most cases unknowingly, arriving at a black-hat blog and/or forum.
And in most cases, the small business owner took the first source they found as SEO Gospel, implementing and executing the deceptive strategies without giving it a second thought or reference.
Generally speaking, the same can be said for those who perform white-hat SEO and fail to keep up with the SEO industry.
I’ve had customers who elected not to hire Kickstart Commerce in favor of do-it-yourself SEO and they were successful for a season.
But in their laziness and carelessness to keep up with the forever-changing SEO knowledge, these once successful customers became victims by their own doing in performing outdated SEO strategies and tactics.
Their very own actions lead to heavy SEO penalties, and they end up having to complete re-develop their website and SEO effort from scratch, new website design, domain and all.
Conclusion of Do-It-Yourself SEO
This leads me to my final about do-it-yourself SEO regardless of the pros and cons, and it is that SEO is ongoing and not a one-time investment.
I meet and converse with a number of potential customers and find that most are looking for the quick answer or silver-bullet SEO.
When it comes to SEO, they have a champagne taste on Sprite budget and they need results like yesterday.
No matter if you decide do-it-yourself SEO is the best approach, or you hire in-house or outsourced SEO professionals, keep in mind that it will take time, effort and money to bring about results.
The greatest investment you can make is thoroughly informing and educating yourself about SEO in all facets before blindly jumping into a do-it-yourself SEO effort.