Search Engine Optimisation – Doing it yourself Vs. Hiring a professional
SEO is often talked about as a dark art and for some it connotes scammy practices associated with the dark underbelly of the internet. The reality is that whilst there are still numerous so called SEO providers who use spam-tastic tactics in an attempt to temporarily climb the Google ladder (yes I also get these badly phrased emails every single day), there are also plenty of top quality professionals available to undertake this process for you.
The question I am asking today is whether there are benefits to ‘doing’ SEO yourself and I will be assessing the pros and cons of going it alone versus hiring a professional.
How Do I Learn SEO?
If I look back to a time when I had very little SEO knowledge it not only seems a very long time ago in terms of the years gone by, but it signifies a vast amount of actual man hours when it comes to research, wasting time and money on poor training and ineffective tools, testing, creating, destroying, starting over etc.
The truth of it is this – Yes… you can learn SEO for very little cost….
BUT… (and this is the crucial but)
… it is going to take you an awful long time (and indirectly it will cost you).
The good news is that there is a wealth of information out there for business owners aspiring to improve their search rankings.
The bad news is that there is a wealth of information out there for business owners aspiring to improve their search rankings.
Whilst it is wonderful that there is some quality free training all over YouTube there is also an awful lot that is just plain awful. In fact, if you follow some of the bad stuff then you are actually going to do more harm than good to your website. This is exactly why when we take a new client on we ask them not to do anything even slightly SEO related to their website.
There are other online courses that start from around $30 per month (most of them are US based) but you can expect to pay north of $800 per month for the very best content (until now perhaps – keep reading for the details).
The Pros of Implementing Your Own SEO
The number one benefit of doing your own SEO is that you know exactly what is being done to boost your website – both on page and off page. You know where the links are coming from that are powering your site and you know how risky you are playing it in terms of picking up a penalty. In my experience – risks are not good when it comes to working on client business sites – but some (mainly the cheaper) SEO companies do use ridiculously high risk strategies to give short term ranking boosts. If you are doing your own work then you know that you are going slow and steady without risking a penalty from Google.
The other key benefit to doing you own SEO is that you are not going to be paying a high short term cost. SEO can seem expensive when compared to other marketing methods (particularly pay per click) because in the first few months it doesn’t necessarily provide a return on investment. If you have the knowledge, skill and resources then you can avoid this heavy initial investment.
If you have multiple online presences then there is an added incentive to learning SEO as you can implement your new found skills across multiple channels making the time spent on learning more cost effective. Imagine you have 5 business websites and you are paying £700 per month on all of them for an SEO professional. Is it worth your time learning and implementing SEO to save the £3500 per month outlay – it is certainly easier to justify than just saving £700 per month for pretty much the same time investment.
The Cons of Implementing Your Own SEO
The single biggest concern when considering doing your own SEO is that you get your website completely de-indexed by Google. Now, don’t get me wrong – this is something that you can come back from but it is definitely something you want to avoid. However, you should also be aware that there is lots (and I mean lots) of ‘free’ training out there that could lead to a penalty for your website.
The trouble with the ‘free’ training is that it is hardly ever free. In other words, it is going to cost you somewhere along the line. Shortcuts are also almost never the answer. Anything that promises a ‘get rich quick’ or ‘rank overnight’ solution is almost always not going to help you in the long term! Avoid these at all costs!
The single biggest deterrent for most business owners who consider learning SEO is time. Sifting the good from the bad training is going to be time consuming and even when you find a good set of training you are still going to spend an awful lot of time learning – and that’s before you even do anything to your website.
To put this in to some kind of context I would say that a good SEO never stops learning and for myself personally I have spent in excess of 2000 hours just on the training aspect of SEO – not to mention the implementing and testing. That’s more time than you would spend on a full time degree!
Now of course, it may be that your business is in a less competitive niche or that you are located somewhere where there is minimal competition so you don’t need a skill level quite so refined to rank position one – but the risk of a penalty will still be there if you haven’t mastered the basics.
The other consideration that many people don’t think about is the financial cost. There is a cost associated with SEO. An SEO professional can cut the cost associated with individual projects by utilising tools and resources across multiple projects. However, if you are running just one project for yourself then the costs of SEO are going to be higher. These costs are associated more with the off-page SEO than the on-page, but it is the former that is going to make or break your success levels. If SEO was cheap, then everyone would be doing it – this is also why we don’t do one size fits all pricing structures as each project will need different levels of resources throwing at it.
Is there a middle ground?
The decision as to whether you should take on your own SEO is one that only you can make as it will depend on your available resources. If you have a marketing budget but little time then hiring an SEO expert is going to be the best decision. If you have time but little in the means of budget then you might be best served to go it alone…. But alone is a scary concept… until now (I told you we had something exciting to say).
Introducing our SEO Training and Support
Starting on 1st April we are going to be launching our first ever fully loaded SEO training course. The course will be completely accessible online and will cover all aspects of local and national SEO and will give you the knowledge needed to rank your business website.
Not only that, but we will have regular opportunities to offer more support through online coaching sessions.
The course will be video based and will give you access to all of the following topics and more:
On-page SEO vs. Off Page SEO
Choosing a URL
Power of the TLD
Hosting – Https vs. Http
On Page SEO – URL, Meta-data, Content, Images, Outbound links, UX
Off-page SEO – Link Building, Social Empire,
Understanding juice flow
Playing safe and smart – social empire building
Anchor Text – relevancy
The metrics – DA/PA, TF/CF, UR/DR,
Understanding Google Analytics
Mastering Webmaster Tools
The Must Have SEO Tools
Local SEO – Citations
We want all of our clients to have an improved knowledge of SEO as the better their understanding the better they will be able to judge the service we provide. For those business owners who can’t quite stretch to the full service we offer we wanted to provide an alternative option.
For just £39.99 per month, you get full access to all of our training materials as well as regular updates and the weekly online coaching sessions. It also gives access to our email support should you need an answer more urgently.
As a special introductory offer, those who sign up prior to the 1st April launch will get 25% off the price meaning that you will pay just £29.99 per month for all this content. This is a very low price point for this level of training and depending on the success of the launch the price could increase. We have 100 spots in our first intake so if you are interested – don’t delay and register your interest here.