Yesterday I read a blog post that said SEO was easy and you should do it yourself. The author said that thanks to WordPress and plugins like the Yoast SEO plugin, search engine optimization was now easy. It is true if you build your site or have it built using WordPress that there are a lot of different plugins available. The Yoast plugin for example enables you set meta title, description, and keyword tag (if you choose to use keyword tags). For every page on your website, it builds you an XML sitemap and adds breadcrumbs to every page.
It can also help to make sure your target keywords are placed in the content and other key sections of your page, what it doesn’t do is check your keyword density, which means it’s possible to over optimize your content and you could even get marked as a spammer by search engines.
Since recent Google updates, it is now more important than ever to find a professional website optimizer. Google’s Panda update now penalizes on-site optimization factors like the one I described above, their Penguin update targets off-site optimization factors, Google likes to call these off-site factors “web spam.”
But it’s not just the threat of penalties that should make you consider outsourcing your SEO, other good reasons to outsource include cost. You might be thinking “well that’s easy because if I do it myself, there won’t be any cost” but what about the cost of your time? If you run a service business and charge for your time, the time you spend on your SEO can’t be charged for, can it? Even if you don’t offer a service couldn’t you be looking for new business or ways to make your business more profitable?
Experience and Algorithm Changes
There is a learning curve with SEO and it’s also very hard to do your own online marketing and keep up to date with all the updates and algorithm changes. If you find someone who optimizes websites day in and day out they will not only know what currently works but also have their finger on the pulse and can keep you informed of any upcoming trends.
What if you just don’t bother with SEO?
Don’t bother, who needs it anyway? Having good search engine rankings is more important than ever and getting more important all the time. One reason for this is smart phones and their ever growing usage. When was the last time you looked in a local directory like Yellow Pages? I expect that if you need something, especially something locally, you just look it up on Google or Bing. The chances are most of your potential customers will be doing that too. If you don’t bother with optimization your competitors will and they will be taking your business.
But don’t just outsource to anyone!
Outsourcing to the wrong person can cause you a lot of problems because search engines can be very fickle. Using the wrong consultant or company could seriously damage your site for the long term. One key question to ask is how long will it take to get my site ranking? Some terms could take months to gain first page organic rankings and depending how competitive they are you may never rank. Keyword research is essential, if you haven’t built your website yet, make sure you choose your keywords before you do and choose them wisely. Include those keywords in your new sites content, image tags, etc.
Choose an online marketing provider that uses only white hat tactics and supplies regular reports with all the work they have done. Install analytics on your site so you can track your visitor numbers and see if they are going up.
Mark Stubbles is a serial entrepreneur, SEO expert and all round great bloke from the UK. He started online marketing when he was 27 and has now been building and optimising websites for 8 years. His latest venture is Panda SEO Services, where he offers his white hat online marketing skills for a small fee.
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Category: Startup Advice