I have often had people ask me, can I do my own SEO work? Well, certainly. Anyone can do their own SEO, with enough time and patience, and a desire to learn how to do it. Otherwise, they are, of course, paying someone to do it for them for a fee.

It all boils down to two things — time and money. If you have enough time and are short on money, then you can do those things that need to be done, after you have properly trained yourself on how to do them. Tons of information is available online about this. But, if time is more scarce, then of course money comes into play.

It’s kind of like changing the oil in my car… I am confident I could learn how to do it and do a fine job at it, even though I know it would take me four times longer than a mechanic. But, it’s just easier to have someone who knows what they are doing handle it for me, because, frankly, my time is money out of my pocket that I could be making doing something I do know how to do well.

Where Proper SEO Starts: Your Website Design

But, keep in mind, the term SEO covers a wide variety of topics and is very general. There is on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO type of work to be done. Proper SEO starts with taking a cold hard look at your website, to determine where it is failing you, and doing some intensive keyword research for your industry. Then you have to come up with a good SEO strategy and plan to work from.

The top things to drive your SEO plan that you should sort out first are:

  • Your website design and functionality
  • Your sales plan and target market
  • Your brand’s core message

Because, in the end, even if you get your SEO on point and are driving traffic to your site, it doesn’t do you any good if you can’t convert that traffic into sales once they get there. So, be prepared to get the most bang for your marketing dollars by making sure the traffic you are driving to your site is happy to get there when they do.

diy website design

I can’t tell you the number of times we have been asked to do SEO for a website that is, frankly, just horrible. It looks like it was built 15 years ago (and sometimes they were!), the menus and navigation are confusing to the website visitor, isn’t mobile responsive or friendly, or it is lacking critical information to share with website viewers.

And, sadly, some people are so “married” to a design they built themselves 5 years ago or paid “good money” to have built 10 years ago, they don’t seem to be able to let it go. You have to really sit back and ask yourself, is your website matching the standards, both aesthetically and in terms of usability, of the big players in your industry right now?

The unspoken rule of thumb is if your website hasn’t had an overhaul in 3 years, it’s about time to consider doing it. If it hasn’t been updated in 5 years or longer, it’s seriously out of date and looks like it too.

If you built the website yourself with your own two hands, that shows to your website visitors as well. Many probably wonder why you didn’t invest more money in your business’ single most important marketing tool — the website.

Unless you are a professional website designer, believe me, they know it was homemade or just a template from a drop-and-drag type service such as WIX or SquareSpace. And, while these drop-and-drag templates can look a bit better than going it alone — as long as you stick to the template provided and don’t try to “customize” it on your own — understand that they are horrible for SEO. Just horrible! I have watched people’s SEO skyrocket when the move away from a closed proprietary type system like these over to a WordPress site or some other well designed in the backend CMS.

So Can You DIY Your SEO By Yourself

Sure. I don’t see why you couldn’t. But I suggest spending a significant amount of time learning exactly what goes into creating an SEO strategy or plan and the steps involved. And, that SEO strategy plan is going to play a key part in how you move forward with your SEO efforts on your own.

And, the reason I said to learn first, is because I have seen a few business owners actually tank their SEO efforts by actions they have taken to try to DIY their own SEO.

I like to refer my clients to my favorite SEO guru, Brian Dean from Backlinko, for some great education on the subject. His SEO Checklist video is a great starting point and so worth the watch. You won’t be wasting your time by starting with this first. 🙂

If you want to give SEO a try on your own, I highly encourage you to start with this video.

What’s Involved in DIY SEO

I am never going to be able to teach you everything involved in SEO in a blog post. It’s just far too complex than that. My best suggestion is to search Google and YouTube. There are tons of videos and articles that are already doing just this, so I don’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel.

But, be aware that there are many facets, including:

  • Technical (backend) SEO
  • On-page SEO
  • Off-page SEO
  • Content marketing
  • Social media marketing (social proof)
  • Citations and directory link building
  • Online reputation management
  • And tons more!

You can subscribe to our blog and get articles on the subject dropped into your inbox occasionally. I do love to teach and talk about SEO, I just can’t properly cover it all and do it full justice in one small article.

DIY SEO Takes Constant Work

Remember, when you commit to doing your own SEO, that SEO is not a one-and-done type of task. It needs to be worked on a consistent, never-ending, basis for the most optimal results. Google and other search engines are always tweaking the algorithms they use to serve up websites in their search results, and if you aren’t constantly on top of your SEO you may be using 2014 strategies for it, in 2019, which doesn’t work anymore.

So understand from the get-go that you aren’t going to just be doing this work one time. You are constantly going to have to be tweaking your methodology, finding new keywords, analyzing the results of your Google Analytics and Google Search Console, and adjusting your strategies.

If you have the time to put into this and enjoy doing it, then go for it! It’s always nice to take control of these types of things for your business if time allows and you are properly educated in the process. But, more often then not, a business owner’s time is better spent making money to hire professionals to do it for them.

But, Paid SEO Work is So Expensive

I often hear people ask why our SEO packages start at $1K a month, and it’s because we put around 30 hours a month (minimum) into each client’s job when we are doing their SEO work. So, as you can see, the costs only roughly break down to about $33 an hour to have professional SEO work done on your site. That’s kind of a bargain for a skilled person handling your account, in any profession. I doubt one could hire an employee who is trained at SEO to work for less than that full time for them — and then you have to pay taxes, and benefits to retain them, on top of their base pay.

We have had people ask things like “can’t I just buy a couple of hours a month worth of work on my site?” and the answer is not really… no. While there are certain SEO tasks that can be done such as ghost blog writing, content copywriting, some citation and directory building, and a few other things, real long-term SEO that is targeting specific keywords you would like to rank for is going to take more than a coup of hours of work on our part each month. That’s why we only work on actual long-term SEO campaigns with people who are willing to invest 30 hours or more of time into their business for this.

We have had some people state, “Oh, you just use tools to do the work.” And, while we do use professional tools in our job, it’s still a time-intensive job and there is no computer program that we can just set and forget and have it do the work for us. There is still a large amount of time that gets put into the work by a real live person who draws a paycheck.

And, not to mention, those “tools” that are used are a super expensive cost to our business, not freebies. Most of them would cost the general business owner an investment of a couple of hundred dollars a month alone to use, on top of their time working their own SEO efforts. So that starts to make the prices for professional SEO make more sense.

Conclusion

So, that take away here is, do you have more time than money, along with a desire to master the skills needed to do your own SEO work? Or, is your time better spent making money for your business in order to invest in your online marketing and search engine rankings with a professional who knows what they are doing already? Only you can determine what is best for your particular situation.

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Nora Kramer

Designer + Brand Strategist at Nora Kramer Designs
Nora Kramer is a graphic designer, website developer, and online marketing consultant, based in the Tampa Bay, Florida area, with over two decades of experience in graphic design, website development and company branding. She also has a passion for photography and writing. Nora received the Charlie Award (1st Place) in 2002 for "Best Magazine Feature Article of the Year" from the Florida Magazine Association for a cover feature article she wrote for "Create," a graphic design magazine. You can follow all of her social media channels at about.me/norakramer.
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