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While Not Brain Surgery, Search Engine Optimization Is Best Done by a Pro
Can the average business owner or manager do their own SEO? Yes, but – and there are a lot of “buts” to consider – is it a good idea?
- You don’t get a treatment plan before your doctor examines you and gives a diagnosis.
- Your orthodontist won’t train you so you can straighten your own teeth.
- You can’t get in shape just because you signed up for a gym membership.
Yet business owners often think of Search Engine Optimization as a cheap and easy Do-It-Yourself task. Maybe it’s time to dispel that assumption. Let’s run through the steps for improving a website’s SEO so you can see the effort it takes and make your own decision on whether it’s a DIY project worth your time:
Audit your current website.
An audit will determine what has already been done and what should be done next. That prevents duplicating efforts and plans steps in the proper sequence. For instance, it’s useless to rewrite the content of a web page before search term analysis has been completed.
There are auditing tools that report a website’s weaknesses. While some free tools are available, the best ones are not free, and they are a bit expensive to run for just one website. Agencies that provide audits on a regular basis already have subscriptions to these tools, so working with an agency can give you more information for less money.
Set up measurement.
If you don’t measure, you can’t know if you’re improving. Either you or your SEO pro will need a way to track your website’s progress. Google offers a system (the current version is called "GA4") that measures traffic at your website, but it is difficult to learn, plus there is other data to be weighed as well, including from social media, Google Business Profile, other websites, and more.
Search engines rely on keywords to index your web pages and then serve them up when a user is searching online. It can be a tricky balancing act to figure out the best terms to use.
If you are an insurance agency, it might seem like a no-brainer to use the keyword “insurance.” True, the number of searches for “insurance” last month was nearly a million, but it has huge competition with other websites, so the chances of a prospective client finding you using that particular keyword is pretty darned slim.
That’s why in addition to the obvious terms, it is important to include words that are less searched for, but which will serve up your website more often and higher in the list. Fortunately, there are tools that can help find that right balance, usually only available to SEO Pros.
Optimize website content, meta tags, and site map.
This is where it gets more technical. While the average person might be comfortable writing content that includes newly researched keywords, figuring out where meta tags are in the website code and how to update them can be frustrating. A tech expert can take care of these tasks much faster and more accurately.
What your website says is only half the SEO battle. The other half is what others say about you. Search Engine Optimization also involves links back to your site. Building links from “good” websites helps boost your site’s trustworthiness, but you also want to sever connections from “bad” websites. Again, agencies have better access to tools for this and can do it quicker and better.
Measure and report.
After doing all of this work, you’re going to want to see the results. And once you have some results, you’ll need to analyze what it all means. What kind of improvement should you see in one month? How about in six months? Should this number be going up or down? Is this a big change or just a modest one? When you don’t have a lot of experience with SEO and SEO tools, it can be hard to interpret what’s really happening.
Stay on top of developments.
An algorithm updated. A tool was sunsetted. A new process was introduced. We’re talking about technology, so the changes happen constantly. When you are focused on your own business, it can be hard to keep up with what’s going on in the SEO world, too.
We often share tips on how to improve a website’s SEO because if someone is running a business, they are obviously plenty smart and could implement those tips if they have the time and the inclination. More importantly, we hope to educate people so they understand the process and don’t fall prey to pricey “experts” who promise results through some black box magic. Well-informed clients make the best partners!
When you are ready to let the Sprocket team be your SEO partner, give us a call. Or take just the first step by running our free SEO audit of your business website. You are under no obligation to work with us, and you will learn a lot about your site. Try it and see!
Photo by cottonbro studio
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