New to SEO? Here’s What to DIY & What to Outsource
Search engine optimization can seem like a whole lot of magic and wishful thinking, praying that you hit things at just the right time to trick the algorithms.
While a lot of SEO does take a level of knowledge and skill, there are some things that you as a business owner can handle on your own without having to call in a professional. This can save you a lot of money in the long run, but it can be difficult to figure out just what you can easily handle and what may be better outsourced.
The good news is there is a fairly clear line between the tasks that you can manage capably on your own, even without a lot of experience, and those that are better suited to a professional.
When Should I Outsource My SEO?
There are a lot of reasons you may consider outsourcing your SEO to an agency.
Some common reasons include:
- Not having the time to devote to managing your SEO
- Not possessing the skill required to get the results you want
- Not being able to learn all the necessary skills to fully manage an SEO campaign, including on-page, off-page, and technical SEO
- Not feeling confident in navigating the back end of your website in order to make needed changes
- Not knowing what to do in order to reach your SEO goals
The reasons you may want to outsource your SEO can help you figure out just what you need to outsource and to whom, so keep them in mind as you move through the process of choosing an agency.
Factors to Consider When Outsourcing SEO
Deciding to outsource some or all of your SEO is greatly dependent upon your individual needs and what you want out of your SEO.
Here are some things to think about before making the jump:
Outsourcing your SEO is going to come with a cost, and a lot of that cost will depend on just how much of your SEO you outsource.
If you’re looking to simply offload a few tasks to another person or an agency, you’ll pay less than if you’re asking them to handle large portions of your SEO campaign. Additionally, if you’re looking for an agency to handle less complex tasks for you, you’ll spend less than finding someone who provides a specialized service.
Think about what you’re able to spend prior to searching for an agency to help you. This amount may determine the types of agencies or practitioners you search for, making your search easier.
Do you want someone with a large amount of knowledge and experience to help you create a high-level, high-dollar campaign? Or do you just need someone to get your SEO started?
The impact you want the agency to have on your overall SEO and marketing may determine the type of agency you look for.
If you’re looking for someone to help you with a really big-ticket, highly strategic campaign, you’re going to need to search for someone with that sort of experience. A start-up SEO campaign, on the other hand, can be handled by most any agency.
When searching for partners in your SEO campaigns, you want to find someone who can take on your brand identity and carry that forward in the work they do.
However, how strictly they need to adhere to this brand identity depends greatly on your goals and your business.
If you’ve already got a well-established brand identity and voice, it’s important to find someone who can match that in all the work they do. For brand identities that are a little more flexible, finding an exact match isn’t as important.
How much help you need, and what type of help you need, will determine whether you need to outsource your SEO and who you choose as a partner.
If you’re confident you can handle your own SEO, you may not need to outsource, especially early in your journey. But if you aren’t sure you can manage the tasks or you have specialized needs, it’s probably a good idea to explore outsourcing.
SEO Tasks You Can DIY
Now that you’ve determined you may need some help, let’s first look at the things you can (if you choose to!) do on your own without a whole lot of specialized skill:
Basic Content & Blog Writing
Your website relies on the content you put onto it. And, since you know your business and your customers better than anyone, you likely can handle writing some of the content for your website without outside help.
Some content even a non-writer can handle includes:
- Your About Us page (After all, who knows your business story better than you?)
- Pages describing the products or services you offer
- Blog posts about the services your company provides, how to use your products, etc.
Most people can pick up on-page optimization fairly easily by watching or reading online tutorials. As long as you know where to put your keywords and make other changes, you’ve already finished half the battle.
This guide by Moz is a great starting point to get you started.
Tasks you can likely tackle on your own include:
- Updating meta titles
- Updating meta descriptions
- Updating photo metadata
- Adding header tags (H1, H2, etc.)
- Adding links to other pages on your website
- Inserting anchor text into links (This is a touch more advanced, but doable!)
These tasks are enough to get your SEO journey started, and can help your business climb in rankings before you’re ready to take things to the next level.
Social Media Marketing
No matter your industry, it’s important to have at least some sort of a social media presence. And, if you’re planning to publish blog posts as part of your content marketing (and you should!), social media is a great way to distribute and amplify the blogs you write.
You don’t need to post every single day, or hop on the latest trends to make social media marketing work for your business. Just creating profiles and posting every so often can help.
Some things to consider when starting your social media marketing journey:
- Pick one platform to start: Start off by creating and posting to one platform at the beginning. Once you’re more used to social media marketing, you can branch out into other platforms. In most cases, Facebook is a good starter platform. However, if you’re in a B2B industry, starting with LinkedIn may be a better course of action.
- Images are everything: Never post to social media without an image or video, and make sure your images are high-quality. If you’re not posting images, your posts will get lost in your followers’ newsfeeds and won’t get the attention they deserve.
- Don’t just sell, build relationships: Sharing content that talks about new products and services, or sales you’re offering, are great. But so is showing the personality behind your business, such as employee profiles, your company party, or celebrating a milestone for an employee. This gives your followers a chance to get to know the people behind the business and builds their trust in you.
- Always post blogs: When you write a new blog post, share it to your social media profiles. You also can re-use blog posts when you’re light on other social media content to get them in front of new eyes and increase their reach.
- Quality over quantity: Don’t just make a social media post just to make a social media post. It’s much better to focus on creating posts that hold some value to your audience and having fewer of them than to post frequently and create lower-quality posts.
Basic Link Building
Link building is the practice of placing links back to your website on other websites. These can be on listing websites such as Yelp and Yellow Pages, on local news websites, or other brand sites.
Much of the work of link building you can do yourself, including seeking out directory websites relevant to your industry and building relationships with other related brands. However, this can be a very time-intensive process, especially once you move past the initial tier of links, and you may find you eventually need to enlist some help in this matter.
Basic Keyword Research
Choosing the right keywords for your website is essential to matching your site with people searching for the products and services you provide.
In order to make the most of your online presence, you need to figure out just what people are searching for and make sure those words are found on your website. To do this, you need to conduct keyword research.
Many SEO practitioners use special software to make keyword research easier; however, you don’t need this to get started.
Instead, you can sit down with a pen and paper (or a blank document on your computer) and start writing out words and phrases you think people use when searching for the goods and services you offer. Try to brainstorm as many related words and phrases as possible, as these can be helpful in finding new blog topics to write about.
Once you have an idea of some of the keywords people use for your site, you can begin adding them to the content of your website and in those meta descriptions and other areas on the back end of your website.
SEO Tasks You Should Outsource
While there are plenty of things you can do to get your site’s SEO moving in the right direction, especially if you haven’t done anything with SEO in the past, there are plenty of things that are specialized or very time-intensive that you may consider outsourcing.
Here are some tasks that you may be better off calling in the professionals to handle:
High-Level Keyword Research
Once your website moves past those basic keywords, you may need more expertise and some special tools to help you find more keywords.
SEO specialists have these tools, and they’re experienced at using them to ferret out keywords that may be lesser-known but that still will be helpful to bring more traffic and customers to your website. Additionally, someone who fully understands keyword research can help you figure out related phrases that will be beneficial to include in your strategy to improve how your website performs with searchers.
Strategy & Planning
You know your business better than anyone, and SEO practitioners know SEO better than anyone. They can help you figure out what tasks will have the biggest impact and which you can hold off on undertaking.
Even if you’re planning to do all your own SEO, it can be helpful to have someone who fully understands SEO and online marketing take a look at your website and create a strategy that you can follow.
“Money” Content Marketing
Writing for SEO is a highly specialized skill, and if you’re looking to really make your website’s content work for you, it’s best to hire a professional.
Depending on your niche and needs, you may need to hire a copywriter or an SEO content writer. Or you may need both but for different parts of your website.
A copywriter creates content with the goal of persuading readers, converting them from readers into buyers. You’ll most often use a copywriter for pages of your website where you really need to persuade people, such as ad landing pages.
A content writer, on the other hand, is there to inform readers. Copy written by a content writer tends to be longer-form and often includes articles, blog posts, white papers, or e-books.
Many SEO agencies employ writers skilled at both copywriting and content writing, so you should be able to get all your content needs taken care of by an agency that you choose to handle your SEO.
Intensive Link Building
After your website already has some of the more basic links, you need a link building strategy that includes reaching out to other website owners to see if they’ll link to your site.
This process, including identifying those sites that would be valuable and reaching out to them, can be incredibly time-intensive.
Unless you have a lot of time to devote to the link building process, it may be a good idea to hire someone to help you with this task.
There’s a lot that can go wrong with your website, including images slowing down page loading times, broken plugins, and corrupted themes.
And not fixing these problems can spell disaster for your SEO, as the search engines prioritize websites that work well and provide a good user experience.
It takes knowledge of your content management system to be able to find all the things potentially negatively impacting your website and fixing them properly. For technical improvements, it may be best to leave them up to the professionals.
SEO Strategy & Implementation for Small Businesses
Your website deserves all the time and attention it can get, and if you’re busy running your business it can be difficult to take time for your website. That’s why you need a team of experienced, dedicated SEO professionals to help you out. The team at 270net Technologies can help you with everything from creating a strategy that you put into action all the way up to handling every aspect of your website’s SEO strategy and implementation. Contact us today for a quote!