Want to DIY Your SEO? Here's Your Reality Check

I walked away from the conversation shaking my head.

“SEO services are too expensive. We can’t afford to hire someone.”

“I’m smart. I should be able to figure this SEO stuff out myself.”

“My team is top-notch. No, they don’t have any formal SEO training, but I’m sure they’ll get it. Maybe I’ll send them to a conference…”

Stop it. Just. Stop. It.

Why do I sound so frustrated? Because I’ve chatted with large and small companies that have all said some variation of the “We can handle this in-house excuse.” Granted, their intentions are good. They really do plan on tackling their own SEO. They don’t mean to blow it off.

But they do. Time and time again.

Yes, some companies expertly take on their own SEO (and SEO writing.) These companies put time, money and effort into making it happen, too. They don’t expect the Google gods to magically hand them rankings. They don’t expect to learn by osmosis. They just do it.

But then, there are the other companies. The ones that fall into a “wishful thinking” trap.

They want to learn more, but they “don’t have time.” They watch competitors outrank them and feel guilty. The guilt turns into avoidance. One day, they wake up and say, “Today is the day I master SEO.” But then an email pops up, an employee crisis happens or something else takes precedence.

And nothing gets done.

I understand the dilemma. I do. But there comes a time when you have to buckle down and make a choice. And that means you tackle your SEO issues head on and refuse to make any more excuses.

Here’s how to do it:

1.  If you are a solopreneur/work for a small business, you have to be very honest with yourself. Do you really have time to learn the ins and outs of SEO? Some people consider it a fun challenge and master it fairly quickly. Some folks never “get it.” If you’ve been promising yourself that you’ll learn how to SEO your site over the past few months – and you haven’t done so – it’s time to give it up. It doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person. It means that you’re a busy person and you have other priorities. Like running your business.

2. If you work for a medium/large size business, your site is probably larger and has more complex issues. Handling everything may be daunting (and dangerous,) especially if your staff doesn’t have any experience. What many companies do is work with a consultant to unravel any existing technical SEO issues. Then, they work with another firm (or sometimes the same firm) and get training in SEO writing, social media and the other SEO bits and pieces. This one-two punch helps move the SEO ball along fairly quickly. The marketing team can rewrite/edit the existing content and they have the benefit of an outside consultant watchdogging their work.

Yes, SEO services cost money. Yes, good providers are expensive (beware the $100/month SEO “expert” trap.)

But if getting help means that you’ll make more money, faster – why not go for it? Right now.

Because for every moment you delude yourself into thinking you can do it yourself, you’re giving up market share to your competitors.

And that’s just sad.

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 Photo thanks to © Iqoncept | Dreamstime.com

10 replies
  1. reepicheep78 says:

    What I most like about this is that it illustrates and explains a set of choices that everyone makes. For any major task — SEO, redecorating your house, whatever — there are the people who plan well and master the task themselves, there are the people who are humble enough to hire someone qualified, and then there are the people who, as you put it, “fall into a ‘wishful thinking’ trap,” and act as if the task will get done in a satisfactory way all by itself.

  2. Sunday William says:

    Hi Heather,
    Its okay that we should seek for expert help when it comes to SEO. But there is nothing wrong with mastering the basics if we can.

    There are lots of “experts” out there that simply take advantage of marketers/bloggers who have no “time”.

    However,I see your point in this article. The reality still remains that even when we go for expert advice on SEO, it is important to seek for the credible and proficient professionals.

    • Heather Lloyd-Martin says:

      Sunday, I totally agree. And I think it’s great when people want to learn the SEO ins and outs. In fact, I know of a few small business owners who are masters at DIY SEO. Granted, they spend a LOT of time keeping up with Google’s latest and greatest. But for them, it’s a fun diversion. :)

      However, the challenge kicks in when someone wants to handle their SEO in-house, yet nothing gets done. That’s when it’s time to call in an expert. Otherwise, you’re just leaving money on the table.

      Thanks for your comment!

  3. Elizabeth says:

    I was interviewing someone over the weekend for a story I’m writing. She said something that stuck with me: “I hired professionals to do their job.” It’s a simple statement, but it spoke volumes and fits neatly into what you are saying, Heather.
    Hire SEO professionals and then let them do their job!

  4. Nathan Cooper says:

    Mastering SEO is a tough job, needs a lot of time and efforts. If the company doesn’t have this time and the proper people for it, the best they can do is to focus on running their business and to hire a professional SEO company.

  5. Anthony Ragland says:

    Hi Elizabeth. Nice article! I can definitely relate to your article. Although, I don’t blame many small businesses for wanting to do SEO themselves because of the the vast amount of unethical SEO service providers out there. I’m always super transparent with my clients and communicate the fact that SEO is a full time job that requires tons of tedious tasks, extensive copywriting, constant data analysis, advanced technical skills, etc. I follow up by saying how important SEO is to modern business sustainability and profitability … and how only 6 months of professional SEO services could make a HUGE improvement in their brand awareness and inbound lead/sales programs.

    Best regards!


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