DIY SEO: 4 Questions to Ask Before You Start
Can you do search engine optimization on your own? It is true that SEO can be learned. And yes, you may find success on your own! That said, there are things to consider before you embark on this journey to make sure it’s a good fit:
- First, Do You Have the Time?
- Can You Diagnose Website Problems?
- Are You Committed to Learning?
- Do You Have Any Budget for Help?
First, Do You Have the Time?
It is likely the case that if you have a website, you have a business to run. Whether you are a solopreneur or a business with a team that wants to tackle SEO, you are busy.
SEO is not a one-time thing. Of course, there are one-time things that you will do at the outset of the project, but SEO is constant throughout the lifecycle of your site.
Consider some of the things you will need to do at the outset of an SEO initiative:
- Installing and configuring analytics
- Making sure the site is mobile-friendly
- Diagnosing site speed and addressing issues
- Making sure the site is secure
- Keyword research
- Competitive analysis
- Whole-SERP strategy
And here is what you should do at minimum on a monthly basis with tasks broken up throughout the weeks:
- Create and publish authoritative, expert content.
- Monitor link profile and address anything that needs to be fixed.
- Run site crawls, review reports and fix website issues.
- Monitor analytics and data, including rankings and traffic, implement new strategies as needed.
- Optimize existing content, including page optimization, page combining, redirecting irrelevant pages, etc.
- Conduct competitive analysis, implement new strategies as needed.
Of course, it is not always this cut and dry. You will need to have the discernment on what tasks will give you the most ROI in the quickest amount of time.
Here are some resources as you get started on your journey:
- SEO: What, Why, How
- Myth: SEO Is a One-Time or Sometimes Thing
- What Are Keywords?
- How to Do Competitor Research for SEO
- How to Make a Mobile-Friendly Site
- How Fast Should My Webpage Be and Why Should I Care?
- HTTPS for Users and Ranking
- What Is a Whole-SERP SEO Strategy?
- The Always Up-to-Date SEO Checklist
- What Makes a Webpage Quality?
Can You Diagnose Website Problems?
When rankings and traffic tank, will you know how to diagnose the problem? You will run into problems with traffic at some point.
This means you will have to pivot and turn your attention to finding and fixing the issue. Was it a Google change? Is there new competition? Did something happen offline that would impact your traffic? Did you redesign your website or do something else to it?
To be blunt: This diagnosis often takes a lot of wisdom and experience. It is not likely something you will be able to figure out easily when you are just starting out.
If and when you have figured out and fixed the problem, you will then need to catch up on your day-to-day SEO deliverables. Unfortunately, the fast-paced nature of organic search means the picture can change on a dime – even if you divert resources for a month.
Here are some resources as you get started:
Are You Committed to Learning?
On top of everything else, you will need to commit to SEO learning.
You will need to understand when Google changes things and how it may impact your website. You will want to learn the latest strategies in SEO and how to perfect the best practices. All of this takes time, as in hours each month set aside for education.
In any given month you might:
- Read search engine news publications
- Take a webinar or two
- Go through modules in a training course
- Discuss issues you’re having in forums or Q&A sessions with SEOs or Google
- Attend a conference or event (virtually or in person)
- Reference pages in an SEO book
Then, you can apply the things you’ve learned to your daily / weekly / monthly tasks.
You cannot let yourself get stale here. Good SEO strategies come from continuous learning – you learn when you do SEO, and you learn when you listen to others.
These resources will help you on your journey:
- What Is SEO Training?
- 5 Questions to Evaluate Any SEO Training Course
- SEOtraining.com (Our SEO training website)
- SearchEngineLand.com (SEO news and tips)
- SearchEngineJournal.com (SEO news and tips)
- Google Search Central office hours (Google help)
- Search Engine Optimization All-in-One for Dummies, Fourth Edition (Our 700-plus page SEO book)
Do You Have Any Budget for Help?
When you are DIY’er, things can get hard. There will be problems that you cannot fix on your own. You will seek advice.
If you are doing SEO on your own, you may not want to spend more money on outside expertise. But if you have a little budget set aside, you can get the type of help you need to get you over the humps.
For example, you could invest in two important things on your SEO journey:
- The SEO audit, which will uncover where your website is hurting SEO and a list of things to fix. This is a great thing to have at the outset of an SEO initiative.
- A block of hours you can use as you wish to help with tough questions or special projects outside your expertise; especially helpful for when you get stuck.
Having just a little bit of help to start and then when things get rough along the way can help you be more successful with your DIY SEO program.
I recommend checking out these resources:
- What Is an SEO Audit?
- SEO Audits and Tools: The Good, The Better, and The Best
- You Have an SEO Emergency – Who Do You Call?
- What Percentage of Your Budget Should Go Toward SEO?
- The REAL Cost of SEO
So, is DIY SEO worth it?
It depends on if you will prioritize the time for SEO, how committed you are to keeping up with it and if you can set aside some budget for outside help as needed.
If you feel like any of those will be too hard, then I recommend either not doing SEO or hiring outside expertise when you are able to.
Don’t have the time for SEO? Unsure where to start? Our SEO experts can help. Reach out to us for a free consultation.