With the vast amount of available information on search engine optimization, it is easy for anyone to research SEO processes to their heart’s content. From tutorials and how-to’s to industry news, there is literally more freely accessible SEO information at our fingertips than anyone could have imagined a few years ago.
After a few hours of reading, it’s enough to make anyone feel like an SEO expert, or at least capable of implementing SEO on their own website. While I think a good understanding of the fundamentals of SEO is great and should be considered mandatory for any small business owner, I strongly recommend enlisting the help of an SEO expert to handle your organic SEO marketing strategy, or at least advise you on it. Here’s why:
Like the internet in general, SEO is constantly changing and evolving, and what works today will most likely not work tomorrow.
Take meta keywords for example. For the non-html savvy readers, meta keywords are optional elements of a web page header, which once upon a time were used by webmasters to indicate the contents of web pages to search engines, and were the most important search engine ranking factors. Today, they are practically useless…except for clearly indicating to your competitors which keywords you are targeting.
The inner workings of Google’s ranking algorithms are closely guarded secrets. They have to be or else the web would quickly be overrun by spammers (you think it’s bad now…). SEO is a lot like playing a board game you aren’t allowed to read the directions for, and you aren’t even sure if all the pieces are there, but the stakes are the future of your business.
Seasoned SEO’s devote hours of scientific study, data analysis, and trial and error in order to understand the rules of the game. Do you really want to divert that much time and effort away from running your business?
Some changes in the rules of SEO result in certain strategies or elements not working anymore, or having decreased effectiveness, so the end result is a waste of your time. However, many changes in the rules of SEO can hurt or kill your site’s rankings if you don’t anticipate or understand them and adjust your strategy. These are the changes that pose the greatest danger to small business owners. When Google’s infamous Panda algorithm update was rolled out, the results were both far reaching and catastrophic for small businesses, and the same is proving to be true for the recent Penguin update.
The real tragedy is that most of the damage from algorithm updates can be avoided by anticipating and understanding the changes and adjusting SEO strategy accordingly. Most of the small business owners that were affected by Panda weren’t able to do this because they were putting their time into running their businesses (as they should).
Practicing good SEO is a full time job. It requires closely monitoring the industry for changes, understanding the implications, and most importantly creating an actionable strategy to avoid penalties and maximize opportunities. If you have time to do this and run a business, you have either figured out the secret to never sleeping, or you are not spending enough time managing your business. If you fall into either category, let’s talk soon.
Do you handle your own SEO or do you hire a small business SEO company to do it? If so, what level of involvement do you have?
Custom Creatives specializes in Digital Marketing, SEO, and Local Search Marketing.