Whether you’ve just launched your brand or you have an established business that’s adjusting to an online marketplace, the best way to promote your business, products and services is through digital marketing.
And a large part of any digital marketing strategy is an effective SEO campaign. But as a small business owner, you’re wary about investing in SEO or other marketing services. Is SEO worth it: all the work and strategizing? Will SEO efforts really reach more potential customers?
In this blog post, we’ll answer all of these questions, and by the end, you’ll be able to decide if search engine optimization services are right for you. Let’s get started:
What is SEO?
According to Moz, search engine optimization (SEO) is “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.”
That sounds great, but what does that mean?
Quantity of traffic:
The quantity of your web traffic depends on how easy it is for possible site visitors to find you. Potential clients are more likely to click on your site’s link if you appear higher on a search engine result page. But a large amount of traffic doesn’t necessarily guarantee an increased amount of conversions. For that, you need to look at the quality of your traffic.
Quality of traffic:
Part of your digital marketing strategy will always revolve around improving the quality of your traffic. It’s an ongoing, long term process that, if done correctly, will greatly benefit your business (and your return on investment).
Organic search results:
The first items that pop up in your SERP are usually paid search results, which are achieved with a PPC campaign. Organic search results appear below these ads. For your link to rank highly among the organic search results, your site will need good domain authority, and your page will need to have high-quality content and good optimization practices.
While this seems complicated (and will require the expertise of an SEO company or specialist), there are elements of your SEO strategy that you can contribute to.
Can I do my SEO strategy on my own?
This depends on a few things: how comfortable you are with SEO and how much time you have to dedicate to SEO.
Here’s a pared-down checklist of a cohesive SEO strategy:
1. Create a sitemap
Building a sitemap allows search engines to easily find content on your site so they can crawl and index your pages. Here’s a look at ours:
Google Analytics allows you to view how many site visitors you’re generating.
It also lets you see how these visitors are interacting with your site.
Google Search Console helps you keep an eye on how your organic search is performing and lets you know about updates and improvements you can make.
Once you’ve completed this step, you’ll want to start researching keywords.
3. Conduct keyword research
This is possibly the most crucial step for your SEO strategy. Without conducting keyword research, everything else will be a shot in the dark—there’s no guarantee that all your work on content will be worth it.
When conducting your keyword research:
- Each page should focus on one primary keyword. We recommend using a free tool like Ubersuggest to research your best keyword options.
- Assess the search intent behind the searcher’s query. Compare your page to the top-ranking pages for this keyword and keep an eye on these three content elements:
- Content Type: (i.e. product page, blog post, landing page, etc.)
- Content Format (i.e. reviews, guides, lists, etc.)
- Content Angle (i.e. for 2020, for first-timers, etc.)
- Find out what people want to know by looking at Google’s “People also ask” box. This is a great way to help you find similar keyword avenues for you to explore.
- Look into keyword difficulty with Ahref’s Keyword Difficulty Checker to see if your site can compete with the top results.
After you’re finished conducting your keyword research, it’s time to begin optimizing your pages.
4. On-page practices
Optimizing your pages using on-page practices will help you rank higher on search engines because they will be able to better understand the contents of your page and deliver it to searchers.
We do a deep-dive into on-page SEO techniques in this blog post, but here are some to keep in mind:
- Use an H1 on your page
- Write compelling title tags and descriptions
- Keep your URLs short and to-the-point
Now that the page is optimized, let’s take a look at how you can optimize the page’s content.
5. Create optimized content
Perhaps the easiest element of SEO to do yourself is content creation.
High-quality, SEO-friendly content has:
- An introduction that builds interest and trust
- A readable, dynamic structure
- Brief sentences and paragraphs
- EAT qualities (Expertise Authoritativeness Trustworthiness)
If you or your team can create high-quality bogs, web copy or photographs in-house, you’ll be off to a great start. However, if you don’t have these content marketing skills at your disposal, it’s worth looking into a specialist.
6. Time for tech
Once you’ve looked into keywords, on-page optimization and content, start looking into technical SEO aspects.
Running an audit of your site will highlight which pages and elements of your site need to be addressed. Your audit will cover things like:
- Broken links
- Duplicate content errors
- Crawl errors
- Slow load time
- Switching to HTTPS
Each of these points is crucial to how well your pages perform, which will affect your ranking and your domain authority.
7. Look for link building opportunities
The goal of your website is to present you as an expert in your field. Even if you have years and years of expertise, you are still going to need to prove that to search engines.
One way of doing this is by finding link building opportunities. When your page is referred to (or linked to) on another page, it helps search engines see your site as an authority on the topic, therefor boosting your ranking.
Ultimately, deciding if you want to spearhead your own SEO is similar to deciding if you want to do your own social media marketing—if you’re not social-savvy and you don’t have the time to create engaging content, you’ll be better off hiring a social media specialist.
Unless you’re confident in your SEO knowledge and you have the bandwidth to conduct audits, research keywords, plan, strategize and create content yourself, hiring an in-house SEO specialist or an SEO company is your best option.
Should I pay for SEO services?
As stated above, you should only proceed with doing your own SEO if you have the time and understanding to do it. Good SEO is a full-time job; it takes dedication and resources to do it right.
Not only is it time-consuming to deploy these tactics and techniques, but SEO is constantly growing and changing. What may have been the best practices today may not be the best practices tomorrow. You need someone who is SEO-savvy and willing to stay up-to-date with marketing trends.
Our advice is to hire a specialist or a company that lives and breathes SEO. After all, you started your business because you’re passionate about your business—not about running SEO audits.
The bottom line: Yes, SEO is worth it
If there is one thing to take away from this post, it’s this: utilizing the best SEO practices for your site is absolutely worth it.
Not only will you see an increase in your organic search rankings and your domain authority, but you will also be able to build a greater bond with your customers, generate more revenue and see a better return on your investment.
To learn more about topics we’ve touched on in this blog, check out: