Are you a small business owner determined to master the SEO basics yourself?
That’s awesome! We have a useful guide to basic SEO, you should check it out.
If you are a business owner however, there is only so much time you can, and should, dedicate to boosting SEO and improving search rankings.
Small business owners often take on several important roles, by default. The manager might also be the sales rep, HR, marketing director, accountant etc.
As soon as you can afford it, we recommend hiring some big guns for SEO basics and beyond. Whether that’s hiring an experienced SEM marketer or outsourcing to an agency, is up to you.
If you’ve hit a wall with your own SEO, or simply don’t have the time to spend on DIY amongst everything else, read on to figure out exactly what an agency or a professional can do for you.
Why should I call in the experts, even for SEO basics?
1 The tools can get expensive
It is possible to keep up to date with the state of your site using free tools such as Google Webmaster Tools, Analytics and Mozbar, and you can conduct research using free marketing tools.
However, for the detailed analysis that puts you ahead of your competitors, you need hard-working, accurate software. Like most things that are high quality, this doesn’t come cheap. Working with an agency will usually mean that your stats are being monitored and measured with accurate software, such as Ahrefs. At the time of writing, Ahrefs costs $99 per month for the most basic version. If your business is running a strict budget, is that expense justifiable? And do you know how to get the most of your $99?
2 Maintaining rankings is as time-consuming as improving them
Let’s say that you have worked tirelessly at improving your rankings, and you have managed to get onto the first page of Google for your targeted keyword.
Amazing, well done you!
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the hard work is over. If your competitors are working on SEO, which they almost certainly will be, then you could find yourself overtaken again quite quickly. If Google’s algorithm alters to favour, for example, CTR (click through rate) slightly higher, then you might find your results slipping.
SEO requires constant attention, and if your competitors aren’t stopping, then you can’t afford to, either. If you are struggling see or maintain results, then it may be time to talk to an expert about your strategy.
3 The field changes often, as do algorithms
They say every day is a school day, but most digital marketers have email alerts for anything and everything regarding SEO changes because they happen so quickly.
Staying up to date is challenging enough for those who do this full time, so don’t be surprised if you are struggling to keep up with the latest changes! There are always new posts going up about the ‘next big thing’ in SEO, and they tend to have varying levels of accuracy. It’s a hot topic, so expect a multitude of responses being updated all the time.
However, the absolute best way to figure out if your strategy is working? Do your own research. Or, get an expert to research it for you. There is no one size fits all in SEO and you could save yourself a lot of effort by making sure you are spending time on the reading and research that is actually relevant to you and your goals.
4 You Need to Be a Confident Writer
Content needs to be new, engaging, relevant and fun to read in order to maintain dwell time. There’s absolutely no shame in accepting that you can’t do everything, running a business is a huge commitment and even having a monthly blog post outsourced can make a huge difference to your online presence.
5 Research is as Important as Writing
Let’s say you craft a masterpiece.
Over 1000 words on the nuances of a particular aspect of your industry: it has take a good few hours and you think it’s amazing. It probably is amazing. You understand SEO basics and have tried to incorporate that into the format. But as time goes by, it’s not getting the clicks you anticipated. Three months later you can’t help but think, gosh that was a real waste of my time.
The problem probably isn’t the content. It may simply be the way you’ve framed it, or the outreach (or lack thereof) that you’ve done. Every piece of good content needs to address a problem your audience is having, and the only way to accurately find it is by researching.
If you were to rename that very same content with something that gets regular searches by your target audience, and optimise it to properly respond to common search queries in your niche, then your engagement will go up. It’s simple, but it’s not always easy.
6 Size matters
Brian Dean (the link building jesus if you will) recommends publishing content that’s at least 2000 words long. If the sound of that makes you feel mildly ill, then don’t worry, and ask an expert. We are good at starting with structure, anticipating exactly how much is necessary to include, and sourcing it.
You don’t need every piece to be that length. But if your business covers a particular niche then it would be helpful to delve into it further in a detailed blog. Don’t hesitate to work alongside someone who writes 2000 words before breakfast.
7 Back-End Development
As we’ve already mentioned several times (is it too much? Sorry!) the digital space changes fast. Even if you’re fairly confident at changing things on your website, bear in mind that this really needs to be reviewed every 4-6 months.
Google recently announced that mobile view was going to become the dominant version of the sites presented in searches.
This means that you need to start optimising for mobile as soon as possible. Leave it too late, and you can expect to see your rankings drop as people skip your website in favour of something which loads faster and is properly optimised across all devices.
Waiting for the algorithm to change before you do will put you behind the curve, so you need to be up to date with recent SEO news.
8 You need to be video-ready
Are you already filming clips on FB live or Instagram stories?
Great! You will be ready for the next big thing.
Video is growing hugely and it’s here to stay, just check out these impressive stats on video engagement levels across all social media platforms.
If you aren’t already filming and publishing video, then finding an expert who can help you get started can really give you a good push you ahead of your competitors. A marketing agency is one place to find those experts.
9 SEO will always be a juggling act – and as an SME owner, you probably have quite enough to juggle already, right?
Most people decide to have their own business for time freedom – you work how you want, when you want to, and for whoever you want. Things are on your terms and conditions. If you’re spending too much time worrying about getting everything done, then it’s time to call in the experts.
Going beyond SEO basics doesn’t need to be expensive and it is a great thing to outsource, for all the reasons we’ve mentioned above.
If you’re still not sure, why not give us a call and see what we can do for you?