If you want to do SEO on your own, go for it. In sales meetings, I always tell people that this isn’t rocket science and they can do it on their own if they have enough time, inclination and effort. That said, if you want to do your own SEO it’s important to know some basic rules before you waste your time, money and potentially harm your domain.
So, in a time where SEO misinformation is rampant on the web here are:
“Simple rules for how to do SEO on your own for 2017”
- Educate yourself via reliable sources. It wasn’t just this past election that was rife with misinformation, the world wide web is crawling with so-called “SEO Experts” dishing out useless, out of date or downright dangerous misinformation on SEO tactics. When you’re new to the world of SEO it can be very difficult to sort fact from fiction so identifying reliable sources is critical. First, I’ll just give you a list of good places to start: Moz, Internet Marketing Ninjas, Backlinko, Point Blank SEO, and Citation Labs. If all else fails, just try to stick to these sites and blogs and the authors you see publishing there. Obviously, there’s a ton of other great information out there and if you want to find some more sources you’re not sure about, run them through this quick checklist: First, does this site focus solely on SEO or at least internet marketing? If the site is a general purpose business blog or website design company, it’s not likely these people spend most of their time doing SEO so they may not be up to date on the latest and greatest. How often does the site publish new information and/or how in depth is it? If they don’t publish frequently, SEO research and thought leadership isn’t probably a priority for them. A site like Point Blank SEO, for example, doesn’t publish new posts that regularly, but when they do they are incredibly detailed. Another easy criteria is how much activity you see on social media or the comments section. Do people share the posts on Facebook and Twitter? Are their active discussions in the comment sections by other people doing SEO? If not, the information might not be very good.
- If you find conflicting info, the truth is likely somewhere in the middle. One of the hardest concepts to come to grips with in SEO is the amount of uncertainty there are around many aspects of how search engines work. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t publish a handbook on how their algorithm works, so you’ll find a lot of conflicting info and data on things like how social signals impact search rankings or the impact duplicate content can have on your site. In my experience, if you find contradictions on someone saying something is 100% true and someone else saying it’s 100% false, there’s a good chance the answer is somewhere in between, so don’t overreact and make drastic maneuvers if you don’t have a great feel for whether something is actually true or valuable. Speaking of overreacting…
- Don’t overreact to short-term fluctuations in rankings and traffic. Google’s constantly rolling out algorithm changes. It can be VERY easy to see that your traffic took a bit of a dip for a couple of weeks and your ranking data might back that up. I see a lot of SEO newcomers flying off the handle when they see their numbers go red around the time of a Google update. In most cases, if you’re doing things correctly, the ship will right itself once everything shakes out. Rather than nofollowing half of your site or trying to disavow a bunch of links that probably aren’t hurting you, just ride out the initial storm and see if what you’re experiencing more than a short-term algorithm reshuffle.
- Build a plan around proven methods and stick to it. I’ve been doing search marketing work for over a decade now and a lot of the basics still hold true. As you do your research you’ll see a lot of the same themes – make great content, get your on-site optimization right, get links from relevant and authoritative websites. There’s a lot more to it than that, but the foundation of your SEO plan should be built with tried and true methods that your trustworthy sources all agree upon. There are no shortcuts in this business anymore, so get ready to roll up your sleeves and make things happen. If you don’t have the time or inclination to tackle it, then you can always call us!