How does SEO work?SEO (Search Engine Optimization) means optimization techniques and activities that are supposed to boost website visibility in the search results. Therefore, SEO isn’t an objective, but rather a process that involves lots of techniques and methods whose implementation is expected to ensure that your website is going to be displayed high for specific keywords. It’s possible to distinguish 6 main activities that are part of the SEO process:
- a website audit,
- keyword and competitive analysis,
- website optimization
- page content creation/optimization,
- link building,
- analysis of results of performed activities.
Being good at SEO isn’t enough - you have to be better than others!The development of an SEO strategy isn’t a one-time activity. SEO is a long-term, continuous process. Google algorithms are quite complex and regularly updated, moreover, your market rivals constantly strive to reach the finest positions. This means that even the greatest SEO strategy will need some refinement from time to time. To determine which websites should be displayed in the search results, Google benefits from hundreds of ranking factors and algorithms. To keep everything in check, you need a team of SEO specialists who know how to face Google. This, in turn, translates into the necessity to devote a lot of time and effort to analyze and test various solutions. Your market rivals should also be constantly monitored. Although you can do your best to develop more effective SEO strategies, you don’t have any control over activities performed by your competitors - as you may guess, their steps have a direct impact on your positions in Google.
Should you outsource SEO to an external agency? Expertise and access to specialist toolsExpertise and experience are the key issues in the SEO process. Nowadays, the ability to find information and assess the quality of its sources is one of the most desired skills you should have. It’s mentioned here because the Internet abounds in tips and instructions on how to do SEO. Although the online world is full of valuable knowledge, it’s also full of low-quality or worthless content. Updating your knowledge plays a big role in SEO. The dynamic evolution of SEO requires flexibility when performing activities. Experience is gained through practice. Doing something for the first time is bound to be more complex and time-consuming than doing the same thing for the hundredth time. The same applies to SEO. With practice and experience, you can achieve far better results. Many methods are discovered by trial and error. Another issue that needs to be mentioned here is access to tools. Modern SEO is largely dependent on appropriate solutions. Of course, it’s possible to benefit from most of them for free, however, if you want to do quality SEO that will allow you to outdo your market rivals, you can’t achieve the goal without paid plans. Although there are trial versions, such solutions are time-limited. As you already know, SEO is a long-term process. As time goes by, investing in paid tools is likely to become the bread and butter of your activities. Let's see what are the potential costs:
- Audit - Screaming Frog - £149/year
- Visibility analysis - Senuto - 990 USD/year
- Link acquisition - Ahrefs - 990 USD/year
How much can you lose when doing SEO on your own?There is a huge probability that taking care of SEO on your own will do more harm than good. If your market rivals have been benefiting from the services of professional agencies, achieving better results may turn out to be either infeasible or unprofitable for your business. Moreover, buying inappropriate links or sponsored articles means that you’ll only waste your money. Without appropriate skills, expertise, and knowledge, you can easily allocate money to activities that won’t bring you any measurable results. When thinking about a more negative scenario, your website may be penalized by Google or a filter may be imposed on it for inadequate SEO activities. Remember to conduct a website audit. It’ll provide you with valuable insights into elements that affect your visibility in the search results. Thanks to it, you can verify which aspects are worth improving and what needs to be removed or implemented. A comprehensive analysis will help you understand why your website doesn’t generate desired traffic or why your conversion and sales don’t improve. Currently, most SEO agencies devote lots of time to expand their expertise. Moreover, specialists have proven solutions and know what works and what doesn’t. SEO professionals have the knowledge, you have to learn it. Additionally, SEO companies have ready, tested platforms for obtaining links. On the other hand, you need to search for them and analyze whether it’s worth acquiring given backlinks. And last but not least - copywriting. Agencies employ trusted copywriters who create truly valuable, SEO-friendly content. As you know, content is king and it’s crucial to take care of it while doing SEO for your website.
Doing SEO on your own - when does it make sense?There are cases when doing SEO on your own proves profitable:
- After an initial analysis, it may turn out that your industry isn't particularly competitive. Then reaching top Google positions is much easier and simpler to do. In that case, even basic SEO activities can bring the desired result.
- If you don't have enough funds to invest in SEO and you can't afford to hire an SEO agency or freelancer, but you still want to optimize your website, you can always try performing activities on your own. However, it should be borne in mind that the process may not meet your expectations.
- If organic traffic attracts only a small percentage of website visitors and your customers reach you mainly via social media, you can try doing SEO on your own. However, you should always take into account the possibility that social media may stop existing one day. Therefore, it’s advisable to diversify sources and work to improve organic traffic to your site.
- The last situation involves large companies that have their own SEO department working solely on website visibility. And even such tycoons frequently benefit from the support of external SEO agencies.