Is SEO now a DIY job, or still one for consultants?

What SEO tasks, by necessity, should to be done yourself and what should be done by consultants?

Search engines such as Google And Yahoo have been around for nearly two decades – during that time they have made dramatic improvements in the algorithms that produce search results.  Many of these changes have been with the aim of providing the most relevant results for the users. 

To do this they have had to overcome websites using deceptive practices that focus only on improving SEO, as opposed to creating content that is both high quality and highly relevant for users. 

Search engines have placed a larger emphasis on quality content – which makes the process of understanding and applying SEO easier for the  people and businesses who own the website.

This has also taken SEO out of the shadows.  Where before it was a kind of voodoo, practiced by developers and tech-savy IT specialists, it is now more the domain of the average business user.  The result is search engines that work better for users.  

How has SEO changed? 

The biggest changes in SEO have been a resulted from the constantly evolving algorithms of search engines. 

In earlier times search engines placed a heavy reliance on keywords and links.  While this lead to major improvements in the results search engines delivered, it also created an environment where SEO consultants could help companies rapidly improve their SEO by filling their website up with key words and embarking on bloated link building campaigns (often using websites known as link farms).

 Search engines responded to these trends by releasing new algorithms to combat efforts to artificially improve search engine performance.  Nowadays these SEO techniques will lead to major penalties and search engine black listing.

These algorithm evolutions have meant search engines are a now a more accurate and mature system  – one where content and user experience is very much at the centre.  It is a system where branding and content strategy is more important than key word density and back links.  It is a situation where SEO fundamentals are still important, but so is having a well connected, social website that is relevant to your industry and is active.ever it is businesses who can do the heavy lifting.

To learn more about how best to approach your SEO efforts then contact us.  We are certified Zoho CRM Consultants as well as Certified Zoho CRM resellers,  and have the expertise to help your website and  (more importantly) your business perform better.

Are these changes good or bad for businesses?

These changes are both good and challenging.

It is good news for businesses that see their SEO efforts as part of a long term growth strategy.  These business understand that if they want success they have to make the effort (and investment). 

The challenge now is that (again) businesses will have to change the way the practice SEO. 

 Is SEO easier or harder now? 

The answer to this is: both.

SEO is harder for three main reasons:

Firstly, SEO is well known and everyone has grand expectations.  This has lead to intense competition (just ask tradesmen trying to get on page one).

The second reason is that when it comes to modern SEO, content is king.  Much of SEO now depends on well-structured content that is created in a patient and systematic manner.  SEO gains will be made with relevant, engaging, informative, content that is social and produced often by reputable authors.  There is no getting around the fact that this takes considerable time and effort.

The third reason is that search engines like Google and Yahoo are much smarter.  And example of this is that Google has recently been using humans to manually grade pages for their usability and content. While they have been doing this computers have been following them and learning how to understand and grade a page.  This is all part of Google’s efforts to increase the relevance and quality of the search results it provides users 

On the other hand, as mentioned earlier, more of the tasks required to de well with SEO can be done by businesses.  Even further that that, it is better if businesses can create their own content because it will produce a more authentic kind of content written by the experts in the field.  This means there is more independence available for businesses when it comes to SEO.

What should business to?

There are three main things that businesses should consider doing.

1) Execute a comprehensive SEO strategy that is integrated with all parts of your business.

 A big problem with how many business approach SEO is that they work on it in isolation.   The classic example of this is the businesses who have been operating for a while and get Company X to build a website.  Then after  having it for a few months/ years, they decide they need to improve search engine rankings.  The try and achieve this by paying a Company Y a monthly sum to ‘do their SEO’.  The job is often very vague, and can lack any real goals or strategy.  Even if high rankings do eventuate, companies are often unable to see this transfer to conversions.

At Lumen, we take a completely different approach. We factor in SEO in all aspects of our digital service.  Due to our multi-disciplinary approach we integrate SEO with CRM, Email Marketing, and developing a high quality and high performance website.  We see SEO as having an inherently bi-directional relationship with a business’s wider sales cycle.  As opposed to seeing SEO as a isolated search engine beauty-pageant, we see it is closely connected with a companies business model.

 

2)  Develop a system for creating quality content

 Many business we come across often have a hard time creating engaging  content that also promotes SEO ranking.  There are multiple reasons that this is a challenge.  Factors such as expertise, SEO skills, copywriting skills, post architecture all come into play. But perhaps the biggest question is ‘what do I write about week-in, week-out?’

 An answer to this can be found in your CRM system.  We have found that systems like Zoho CRM can help you stay in touch with what your customers are interested and concerned with. By doing this a business can keep abreast of the relevant questions that their customers and industry may be asking.

 

3) Strike and effective balance between using SEO consultants and an in-house team.

 This aspect is the one of the big changes we see in SEO.  In the past, keyword cramming and link building were dark-arts that only specialist SEO consultants could do. 

Nowadays SEO is split into two parts.  The first is fundamental SEO setup (strategy, site structure, HTML etc.) – most of which can be done in one go.  The second is a content campaign. With this content, much of it need to be created by people who understand the business and industry.  This requires people who are experts in their field. This is a service that an SEO consultant is unable to provide.

 We believe the best path forward is a hybrid SEO model. One where digital consultants help with SEO set up, and then teach and guide an in house team to push ahead with powerful content production.  Where exactly this balance lies will differ from case to case, but we believe it is the best way forward.

Conclusion

Many have said that the only constant thing with SEO is that it is constantly changing.  The result of this is ever-moving goalposts when it comes to optimistic your website for search engines.  Digital consultants are still vital in keeping business up to date with changes and best practice, but more than ever it is businesses who can do the heavy lifting.

 

To learn more about how best to approach your SEO efforts then contact us.  We are certified Zoho CRM Consultants as well as Certified Zoho CRM resellers,  and have the expertise to help your website and  (more importantly) your business perform better.

Ilan Gross

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