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Can I do my own SEO?

So far I've covered exactly what SEO is and what other alternatives there are out there which could work instead of Search Engine Optimization or actually help reinforce it.

If you're still here it means you pretty much know that SEO is part of what you want to do in order to get or increase visitor numbers on your website. So the next question is then - Should you do it yourself or hire in an agency or contractor to do it for you?

If, by the time you reach the bottom of this page, you decide to hire in help I strongly recommend that you still go through the contents of this website so that you understand the key concepts of SEO. This will not only ensure you end up with the right agency or contractor but will give you the knowledge needed to monitor their work and guarantee that you achieve value for money.

OK - let's break this down

Basic SEO with no technical skills

Yes, there is still a fair amount of SEO you can do so long as your website has been created on a platform like WordPress, XCart, Squareapace or similar. All such platforms will allow you to make changes that could increase your rankings in the search results. How much you can do and how far you can go depends on each platform.

Platforms like WordPress are often bloated with code which can slow down the time it takes for your pages to load, a key SEO factor. Its a tradeoff but be aware now that you may have to abandon your platform or get technical in the code if page loading speed becomes a critical factor in your rankings.

To see what's possible and what's not for your platform Google something like "Wordpress SEO" or head over to a forum for your platform and ask the question. In what I'm about to say I'm going to assume your platform has similar capabilities to Wordpress and in that case here is what you need to do:

You should carry out the following steps regardless of whether or not you do your own SEO as these tools will provide you with vital insights into your search engine optimization progress.

  1. Make sure your platform allows you to edit the page titles, URLs and meta descriptions - I cover what these actually are in the main guide, for now just check you can change them yourself. If you've heard the meta description doesn't matter anymore you've heard wrong! In WordPress the most popular plugin for this is Yoast.
  2. Get Google Analytics
    • This free service will allow you to monitor how many visitors are coming to your website, where from and a whole lot more.
    • Sign up for a Google Analytics account - here's where to do it
    • Make sure Google Analytics is installed on your website - here's the WordPress tutorial, do a Google search for how to install analytics on other platforms.
    • Learn how to use analytics effectively and correctly with the free course at Google Analytics Academy. Don't skip this bit or you'll end up making big mistakes understanding what Analytics is telling you!.
    • Sit Module 11 of Webmaxing - Monitoring Your Progress to learn how to interpret the data you get from tools like Analytics.
  3. Sign up for a Google Search Console account - here's where to get started - this will tell you what keywords you are ranking for and if you are improving over time.
  4. Connect your Analytics and Google Search Consoles together - here's how to do it - this will make your Analytics data better.
  5. Choose you keyword tools - these will tell you what internet users search for so you can target the right keywords and phrases to rank for. There are a lot out there, free and paid:

OK you are all set up and ready to learn How Search Engines Rank Websites!

Intermediate and Advanced SEO

If Basic SEO does not budge your rankings you will need greater need programing skills and be able to understand:

  • HTML code - it's the basic code most websites are built on
  • CSS code - code for optimizing the layout and look of your website
  • How to set up FTP - for moving files to and from your server
  • C# or php and MySQL - depending on whether your if your website is on a Windows or Linux server
  • Javascript and JQuery - an increasingly popular type of code for making pages interactive.

It's basically a straight line graph. The more competitive your field is, the more skills you will need to carry out Search Engine Optimization effectively.

Is your time better spent elsewhere?

After you've finished reading through the content on this site you'll have a pretty good idea what it takes to do your own SEO. Don't forget to consider if you might actually be better of using that time and effort elsewhere.

Many clients who come to me have become so absorbed in their search engine optimization that they have let key areas of their business, such as customer service, suffer. If you don't have time to run both your business and do your own SEO ... contract out the SEO!

Tim Hill SEO

I'm Tim Hill, a Search Engine Optimization and Online Marketing specialist. I created this site to help others understand that SEO is not a mysterious black art!.

If your a newbie try the Getting Started in SEO page, otherwise feel free to dig around and learn more.

If you need help simply get in touch.

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