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Here at I-COM, we recently held a web clinic where business owners could come and get some feedback on their websites. What struck me most was how many businesses are trying to save money by learning SEO and giving it a shot on their own site. Whilst this is very admirable it does, nine times out of ten, get you amateur results.
In my younger days of being an SEO I read all those books “SEO An Hour A Day” etc. and whilst there were good tips in there of what to do, I soon came to realise that these books only really give you an overview of SEO as a topic. Working in an agency really gives you exposure to all sorts of scenarios and a deeper understanding of how Google ticks. Common issues we were seeing at the web clinic were:
- Copy looking keyword spammy
- No calls to action – you bring the traffic but nobody buys
- Lack of 'quick win' deeper pages being built e.g. don’t just have a page about ‘ford cars’, start making deeper pages targeting ‘ford fiestas’, which are more likely to convert
- Lack of content, so Google struggles with page relevance and struggles to rank the pages
- Floods of site search query string URL’s being indexed in Google, which it really doesn’t like
- No keyword rich header tags to show the importance of headings from paragraph text
Not only were we seeing a lot of mistakes from those who have had a shot at their own SEO, we had some businesses that we couldn’t tell from their website what they actually did! Sometimes you get too close to your own business and it helps to have a stranger give you an objective view.
We saw some shocking results from companies dabbling in SEO that have bought links from link building companies. They were shocked to discover that their site was being linked to from porn sites and everything under the sun that you wouldn’t want your business to be associated with. This is another pitfall for those who are dabbling in SEO that could potentially harm the reputation of a business. Once you get those links they often can be very hard to reverse as they get spammed out across many domains. Additionally they get built in a very unnatural way that puts flags up to Google that your website is dodgy – I’m not sure you could hand build 80,000 links in one day.
A lot of SME’s ask us how they should get by when they don’t have much budget for SEO. It is worth getting in touch with a reputable agency that isn’t cheap as chips who would be happy to take on a small amount of hours per month with a view to increasing hours once return on investment starts to kick in. In the initial stages, it is best to let an SEO take the reins of a site and there are a lot of jobs you can do to support an SEO, e.g. copywriting for them and creating pages which can help keep the cost down until you start to see return on your investment.
If you want a website that performs to only half its potential then do your own SEO, if you want a website that sets your business on fire then get a professional SEO to help. If your business is worth the best, then it’s worth paying for.