Home – New Forums Tech talk Why most small-medium business shouldn’t outsource SEO Reply To: Why most small-medium business shouldn’t outsource SEO

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Hi Brendan,
Nowhere in this thread did I see SEO defined.

There is no single definition of SEO, so let me contribute using this definition…

SEO is the process of generating the most relevant generic SE referrals for the least cost. Then encouraging as many of those referrals as possible to undertake the desired action.

In some quarters there seems to be a presumption that ongoing SEO is mostly about external link building. It is not and never has been!

SEO is a cyclical process of:

  • Research
  • Planning
  • Implementing
  • Training
  • Monitoring

For most small/medium business websites, experience indicates that the first cycle research and planning phase of the SEO process usually needs to be much more in-depth than subsequent cycles. Implementation in the first cycle may require a lot of technical remedial work that is never needed again.

The second SEO cycle starts when you have the results of the first monitoring function. Here is where you get to decide what you need to do in this cycle to generate more relevant referrals.

For small/medium businesses I’ve always found missing content to be the essential focus for the most cost-effective SEO activities and never yet needed to resort to expensive link building of questionable value.

For small/medium businesses owners,
At this point you should expect to be able to reduce your monthly external SEO costs while continuing to increase your generic SE referrals.

brendan29, post: 203773 wrote:
My contention is that a small-medium business with a relatively limited marketing budget (less than $1000 per month as a rough guide) is far better off doing SEO themselves and not paying a monthly fee to an SEO company. Do you agree or disagree?
After the initial SEO cycle described above, I wonder where $1,000 needs to be spent?

Small/medium business sites don’t typically publish large volumes of new content so I can’t see it going on on-page factors.

The SEO foundation for small/medium businesses must be to identify their strengths and weaknesses and those of their competitors and then to develop SEO tactics that enable them to use their inherent strengths and to side-step those of their big online competitors.

Surely no small/medium business is going to waste it on link building? (Note, my SEO definition includes the term “least cost”.) Why would a small/medium business waste money on SEO tactics where their big competitors have the advantage? What they are likely to do is generate a link building war in which the only winners are the link building services provided to them and their big competitors.

It seems there are many SEOs who promote link building as if it is the be-all and end-all of SEO and who pay no account of the specific SEO requirements of small/medium business sites. I wonder how many do this because:

  • they don’t know any better or,
  • they find it easier to rip more money from the client?
brendan29, post: 203773 wrote:
No SEO company should ever be given responsibility for writing website content. Even if a business owner is not a confident writer they can do what they can and hire a professional copywriter to improve upon their work (while keeping the integrity of their ideas in tact).
IMHO, your SEO should be working with content writers. The SEO should develop a content topic strategy. They should be helping with defining the information that an individual page needs to deliver and they should be advising on where to publish it/link to it on the site.

I have the greatest respect for people who have the skill to write good web page copy that encourages the reader to act. Unfortunately they are very few and far apart. In my book, a good SEO should be able to help the business owner assess the quality of the web page copy.

brendan29, post: 203773 wrote:
2. Link building. Good links require good content and again a business owner is in the best position to create link worthy content that is relevant to their business.
SE-friendly content, design and structure are the starting points for cost-effective SEO. Without these in place, link building is likely to generate a very poor return on investment.

Small/medium business owners,
You are MOST unlikely to need a single external link to make a dramatic improvement to your relevant generic SE referrals!

Most SE referrals are lost not because of lack of links, they are lost because site owners do not answer the questions that MOST searchers pose in the SEs.

brendan29, post: 203773 wrote:
My only caveat is that optimising a website under the hood is a skill that not everyone can do.
It is also a skill that requires a lot of constant reading, experimentation and implementation to keep current. It also helps if you have a good education and experience in marketing across many industries and if you can read HTML code.

Aidan said it well, above.

My version is you are not going to win Bathurst in your family car and someone in the pits who can only change tyres and fill the petrol tank.

brendan29, post: 203773 wrote:
However, WordPress plugins takes a lot of this hassle away.
Wordpress SEO plugins are designed to fix the SE problems inherent in a blog platform.

Other than that, they may save a little time implementing various on-page SEO functions.

What can have a much greater impact on generic SE referrals are the WordPress themes and plugins selected to publish the site.

The most cost-effective time to implement SEO is before the content management system, site design and structure are implemented.

brendan29, post: 203773 wrote:
I think SEO services aimed at smaller businesses is a dying industry
I would suggest that there are too many SEOs who do not know how to, or who don’t really try to implement the type of SEO services relevant to the needs of small/medium businesses.

SEO is becoming increasingly complex with the increasing delivery technologies, how they are used and the explosion in other online media and how they are used.

When it comes to acquiring new potential clients, the studies all show it is still SE referrals and daylight.