It’s common for solopreneurs to look for ways to keep their expenses down and their profits up. And so they often manage various business responsibilities on their own. As a result, they try to tackle many functions that fall outside of their core competencies as a way to improve their cash flow. And it’s understandable … up to a point. They justify spending time because they believe they can’t afford to invest in professional help. This holds especially true for search engine optimization (SEO).
What is SEO anyways?
The basic answer is SEO helps people connect with the websites and other online digital content that best matches the words they enter into the search feature on Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines. For example, if you were to pull up Google and enter in the phrase, “ best dentist Baltimore MD”, you would want to have Google return all the top dentists in the Baltimore, MD area who have the best reviews online and any that may have won some awards. You wouldn’t want to have to hunt through a listing of dentists in New York or teeth whitening products to find the right dentist near you. The same is true for people using the search function on a website. If the site is properly SEO’d, then the content on a website that best matches the search request will appear for them to choose from.
What’s the difference between organic and paid rankings?
Let’s stick with the example of searching on Google for a minute since it is the most used search engine. When you enter phrases (known as keyword phrases) into the search bar, Google will respond with search engine results pages (SERPs).
Typically, you will see paid advertisements at the top of the page and down along the right side. To help differentiate the paid listings from the free or organic listings, Google shades in a colored background for those at the top and states, “Ads related to …” whatever your keyword phrase is. Along the side, they states, “Ads – Why these ads?” You will notice, however, that the sidebar along the right will start to change as Google’s Knowledge Graph becomes more prevalent. For more detail about this, you can read one of my previous blog posts on SmallBizMedia.tv titled, “How Will Google’s Knowledge Graph Impact SEO?”
Organic listings are those that are most relevant to the keyword phrases without paying the search engines to list them. Google lists ten organic links per page on their SERPs. Statistically, the organic listings receive far more clicks than the paid advertisements often because people trust what is the best match for keyword phrases than what someone paid to put in front of them.
BTW – SEO applies to paid online advertising campaigns as well, including pay per click (PPC). If you’re investing money into advertising campaigns, you want to see the biggest ROI, right? This takes knowing how to research what your competition is doing, what keyword phrases are optimal for your campaigns, the price you should be paying or bidding depending on the scenario, and the right ad copy to get your target audience to take action.
How does Google know which links to pull up on their SERPs?
What if I told you that there were over two dozen positive SEO elements on this page alone that Google considers when indexing this page for future inclusion on SERPs, do you know what they are? Would you know how to optimize them so your article gets eyeballs to it … and from the right people? Do you know what the negative elements are that can drive your content down in the listings?
These questions are highly relevant for solopreneurs and really any sized business or organization. Optimizing the content on your site, on your social media profiles, and on other off-site locations like bookmarking sites and directories, so that they appear as highly relevant for the keyword phrases you select requires knowledge, experience, strategy, and dedication.
Google and the other search engines look for keyword phrases included in things like the URL, the title tag, description tag, header tags, links, image tags, the body copy, and more. If most of these terms sound too technical, that should be your first clue that you may not want to try to manage your SEO in-house. But, efficient SEO doesn’t stop there. You need to not only please the search engines, but you obviously have to create content that will attract your target audience, provide value to them, and get them to take a specific action, whether that is to enter their contact information on the page so you can build a list of prospects, or download a white paper so you can show your level of expertise, or make a purchase so you can generate revenue.
Should you manage your SEO in-house?
Hey, I know you may have some skepticism listening to SEO consultants telling you that you should hire SEO consultants instead of trying to optimize your content on your own. I get it. However, here are some things to consider:
1. Is what I’m saying in this blog post elementary for you or is it still puzzling? If you know how to do effective SEO, great. If you don’t …
2. Do you think that you will have time to go through the learning curve of understanding the difference between good SEO that produces results versus the SEO that “everyone else is doing”? It’s hard to compete when you can’t differentiate yourself from the competition. And when it comes to SEO, you have to learn it, and re-learn it, and learn it again because the search engines and social media sites are always changing the rules so they can be more competitive and offer their users a better experience.
I’m simply speaking from experience when I challenge you on whether it’s better for you to manage your own SEO or outsource it to consultants like my partner and me at SmallBizMedia.tv. Many times when companies or organizations contact us, they start the conversation with “We tried, but we can’t figure this out …” or “We just don’t have the time.”
And if you look at what it will cost you, stop for a minute and consider what it is costing you by trying to figure it out on your own. How much ground is your competition gaining doing SEO the right way because they hired SEO consultants? How many customers are finding the competition instead of you when they search online? Can you afford to let the business pass you by?
If you need help optimizing your site, social media profiles, and other online content so you can connect with your target audience and get them to take action, contact us by filling in the contact form online or call us at (410) 500-6071.
All the Best,
The Solopreneur’s Guide