Andy Williams

DIY SEO: Getting Your Research Right

30th Apr 2014 SEO Blog 6 minutes to read

www toolsSo, you are a business owner and you have a website. You rely on your site to bring in a percentage (if not all) of your revenue. You aren’t ranking as you would like and you know you need to get moving in the search engines to start bringing in the big money. But before you start with DIY SEO, check out these pitfalls to avoid.

SEO appears to be one of the answers and you decide that you are going to be carrying out your own SEO campaign. Excellent. Nothing wrong in that.

However, take a look at the following scenario

Let’s say you have never done SEO or any kind of online marketing before. You are certainly aware of SEO and friends or colleagues have highlighted how easy it is – it’s all about keywords and adding them in your copy as much as possible. It couldn’t be any easier.

But just to double check you go online and read up on SEO first. Good move. You read everything. Put together a list of what to do. And you do it.

Then, you wait – nothing. Nothing happens. The site simply carries on as it did before. What went wrong? Well you may have fallen foul right at the start – your research on Google.

This is a very common pitfall for those who carry out their own SEO campaigns. It’s very easy to do. Let me give you an example:

You want to start at the beginning so you search for something along the lines of “How Do I SEO My Website”. The results are great and there are loads of useful articles to get you started. What could be wrong with that? Well, potentially this could ruin your campaign before you have even started.

Something a majority of people don’t think about when in this situation is how old the articles are that they are reading. Something else beginners don’t take into account is how trustworthy, relevant or up-to-date an article may be.

SEO changes all the time. Techniques that worked last week may have suddenly dropped into Google’s list of doom. Old articles that continue to rank well may be leading you down the wrong path.

During your travels for example, you may have heard how important Keyword Meta Tags are (they aren’t by the way and don’t use them, it’s a waste of time). If you search in Google for their importance there are more than enough high ranking articles that say how you should use them and how important they are.

It’s so easy to read the wrong information and act on it. It may not even be you. It could be a friend who is advising you who are actually reading out of date information and then leading you into making the wrong changes. Whatever the scenario, trust me this is where it usually goes wrong.

Now, there isn’t anything wrong in carrying out your own SEO campaign. Some companies simply don’t have a choice. Budget won’t allow them to hire a specialists or an agency.

So what should you look out for when carrying out that initial research online?

The date of the article

This is the most important factor. These days, more often than not, Google will include the date of the article within the search results. Look for it.

Search Result

As I have mentioned previously, SEO and online marketing changes all the time. What Google may have once deemed good SEO practice may now hold your site back. It is important you review when the article was written.

As you can see from the example above, it was written in 2007, 7 years ago but it ranks highly. The information included I would imagine was spot on for 2007, but it may not be as relevant now.

What sort of engagement has the post had?

A good post written by a trusted author will more often than not have created good engagement on their post.

Look at how many comments have been left on the post. Read what has been said. Do people agree? This can give you a good indication as to how trusted the author and information is.

Also look at the social engagement. Do they have social share buttons, how many times as the article been shared?

Now, it is possibly unfair to say an article isn’t correct or relevant just because it hasn’t been shared socially but you can bet that a good trusted author will have a high number displayed.

What else has the author written online?

Yes I know we are now moving into research that you possibly didn’t expect to have to carry out, but this is the reality of making sure you are carrying out the right work if going it alone.

What else has that author written? Have a look through their blog. This can tell you a lot. If they write solely about the industry (SEO, PPC etc) then chances are they are working within it and know what they are talking about.

If it looks like their article on SEO was a bit of a one off, they may not be as authoritive as they appeared. For example, SEO articles have been known to appear in Forbes. An authoritive SEO source?

What are other people saying about the subject you have searched for?

Yes, more research. But you are new to this so keep going.

Research what others are saying on the subject you are researching. Do people agree? Are they writing pretty much the same thing?

SEO can be opinion based, but the basics and the facts are exactly that and most people with experience would agree on these.

What are Google saying?

Also go straight to the horse’s mouth. Google have a lot of online help files and pages available. They won’t outright tell you the algorithm, but they will help point you in the right direction.

That all seems like overkill

When laid out like this, yes it does. But this is your online business you are talking about here and if you are going it alone from scratch, you need to get it right.

A lot of people love to simplify SEO believing it is simply about a few basics. This isn’t the case. There are around 200 ranking factors that are taken into account by Google when ranking a web page. It’s far from a few basics, so be careful. Read up on everything, but research what you read, and think about my points above.

As discussed, your situation may be that you have no choice; you have to pick this up yourself and run with it.

If you have a friend who genuinely knows their stuff and can help out, then great. But if you can hire a reputable agency then do. Don’t cut corners. If you have the budget this isn’t a corner cut you want to take.

If your entire business model relies on your website performing well, then you should seriously look at expert help. As you can see from above, it can be a minefield just finding out what information to trust before you even start actually optimising your site.

Google take into account around 200 factors when ranking a web page and these 200 keep changing. Make sure your site is in the best hands.

Check out our services page to find out more about SEO. If you’d like to get in touch, our team will be happy to hear from you.

Image Credit:

WWW Tools via BigStock

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Andy Williams

Andy Williams will be giving you useful insights into local search and the overall SEO landscape. Andy has over 10 years experience in the SEO industry including 2 years as the in-house SEO consultant with a leading Web Design company.

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