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“Greetings of the day.

I’ve looked through your website and it is much nicely. However I do be noticing that you are not ranking in the Google for your chosen keyword. At DodgeySEO inc we are guaranteeing the top ranking for all the keywords.”

Okay, hands up if you’ve ever received an email like this?

Hands up a bit further if you have no idea how to tell a good SEO company from a bad one.

And hands to the roof if you think SEO means “Stupid, Exhausting and ‘Orrible”.

Don’t worry. Today I’m going to tell you:

“There are no guarantees with Search Engine Optimisation, so promising a page one ranking in two weeks is usually a big, fat case of overselling.”

a. How to tell the legitimate SEO experts from the cowboys

b. How do it yourself SEO is entirely doable for solopreneurs.

(Oh, and sorry, you can all put your hands down now.)

Okay, so let’s begin with how a legitimate SEO provider distinguishes themselves from the snake-oil-selling SEO ‘gurus’.

1. They won’t contact you

Good SEOs earn their leads from referrals and their own SEO efforts.

They don’t need to spam you with poorly worded mass emails.

2. They won’t offer you a results-based guarantee

There are no guarantees with Search Engine Optimisation, so promising a page one ranking in two weeks is usually a big fat case of overselling.

Ideally, your SEO will help you not only with your ranking, but also with turning prospects into customers.

3. They’ll start with an audit

Before your SEO can plan a strategy for your website, they need to evaluate where it is now in terms of structure, crawlability, speed, responsiveness, content, backlinks and a whole heap of other factors.

4. They’ll share their secrets

If you don’t want to know how it all happens, that’s fine.

But you do want an SEO who can explain what they’re doing and why in simple, non-jargony terms.

5. They’ll keep you updated

A good SEO will encourage open communication, provide regular reports and reviews, and answer your questions (within reason).

No phone dodging or hiding behind emails.

6. They’ll use legit tactics

These days SEO focuses on transparency, not cheating.

That means a technically sound site, strong content, earning backlinks and social sharing.

Get-rich-quick schemes aren’t the answer.

7. They’ll provide testimonials

Expert SEOs are proud of their achievements and don’t mind telling you about them.

Rather than just having a slew of logos, they’ll happily give you contact details from previous clients so you can call them and feel more comfortable.

But what if you want to manage your own SEO? Can do it yourself SEO be done?

Deciding whether to outsource or self-manage business tasks is something every solopreneur has to deal with.

SEO is no different to bookkeeping, copywriting or designing in this regard.

I asked my SEO eCourse participants what initially held them back from DIY SEO.

These were some of their fears:

  • “I wouldn’t know where to start.”
  • “I find the whole subject quite confusing.”
  • “I’m worried I won’t do it properly.”
  • “I fear I won’t have the time.”

My answer to those fears?confessions of a misfit entrepreneur with Kate Toon

“How do you eat the SEO elephant? One bite at a time.”

Yes, it will take time to learn the basics of SEO and progress to the more advanced tactics.

Yes, you’ll need to dedicate a certain amount of time each week to get up to speed.

And yes, you could make a few mistakes and need help from an expert every now and then.

But isn’t that true when you’re learning any new skill?

SEO isn’t rocket science, or a dark art.

Google not only gives us heaps of helpful tools to use, it also has step-by-step guidelines and a stack of easy-to-understand videos that take you through the most common issues.

My advice is to bite the SEO bullet and devote an hour a week to learning about it.

Not only could it boost your business’ performance, it will also mean that if you do decide to use an SEO expert, you’ll have a much better idea about what they’re doing.

Have you tried do it yourself SEO? How did you find it?

Did you like this post?

confessions of a misfit entrepreneur with Kate Toon

You might like my book ‘Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur | How to succeed despite yourself’ – buy it online here.


Want to have a chat?

If you need a Copywriter, SEO Consultant or Information Architect, then please contact me.

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This post originally appeared on The Flying Solo website.

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