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For many people SEO is a minefield of confusion, a maze of wrong turns and a battleground of bamboozlement.

That’s why I thought I’d answer five of the top questions I’m regularly asked in one simple post – with a little help from my friends.

I asked Shae Baxter and Jayne Day to give me their perspective on these five tricky issues.

(On a side note, I have to say how awesome it is to find two more SEO sisters out there, helping small business types transform their inbound marketing.)

Question 1: Should I be paying for SEO or doing it myself?

Shae baxterSHAE:
“I think it depends on what sort of business you have but I’m a big advocate of DIY SEO.

In my business I work with a lot of virtual service providers and entrepreneurs who are building their own personal brands. Most of them are already blogging or using videos. Because they’re blogging so regularly, I do believe it’s a great investment for these types of businesses to learn to do SEO themselves.”

Jayne day“I believe that the business owner is in the best position to do SEO themselves. But if time is a factor, then outsource it to someone that you can trust.

If you pay someone else to do it, you still need to have a basic understanding of the correct procedures so that you can monitor what they are doing on your behalf.”

“I guess it comes down to budget. If you can afford to pay an expert then do that. If you can’t then you’re going to have to learn a little DIY SEO.

It’s also about what you enjoy doing. If you’re not much of a writer and don’t like fiddling with your website then DIY SEO is probably not for you. Many people are terrified of SEO, but seriously, it’s not rocket science and you can learn the basics fairly quickly.”


Question 2: How much time should business owners be devoting to SEO each week?

Jayne dayJAYNE:
“This depends on how quickly you want results and how big your website is. If you have a product based website with lots of products than you will need to devote more time than if you are a service based business. No matter what your business, you do need to devote time each week to creating new content and online promotion.”

“I see so many small business types spending hours faffing about on social media or writing blog posts that will never be read. SEO is about understanding your audience and using your time effectively to target them. The time you spend is going to vary hugely depending on your financial goals, and the type of site you have.

But as a starting point, if you had 2 -3 hours a week, and used them effectively, you could start to see good SEO results.”

Shae baxterSHAE:
“With the type of clients that I work with, they really need to only focus on it when they’re blogging and optimizing their blog posts or videos etc. Usually this is around one post per week on average.

But SEO is much more holistic now and can include other activities like guest posting, commenting on other blogs, Google+ and doing interviews and podcasts.”


Question 3: What’s the biggest SEO myth you’ve ever heard?

“SEO is dead. Google will always need to use some kind of algorithm to decide how to rank websites and SEO expert types will continue using experimentation and research to find out what influences that algorithm. The rules may change, but the game will still be played.”

Shae baxterSHAE:
“That keywords are not important. Keywords are the lifeblood of a SEO strategy. A search starts with someone typing in a word or phrase into a search engine. You must have an understanding of the language people use so you can use it on your website and to provide the most helpful and relevant content.”

Jayne dayJAYNE:
“One of the biggest myths that most SEO companies want you to believe is – to get great results you need to hire a SEO company who has insider knowledge.  SEO isn’t hard once you know all the requirements and just work on it consistently.”

Question 4: Why is blogging so important for SEO?

Jayne dayJAYNE:
“Google loves websites that continually publish new content and blogging is the perfect way to do this. Blogging also gives you the opportunity to rank for longer keyword phrases that you may not have initially targeted due to the informational nature of posts.

But most importantly, you are publishing content that will (hopefully) be beneficial to others which will encourage sharing.”

Shae baxterSHAE:
“Helps build your brand and authority, get seen as the expert in your field, increase exposure and build trust with potential clients. It’s a great way for more people to find you because each new page of content is another ticket in the search engine lottery. I agree with Jayne, that the more quality content you create, the more opportunity for various different keywords to send traffic to your site.”

“As Jayne said, every page is a new opportunity to rank for a fresh keyword phrase. But that’s not a green light to start pumping out crappy pages for the heck of it! The truth is that the more helpful, relevant, interesting and engaging content you produce, the more chance you have of a) ranking for a given keyword phrase b) being read by potential customers c) having that content shared and d) improving your brand reputation.”


Question 5: What’s one thing I could do today to improve my SEO?

Shae baxterSHAE:
“Consider your keywords. You don’t have to go into any detailed keyword analysis but start to get an idea of what your ideal clients are searching for. I always ask my clients to step into their ideal client’s shoes and create a list of words and phrases you think people might use to find you online.”

Jayne dayJAYNE:
“Go into your Google Webmaster Tools account and see what improvements Google is recommending for your website (HTML improvements).  While you are there, make sure you have a XML sitemap submitted and if you don’t, do this straight away.”

“Ensure your site is crawlable. Most clients who come to me with SEO issues have failed on some of the most minor tech issues. There’s simply no point writing a zillion blogs if your foundations aren’t solid. A miscoded file here and there can block Google from crawling your site and all your efforts will be for nothing. As Jayne said, Google Webmaster tools is a great starting point.”

So there you go – 5 SEO questions answered by 3 SEO experts. Simple.

Over to you

If you have more questions or you have anything to add to the discussion, please don’t hesitate to add them to the comments field below.

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