Can Small Businesses Really Do Their Own SEO

Recently, during the Q&A part of a conference session I was attending, someone asked, “Can small businesses do their own SEO?” It’s not an easy question to answer but, in a post Panda Update world … I think the answer is no.

There are lots of things small businesses can do. I’ve mentioned some of them in ways to promote your small business for free and promote your small business for $888. But once we get past the basics, unless the small business owner has time to devote themselves to learning and implementing SEO, it’s almost a necessity to have someone on staff or to hire a consultant.

Probably the biggest hurdle for most small businesses is site design and site architecture. They will choose a web designer who is, at best, ignorant of SEO best practices or who, at worst, gives them bad or outdated SEO advice. I can’t tell you how many visually stunning small business websites I’ve seen over the years that are so image heavy, they are invisible to search engine spiders or, worse, are completely uncrawlable, And let’s not even bring up the subject of flash.

For small business owners with limited time resources and/or limited budgets who can’t hire a full time consultant to work directly on their project, my advice is to arrange a telephonic consultation with someone. Find a consultant who will have a weekly/bi-weekly/monthly call with you and your team (hopefully with someone who can make the changes needed). The arrangement should include an initial review or site audit. Every call should include a review of the last call, any changes to be made, and a review of any new development or changes in the SEO world. Lastly, the call should include discussion about plans for the future.

What types of future planning should your consultant talk with you about?

  • Content creation: Blogging, how-to articles, Linkbait, etc.
  • Link building: What are you doing to build links, how can you target higher quality links.
  • Social Media: Social media is filled with opportunies for small businesses.
  • Media,Press, and Public Relations: These are all part of your overall marketing strategy, and your SEO should give you recommendations about how to maximize the SEO value from it.
  • Technical Issues: Hopefully after the initial review these will be minimal, but things do crop up from time to time.

photo credit: Photospin runs on the Genesis Framework

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