Should I get external help for SEO?
Do I turn to a web agency for this? Or is it something I can manage myself?
Hi Mike, you can certainly learn to do SEO yourself. It is a skill that can be self taught. SEO is time consuming and is an ongoing process. You need to continually be doing work on your website every month to both gain and then maintain rankings.
What you need to way up is how much your time is worth to you. Are you better off spending your time on tasks that will generate immediate income into your business and let the professionals take care of your SEO. Or If money is tight then by all means knock yourself out and learn. Some great resources are online training such as the lynda tutorials http://www.lynda.com/Marketing-Enterprise-Marketin...
When it comes to SEO it is something you should learn and do yourself. If you know how SEO works you will start writing better posts/site content. SEO isn't hard, it is just making sure you are organised and putting some thought into what you are doing with your website. And at the end of the day, that is something you should be doing anyway.
Don't freak out and don't get sucked into the SEO kit scams. All you need to know about SEO is freely available on the internet. Finding the material is part of the learning process, pay attention to what you are searching for and look at the results you get. Don't just read the content on the websites, look deeper! look at the structure, use of words and dig a little deeper by right clicking and selecting view source.
You can get a lot more out of a website if you take the time to look at it properly. If your competitor is ranked higher in Google, what search phrase are you using to find them. What wording are they using on their website to get so high.
Kate Smith Head of Marketing at The Kate Project
LIke Katina, I agree that you can manage this yourself, but it is time consuming to do effectively. If you are in a very competitive sector SEO is very important and hard to do efficiently/effectively if you are competing against big corporate players who outsource this task.
SEO strategy includes not just managing the metadata and structure of the content on your website, but it also includes the content itself, backlinking, removing unwanted links and of course tracking your competitors.
The many changes that Google make mean that you need to have both the skills to perform SEO and the time to research and understand the changes that they make and how to improve your digital standing. Tools like MOZ (https://moz.com/products/pro) can help you understand the scope of what needs to be done and you can then decide if you want to manage this yourself or seek out specialist help.
If going to an external resource, remember to set quarterly targets for them and make sure you read and understand the monthly reports. They know SEO, and you know your business and sector so you can definitely refine their strategy with your knowledge.