Websites 101: SEO – To DIY or not to DIY?

SEO is a huge and technical field. As the volume of content on the web continues to explode, it becomes more and more difficult to stand out. 

Only the biggest brands have the budget to pay their way into top Google rankings. But there are still creative ways you can reach searchers and customers.   

If you’re setting up a website for a business, chances are you don’t have time to learn expert-level SEO. So here are a few ways you can implement entry-level SEO techniques to improve your website health, boost your traffic, and bolster your chances of discovery. 

Implementing a keyword strategy

Google Keyword Planner is easy to use and understand. You can quickly and easily search for keywords relevant to your product or industry. You can view how high the competition for them is (low, medium, or high), and how often they’re searched (1-10k searches a day, 10-100k, and so on). 

A very simple metric for choosing keywords is to look for low competition keywords that have high search volumes. Naturally though, these are pretty tough to find. 

Once you’ve chosen your keyword(s), you can calculate how often to use them. 1-2% density is a good proportion to aim for. This translates to 1-2 keyword uses per 100 words. This allows for search engines to pick your keyword up, without flagging it for ‘keyword stuffing’ (clear and deliberate over-use of a keyword).  

Setting up a blog

A blog is a basic prerequisite of a healthy website. Simply put, the more pages you have on your website, the more opportunity you’ll have to get picked up by search engines. They’re great for connecting with your audience, positioning yourself as an industry leader, and linking to social media posts. 

It’s relatively easy to set up a blog post for SEO. Here are a few simple tricks:

  • Break your article down with headings and subheadings, making sure you apply H1 and H2 tags. 
  • Use the Hemingway tool to check your sentences are readable and accessible.
  • Run your copy through the Yoast Readability Checker – a less grammar-focused alternative to the above, feeding back on title length, keywords, and snippets.
  • Make sure the article length is appropriate to the purpose. Google recognises anything under 700 words as a short form article. Anything up to 2000 words is long form. Different lengths affect ranking, but the priority should be your readership. How much time do they have? Do they want a quick guide, or an in-depth view?

Installing a plugin

If you’re building a relatively basic WordPress site, free plugins like Yoast and Screaming Frog can do a lot of the work for you. It comes with built-in content analysis and easy ways to manage keywords, snippets, and duplicate content. It gives easy to follow, colour-coded indicators for SEO performance. And it automatically generates XML sitemaps (a structured file for search engines to read).   

SEO: Should you DIY?

Often with technical services, you get what you pay for. That said, spending lots of money doesn’t guarantee results.

So, to DIY or not to DIY? As with so many things involved in starting a business – writing copy, designing a logo, and managing your accounts to name a few – the answer is a bit of both. The deciding factor should always be how much of your time it’s taking up. During the time it would take you to research, learn, and implement an SEO technique, could you have been doing something more valuable, like completing paid work? 

A great principle to follow is this: if something takes you less than an hour to learn, and you’re going to use it multiple times, do it yourself. 

If it takes you longer, but adds value to your skillset, it might be worth it in other ways. 

It will also naturally depend on your budget. As a startup, you may not have the capital for a top-drawer SEO consultant. If you’re looking for affordable assistance, chat to us at Slice of Pie.

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