In short, yes, yes you can. Most people can learn to do anything, even SEO (Search Engine Optimization). By that same logic, a person can fix their own car when the engine dies... or fix their own septic tank when it starts leaking sewage. While these analogies are extremes, they apply because SEO, being a mechanic, and being a septic tank expert are all trade skills that, more often than not, should be handled by a professional. It's also worth noting that optimizing your website for search engines is about as important as having an engine in your car and working plumbing in your home.
Why hire a professional?
Search engine optimization is a really specific set of skills. Despite what many will tell you, it's not a black art that can only be performed by the internet elite ("Webmasters"). Rather, it's a method of content creation and scheduled maintenance that adds up to improving your websites relevance (aka rank) on websites like Google. As mentioned above, you can learn this skill, but is it worth your trouble? Do you have the time to add on a second career to your already busy life? If you don't have the time to dedicate to it, then it's best to find someone who can handle the task for you properly.
Where do I find an SEO professional?
This is a tricky question. Continuing the mechanic analogy above, there are many people that offer SEO service but not everyone knows what they're doing. SEO pricing can range from $1000 per year to $1000+ per month; it really depends on what you need. Do you really want to hire someone who is using a $29 product from GoDaddy that walks them through only the basics of SEO? Probably not, but that is a common practice. It's best to find an SEO expert that is confident in their skills and experience. Don't be afraid to ask them questions to test their confidence. More often than not, the person you're talking to only understands the utmost basics like Meta Tags and keywords. Since it's not longer 1999 (although it is a great song), you need someone who keeps up to date on the changes that Google makes to it's search engine program. Many people offer search engine optimization, very few understand it.
Isn't SEO expensive?
It can be, but "expensive" is relative. SEO prices tend to range from $1000 dollars per year for small sites and upwards of $100,000 per year for online stores with thousands of products. It really depends on the depth and labor involved for your website. Many small businesses have a website, which is great; however a website that cannot be found on search engines is valueless. Consider SEO as a part of your marketing & advertising budget. It's an expense; a cost of doing business. For small businesses, this how the average person will discover you. For online stores, search engines will be your life blood.
What's the difference?
The average small business site is lucky to get 300 visits per month. With today's hyper-connected world, online marketing is as competitive as ever. Consider that most people visit a website several times before they buy or call. When they do finally buy, they change from a visitor to a customer. We call that a "conversion" in the website business. The average conversion rate for well known online retailers (like Amazon.com) is about 10%. That means for every 10 visits, they make 1 sale. For unknown and small businesses, it's closer to 5% or less. This means is that you will get calls for your business or receive orders online only by earning traffic to your website. 300 visits per month, at a very optimistic conversion rate of 5% would give you 15 sales or calls per month. 300 visits per day would yield approximately 450 sales/calls in theory. Although there are many factors to a website being successful, you have zero opportunities with zero visitors.
SEO is critical to most business's online success. Having the sexiest website in the world doesn't matter if they can't find you under your business category keywords (plumber, doctor, etc). Unless you have the time and resources to focus on a brand new technical skill, then it's best to hire a professional. Find someone who explains what they do (within reason) and is confident. SEO should be part of your marketing budget, plus it's a great tax write off at the end of year.
Mercurius Creative, LLC is proud to offer SEO services.
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