DIY SEO for Time-Poor Business Owners

No business owner has the time to do a lot of SEO, but you can delegate the SEO basics to an employee or freelancer. Even doing basic SEO tasks can make a difference to what page of Google’s results you appear on.  Take control and prioritize.

Your Top Priorities

  • SEO Basics
  • Content
  • UX
  • Links
  • Promotion

DIY SEO comes down to proper site management, fresh content and making your site attractive to users.

SEO Basics

SEO is too important to leave to chance. Neil Patel puts it very clearly in his SEO guide,

“If you ever need to hide a dead body, you should place it on the second page of Google search results.”

You MUST do everything in your power to improve your search engine results pages (SERPS) ranking, or no-one is going to find you.

Good site management is a part of SEO that can be outsourced, or delegated to a trusted employee. This SEO Chat article runs you through the basics of SEO and can form the basis of your employees’ training.

The most time-consuming aspect is keyword research using the free Google Adwords tool, but even this is not a task you need to do yourself. With basic training and the right tools, your content team can identify keyword phrases to target.

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Installing the free Yoast SEO plugin on your blog will ensure writers’ awareness of the importance of correct keyword density.

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Yoast also checks for paragraph length, sentence length and other readability factors that will affect your user time-on-page and bounce rate statistics.

Content

Yeah, yeah. We all know content is king, but it takes time!

There is no way to avoid it. Regular fresh and insightful content is part of what will rank your site higher in search engine results pages (SERPS). There will be nobody else who understands your business as well as you, but you need to change that. If you don’t educate writers into how your business works, you will be stuck writing everything yourself, other important tasks will crop up, and the writing won’t happen.

Even the best writer works better with input from you regarding your services and clients.

Take the time to explain your business and how it works to your content production team. Educate your writers about your customer persona, his needs and how your company solves them. Make your business values clear, have a content production plan and feed your writers plenty of ideas for articles.

User Experience (UX)

The most important person in your organization is imaginary. Your customer persona should be writ large in every office, and room in your premises. Use an image of this imaginary persona as a screensaver on all your computers, put posters featuring his image on the backs of all the doors ion the washrooms and in the staff canteen.

If your users dislike your website, you are doomed.

Your site has to look good, use colors users like and that will elicit the emotions related to your business objectives. Minimize clutter, maximize contrast and ensure everything shown on a page is the optimum size, color, and shape. Negative space is every bit as valuable as page components, so avoid trying to do too much on any one web page.

Each page should have one purpose and one purpose only. The rationale behind a web page’s existence should be obvious. Navigation through your site should be simple and easy to use, regardless of the screen size someone is using.

Links

Building links to your website is essential, but if you build them in the wrong way, Google will bury you on page 200 of its SERPS.

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Safe link-building activities:

  • Learn what links point to you by installing the free Incoming Links plugin
  • Provide high-quality and insightful resources people in your niche value and will link to without any prompting
  • Build your reputation by sharing everything you know without asking for payment
  • Design infographics that link back to you when others install them on their sites

Promotion

It is well-nigh impossible to do even basic promotion without a large team.

Be selective.

If you only focus on one promotion channel, let it be YouTube.

Forget videos about your business; they won’t show in Google and no-one is interested. But, videos that show how to solve problems are another matter.

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Ryan Stuart from Webris says Youtube video promotion is vital as part of your top-of-funnel marketing and engaging customers.

Your Takeaways

Much SEO can be done in-house using basic training and free WordPress plugins to help inform decisions. You must delegate content production, but feed writers with ideas and company information frequently. Concentrate your social media presence on producing How-To videos on YouTube.

3 Case Studies: How Content Boosted Traffic & Increased Customers

As a small business owner, or solopreneur, you’ve heard that content increases website traffic,and maybe you know that it also helps build brand trust and credibility.

And although you may be keen to try it for yourself, you’re looking for some kind of reassurance that after all your hard work, it’s a viable ROI.

In the case studies to follow, all three companies were young startups that decided to do things differently in order to get the edge over their competitors. Using content as their primary marketing strategy, they experienced tremendous results that enabled dramatic growth.

Have a read. Be the judge about whether content is a good ROI or not.

Case study 1: Turned problem into a solution with online course content

End result: $20K in 5 days
Company: Design Pickle
Industry: Marketing

Design Pickle, founded by Russ Perry in January 2015, offers a flat rate per month for an unlimited amount of graphic designs. Most large corporations have their own graphic designers, so this company’s clients are predominantly small businesses and solopreneurs.

Most small business owners don’t have a content design strategy in place, and therefore, the customer retention rate for graphic design services in particular is generally low. What Perry found, was that once clients received their designs, they would cancel their monthly subscription.

Design Pickle needed a way to grow and to educate its clients on marketing strategies.

Enter Pickle University online courses. The courses, hosted by Kajabi, an all-in-one marketing tools third party online course platform, allows Design Pickle to upsell and bundle services for discounted prices, and is used as a lead magnet to secure new, and empowered clients.

The launch of the first course brought in $20K within 5 days from pre-sale email marketing to people who were already on Design Pickle’s email lists. The key here, was that Perry identified a need; to educate clients on process and industry, and filled that need by providing online courses to help educate and grow the businesses of his clients.

By developing business and marketing courses, Perry is able not only to increase profit passively while still growing his graphics design business, but can also help his clients strengthen their businesses.

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Image Credit: Design Pickle and Kajabi
Russ Perry (back, middle) is the founder of Design Pickle.

Original source of case study: Kajabi

Case study 2: From outbound to primarily inbound

End result: 6 X boost in website traffic and 4 X more customers
Company: Glofox
Industry: Software developer for health industry

Glofox is a startup founded by Conor O’ Loughlin and Anthony Kelly in 2014, and experienced rapid growth with its software developed for gyms and fitness studios. The problem was that the direct sales strategy they were using to acquire customers, was costing too much. Their approach required the use of too many complex systems which were not playing nicely together.

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Image Credit: BusinessAndFinance
The founders of Glofox: Conor O’ Loughlin and Anthony Kelly.

O’Loughlin and Kelly decided that they needed to attract customers to their website instead, by creating an inbound marketing machine. Using HubSpot, they set up a blog, created landing pages for targeted traffic, optin forms and smart call to actions. They say that by using content, they “are positioning ourselves as industry experts and thought leaders in our field; we blog constantly, we have a weekly podcast and we produce ebooks and user guides.”

Similarly to the first case study, the founders of this company say that creating personas was a vital part of their inbound strategy.

Since the swap from outbound to inbound marketing, Glofox has experienced a 6 X boost in traffic, and has 4 X more customers.

Original source of case study: HubSpot

Case study 3: Infographic backlinks strategy for new blog

End result: Website traffic increase of 963% in 6 weeks
Company: ChewieSays (now HerePup)
Industry: Pets

Perrin Carrol, who started the ChewieSays blog, identified an opportunity in the pet niche, after noticing that there were not a lot of smaller pet sites providing good content, and that a handful of big pet sites were completely dominating the Internet.

Carrol needed a strategy to compete with the handful of some seriously big competitors in the niche. To go up against them would entail producing some brilliant content, and promoting it in order to get quality backlinks to his site.

What Carrol did (and this is key), was to identify what was proven to be important to his target audience, and create an infographic around it. Doing his due diligence, he came up with the topic of “ways that pets improve human health”.

Armed with the 22 points gathered from his research, he hired a freelancer to design a pretty basic infographic to use as “bait” for authority websites, in order to get quality backlinks to his site. The link to the ChewySays website, was placed into introductory content on the infographic, which is good for SEO.

Finding prospective blogs in the niche that might have been interested in publishing the infographic, he contacted 92 bloggers and got a positive response of 5.4%.

Once those bloggers confirmed their interest in the infographic, Carrol removed as many barriers as possible, to make sharing the content easy.

The end result was eight niche-related, white hat backlinks which provided a dramatic surge of traffic to his new blog.

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Image Credit: Backlinko
The infographic that sparked traffic to a new blog.

Original source of case study: Backlinko

Key points

Three startup companies achieved dramatic results, all from using content as their primary marketing tactic. In summary, here’s what they did and what happened:

  1. A graphics design startup launched online courses as a way to grow, and to educate clients. Proving the need for the online courses, was the $20K that was generated as a result.
  2. The cost to acquire clients was proving too expensive for a software developer company, and the founders decided to switch to a primarily inbound marketing strategy, seeing a 6 X boost in traffic and 4 X more customers.
  3. The founder of a brand new pet blog, needed a way to compete with major sites that were dominating the industry, and with a cleverly designed infographic, received eight quality backlinks, boosting the traffic by 963% within six weeks.

Ten SEO Gurus You Should Be Learning from Right Now

You may have heard that "SEO is dead." Perhaps you’ve even said it yourself. The reality, however, is that SEO is far from dead!

In a recent Search Engine Land article, Columnist Stephan Spencer puts it this way:

"While SEO is NOT dead, the way that you’re doing it might be. Does the following describe your approach? You’ve optimized your H1s and meta tags and you’ve built a few (hopefully white hat) links. Now you just sit back and watch your site rise to the top of Google, right?

Wrong. This sort of cookie-cutter approach to SEO — one that equates SEO to tuning a guitar or to following the steps to a pumpkin pie recipe — rarely works in today’s search landscape."

This quote illustrates the ever-changing nature of SEO. As with any industry that changes frequently, SEO is a field you can’t just "learn once" and walk away. Instead, you need keep up with its new developments regularly. And that’s where this list of experts comes in.

If you want to stay on the cutting edge of effective SEO, good teachers and influencers are key. So be sure to follow these experienced practitioners on Twitter, and refer to their blogs, to keep up with today’s leading SEO practices.

1. Christoph C. Cemper

Christoph is an SEO expert and the creator of Content Marketing intelligence software Impactana. Launched in 2015, this software helps marketers find content ideas that make an impact.

He began his work in online marketing back in 2003, when he provided SEO consulting and link-building services. In 2006, Christoph realized there was a need for accurate and reliable SEO software. So he developed the first internal tools. The software he developed became the basis for LinkResearchTools (LRT), a SaaS product containing four tools. It launched in 2009.

Today, thanks to continual research and development, LRT now offers 21 tools. It’s designed with ever-growing functionality that’s adapted to market requirements and Google changes.

Christoph also created Link Detox. Launched after Google Penguin rolled out, this software is designed for finding links that present a risk in a website’s backlink profile. He has written and spoken about link risk management since 2011, and he introduced the technology and process for ongoing link audits in 2012.

Founded:

Where to Find Christoph:

Excellent Reads:

Words to Remember:

"Adding your site to any web directory just to get a backlink will have a negative effect on your website’s ranking. Most web directories out there provide no real value to the Internet users and Google has excluded them from its search results. You don’t want your website to be in there! Search for trusted directories. There are a few for every niche. These directories provide useful information to you, your target audience and your potential customers." (Source)

2. Neil Patel

Neil Patel is the founder/co-founder of several online businesses, including KISSmetrics, Quick Sprout, Crazy Egg, and Hello Bar. He’s known for his influence as an entrepreneur, SEO expert, and online marketer.

Neil has helped many world-renown companies achieve significant revenue growth. A few brands on his impressive client list include Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom.

Entrepreneur Magazine has said that Neil created one of the 100 most brilliant companies in the world. Forbes said he’s one of the top ten online marketers, and the Wall Street Journal has called him a top influencer on the web.

Neil was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 35 by the United Nations. He has also been awarded Congressional Recognition from the United States House of Representatives.

Founded:

Where to Find Neil:

Excellent Reads:

Words to Remember:

"When we talk about SEO, Google comes to mind for most marketers … Most marketers don’t consider that the second most used search engine can also be a lucrative channel … Since all marketers go after Google, Bing has lower competition. And, it has a decent market share, at 21.3%, in the US (including Yahoo search that’s powered by Bing). Further, Yahoo-Bing network also has an exclusive audience in most verticals." (Source)

3. Sagi Solomon

Sagi is the Head of SEO at InboundJunction. He’s respected as a tireless marketing enthusiast who’s never content with the status quo. Constantly looking for the latest SEO trends and tools, Sagi’s passion is formulating the most competitive search strategies possible. With a mix of technical prowess and creative vision, he has become a trusted problem-solver for his firm’s clients.

Where to Find Sagi:

Excellent Reads:

Words to Remember:

"The speed of your website is one of the many factors that adds or subtracts to Google’s trust of your website. If your website is fast and error free, it’s less likely to cause any of Google’s searchers problems, therefore, making it more trustworthy and likely to appear in search results." (Source)

4. Jordan Kasteler

A digital-marketing consultant specializing in SEO and social media, Jordan has been avidly involved in Internet marketing since 2001. He has a history of entrepreneurship, co-founding such companies as BlueGlass Interactive – an industry-leading agency in social-media marketing and SEO.

Jordan’s experience includes serving as in-house SEO at Overstock.com, marketing strategy at PETA, and agency-level digital marketing. He’s a regular speaker at various Internet marketing conferences, and he authored A to Z: Social Media Marketing.

Jordan is also a regular contributor to Huffington Post, Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, Search Engine People, Social Media Today, Addicted2Success, Lead Change Group, and others.

Founded:

Where to Find Jordan:

Excellent Reads:

Words to Remember:

"While your potential customers are less likely to be influenced by marketing campaigns, they’re incredibly receptive to content about your brand that comes from other users. In today’s world, your fans are likely to have more success selling your products than you." (Source)

5. On Yavin

With more than 15 years of experience with online marketing and SEO, On founded Online Performance, a company specializing in SEO, ORM and PPC solutions. As the active CEO, On is always monitoring the recent happens in the SEO world to make sure his clients get the best results possible.

On has a knack for enhancing SEO results with in-house technology tools his company developed to provide better results for his clients. As SEO develops, adding technology to the mix can amplify results and get a great competitive edge, he says.

On also enjoy sharing digital marketing and SEO tips on Business 2 Community, SEMRush, Tech.co and others. Expect to see a whole lot from On in 2017!

Founded:

Where to Find Ann:

Excellent Reads:

Words to Remember:

"Experience shows that even today, there’s great importance to creating links for the purpose of web promotion. Any attempt to promote websites in categories that have medium to high competition without creating a hyperlink strategy is bound to fail. Even after many of Google’s algorithm updates, links have great significance when it comes to rankings." (Source)

6. Matthew Capala

Former New York University professor Matthew Capala is an internet entrepreneur, founder, and sought-after international speaker. According to Matthew: "I believe that showing up is 80% of success. Why? Because in a world where 80% of customers search online before they buy, invisibility is a fate much worse than failure."

Matthew founded the boutique SEO agency Alphametic, which helps clients with SEO, website optimization, Google analytics, and paid search. His clients have included brands such as L’Oreal (and Makeup.com,) Shopkeep, Hoval, Quest Diagnostics, and others. He also the publisher of Search Decoder.

Matthew’s work and ideas have been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Entrepreneur, Mashable, Digital Summit, Internet Summit, The Next Web, ePharma, Problogger and Huffington Post. He is also an international speaker and trainer. He’s given talks at Social Media Week, Internet Summit, and many others. Matthew wrote the award-winning international bestselling book SEO Like I’m 5, among others.

Founded:

Where to Find Matthew

Excellent Reads:

Words to Remember:

"If you don’t act on the technical audit and content strategies, you won’t see any improvement to your website’s online visibility. You need to get your hands dirty (either working solo or with an agency/consultant /developer/team). Put another way, it’s not enough to read about the history of the tree. You need get out there and pick the fruit!" (Source)

7. Matt Janaway

UK-based SEO expert Matt Janaway has over 16 years of successful digital-marketing and eCommerce experience. CEO of Marketing Labs, Matt uses the latest proven online-marketing techniques to consult high-end brands. His specialties include SEO, link building, PPC, content creation and management, blogging, meta data, and more.

According to Matt on his Marketing Labs site: "There have been multiple studies which have found that SEO is the soundest long-term marketing strategy and can have a higher ROI than any other strategy. Our clients have seen a growth of over 1000% in 3 year periods."

Founded:

Where to Find Matt:

Excellent Reads:

Words to Remember:

"Growth hacking is a term that’s thrown around a lot, and many people are confused by it. Growth hacking simply refers to doing anything you can do to grow your business. It differs from marketing in the sense that you use any means necessary. I’ll be telling you how you can ensure that your business sees substantial growth, fast!" (Source)

8. Matthew Barby

Award-winning digital marketing consultant Matthew Barby is the head of growth and SEO at HubSpot. Specializing in developing growth strategies for businesses of all sizes, he’s worked with Blue Chip companies and local businesses across a range of industries.

Matthew is a regular columnist for a number of marketing publications – including Marketing Land, Moz, and Search Engine Journal. He’s also been featured in Forbes, Social Media Today, TechRadar, Entrepreneur.com, The Guardian, and many more.

Also, with the Digital Marketing Institute, Matthew has been a speaker and lecturer. He’s lectured

across the SEO and social-media Professional Diploma certified courses, including the creation of course material, mapping of the syllabus, and recording of video lecture content.

Where to Find Matthew:

Excellent Reads:

Words to Remember:

"…It’s really easy to get disheartened during the early stages of your social media campaigns. Things are slow at the beginning and it can feel like you’re running in circles a lot of the time.

The reality is that most social media campaigns won’t really deliver any real results until you’ve got a fair few months into them. Even then, depending on what niche you’re in, it can take much longer. The most important thing to remember is to keep focused.

Have a strategy and stick to it – even if it feels like you’re going nowhere." (Source)

9. Christine Churchill

With over 15 years’ experience in Online Marketing, Christine specializes in organic SEO consulting, web site audits, PPC management, content marketing, holistic online marketing, and keyword research.

Christine is the president of KeyRelevance. The company offers results-oriented marketing programs for businesses of all sizes. Services include organic SEO and PPC management.

Christine has written on SEO and SEM topics for Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Land, MarketPosition, SearchDay, Wilson Web, SitePoint, NetMechanic, and SearchEngineGuide. She’s also a regular speaker at Search Engine Strategies, Webmaster World Publishers Conference, Search Marketing Expo, and other Internet conferences.

Also, Christine has taught many online marketing classes through the International Association of Webmasters, Search Engine Strategies Seminars, Search Marketing Expo Bootcamps, and the Direct Marketing Association.

Where to Find Christine:

Excellent Reads:

Words to Remember:

"You are never done fine tuning your landing pages. As you put out new pages, learn what worked on earlier pages but continue to try new things too. In this competitive market, getting even another percentage better can make the difference between success and failure. Google Website Optimizer is a free tool that allows the webmaster to perform multivariate testing. Software that did this used to be very expensive. Google provides the tool without cost and has made it straightforward to use." (Source)

10. Rae Hoffman

Rae has been an SEO specialist for over a decade. She’s the co-owner and CEO of PushFire, a full service digital marketing agency founded by industry veterans. The agency focuses on producing ROI for SEO, PPC, and online promotions.

Rae is also the CEO of Sugarrae. The company publishes various websites across several topic areas that are monetized by advertising avenues such as CPM, affiliate marketing, contextual advertising, and others. She’s also the primary author of the often-controversial (but well-regarded) Sugarrae Internet marketing blog.

Also, Rae is a frequent speaker at PubCon, Affiliate Summit, SMX, and other events. She’s also been a columnist for publications such as Search Engine Land, Amex’s Open Forum, and more.

According to Rae, "I often refer to myself as a ‘White Collar Redneck’. I’m a serial entrepreneur, proud born and raised Jersey Girl, an Honorary Canadian, an avid fundraiser for the AHA and am known for calling things as I seem them and never being afraid to speak my mind.

Founded:

Where to Find Rae:

Excellent Reads:

Words to Remember:

"I’ve become obsessed with site speed over the last six months, systematically working through each of my sites to improve their speed. Supposed SEO benefits aside, the faster your site is, the better the user experience. And the better the user experience, the higher the conversion rate – sales, leads or newsletter subscribers; whatever a conversion for your site may be. And that’s a good thing for your business – no matter what type of business model you have." (Source)