How To Be Smart & Knowledgeable About SEO

“The SEO business is 80 percent scam” ~ Peter K., internet marketing strategist and author of Search Engine Optimization for Dummies, a great do-it-yourself SEO book for small business owners.

Yes, it is — but 20% of it is really great. Nevertheless, it is easy to throw your money away on shoddy and ineffective work: the SEO business is an unregulated market, so you’re pretty much on your own when looking for an SEO firm or consultant.

Google has radical changed the SEO industry by directly going after “spam” SEO and other tactics designed to artificially inflate a website’s rankings and traffic. Today more than ever the business owner with an online presence need to understand 1) what SEO techniques adhere to Google’s (and Bing’s) guidelines and 2) how to do effective SEO. Below are four critical resources that will help bring you up to speed on what you need to know, help keep you from being taken by bad and/or disreputable SEO companies, and they will help you great the best website possible for your potential customers.

  • Start With This Resource First: Google has provided a comprehensive Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide.
  • Second, Get This Book: A terrific book for business owners that want to do their own SEO and internet marketing is Peter K’s Search Engine Optimization for Dummies.
  • Third, read through Google’s webmaster quality guidelines. It’s a great overview of what constitutes spam SEO.
  • Fourth, as of May 30, 2012, Google has taken another step into the SEO arena by providing website owners directly with SEO advice in their new Webmaster Academy. It goes beyond SEO however. It gets into the nuts and bolts of how to make a website that serves the needs of your customers. It’s comprised of several sequential short lessons that you can work through.

Do Your Own SEO!

One of the bast ways to avoid being taken and to make sure you’re doing effective SEO is to do it yourself. SEO isn’t rocket science, but it is hard work.

Certain critical do-it-yourself SEO tasks can save you a bundle of money, but —be warned: these have a moderate learning curve and all require a non-trivial amount of time & effort. However, you may have some excess labor capacity w/in your in-house team that can be put to use learning one or more of these critical SEO tasks — see: 5 Critical SEO Tasks You Can Do Yourself/In House.
Another great resource for SEO do-it-yourself-ers is Stephen W’s SEO & Internet Marketing for Training Program for Small Business Owners. It comes with 110% guaranteed. (Note that I am NOT an affiliate. I’m recommending Mr. W’s products because they’re simply effective and worth the money).

While it’s clearly possible to do SEO yourself, there is a non-trivial learning curve, and it’s a LOT of work, but before you hire me or anyone else, check out Erin Weinger’s terrific Entrepreneur Magazine article: What You Don’t Know About SEO | It’s essential to understand SEO before you spend thousands hiring consultants you may not even need.

And finally, despite all the risks and confusions, in the end, if you’re a small business owner who’s income depends in full or in part on the internet, you absolutely need SEO. Check out Chandler Harris’ Entrepreneur Magazine article: SEO: Essential to Survival | Companies that rely on the web for sales have two choices. Embrace SEO or don’t embrace SEO. And one’s not really a viable option.

You can break SEO down into two basic tasks: 1) on-page SEO tasks and 2) off-page SEO tasks. While on-page SEO tasks are only part of the story when comes to rankings, it’s often the easier part of SEO. See, Do-It-Yourself Easy On-page SEO To Get More Web Site Traffic.

OK. What if You’re Really Too Damn Busy to Do Your Own SEO? Learn How a Competent SEO Specialist Can Help You Increase Both Your Website Traffic & Leads


SEOMoz has published a case study of exactly how to succeed in your organic marketing efforts. See How To Get The Equivalent Of $100K in PPC Ads For Free. Follow the link and read the article — it’s well worth your time. The bottom line?

You Had Better Like To Write

The bottom line is we spend a ton of time writing. Writing for our own site, writing guest blogs and articles for other sites, writing to answer HARO requests, answering questions in forums, etc. We probably spend half our time on new content creation and writing in general. ~ Mike S., CEO of Born To Sell,