The question above is heard frequently by most search engine optimization consultants. Most site owners believe their developer or someone within their organization can handle optimization of the site.
To some degree a web developer or designer does have some skills that are required for Technical SEO, copy writing and search engine friendly design. However, a large part of SEO is an understanding of how search engines work (Google in particular) and marketing. If your developer is getting good results it’s likely as much luck or weak competition as it is their skill!
Often search engine submission is even still included in some development or hosting packages. Many developers even say that they will build a site that will achieve and maintain top positions.
Let’s take a closer look at what the above scenarios really provide.
There was a time when site submission to search engines was an important part of search engine optimization. Those times are long gone, today. Once a single link to a page exists, the search engines will soon find that page, and from there, will find the rest of the pages on the site, as well. Also because many sites are built on the WordPress CMS when you publish it pings sites that Google monitors for discovery of new content.
Paying someone to do for you what the search engines already do for nothing just isn’t money well spent.
Development or Hosting Packages
Some hosting packages still include some sort of search engine submission tool or service. Why would you want to pay for something that’s at the top of our search engines optimization services to be avoided list! Need I say more?
Search Engine Optimization:
Submissions to Directories
Search engine optimization of listings for directories such as Yahoo!, DMOZ and BOTW is done using the information provided during submission. These directories may provide a portion of the overall traffic being sent to sites from search engines. Once submitted, however, it is nearly impossible to get the information changed, so if you decide to submit to these directories, you had better get it right the first time!
Niche directories can still be valuable sources of traffic, as well, but you should stick with those that do honest reviews of their listed companies and that don’t claim any rankings benefit from the listing.
With Local Search and map results taking a lot of Google SERP real estate submission to niche or industry specific and local business directories has become a popular technique for raising ranks on map and local search results.
Foundational link building is work that can be done by a member of your staff or yourself. Although very time consuming work once you have a list of directories and a 50, 100 and 150 word description you have most of the resources you’ll need for the task (others you’ll figure out as you do the submissions) . I’d also recommend paying the SEO to ok the list and descriptions. Most of the Local SEO blogs have lists of the best directories to submit to by country.
Developers & Web Designers
“Hmmm, then I’ll get the website developer to optimize the site.” Probably not a good idea, unless they have a staff member who:
- Spends part of each day researching how to get higher search engine positions. This is huge as Google makes hundreds of changes to their algorithms every year!
- Understands the difference between marketing copy and search engine friendly copy. Someone who has done the research to gain knowledge of on-page optimization of html elements that improve rankings and opportunities for rich snippets provides a huge advantage!
- Understands search engine friendly design. Web designers use several techniques that often inhibit crawling/indexing or flat out hides content from Google.
- Understands each search engine’s algorithms. Again this is almost a full time job in itself!
There may be some developers out there that meet all those criteria – if so, they’re in a very small club. Most developers that offer this will sub contract it out and add a little something to the bill for themselves!
They’re also more concerned with the aesthetic design of the site than they are with its ranking. Once designed, it will often end up being your problem to get it positioned at the top of the search engines’ rankings.
Search engine optimization can be boring research, and much of the knowledge that’s really valuable and yields the best results isn’t provided on any web site. If it’s on a web site, it’s old news, everyone knows it and it’s probably been abused, making it less valuable, and in some instances, high risk.
Search engine optimization is properly done either on a search engine by analyzing results from different queries or by using position monitoring tools. Either way, hours are still spent analyzing the results in an effort to understand the search engine’s algorithm.
Another task that you or your staff can do is provide content/copy for the website and write posts for content marketing. The SEO can give you the topics and optimize the page. Remember that Google has vastly improved its NLP so copy is easier to optimize especially if the SEO includes the concepts and entities found in the search query corpus/results.
3rd Party Solutions
This only scratches the surface of what a search engine optimization consultant brings to the table that others may not. If you’ve read the search engine optimization required skills article than you should know what skills and knowledge are really needed to do a good job of search engine optimization.
Consider what you may pay a search engine marketer to correctly optimize your site. Look at what you should expect from a search engine optimization consultant. Then compare that to what you may be paying a developer or someone else in your organization to do it. Are you really saving money? Or just getting less service by not using a 3rd party search engine optimization consultant?
In conclusion, consider this: 80% of all traffic is generated by search engines, many bookmarked pages, word of mouth referrals or links were initially found on a search engine!
When you need legal advice I’m sure you go to a lawyer, not a law clerk. Is this situation really any different? If your business is important to you, then you’ll want to give it every opportunity to succeed and outdistance the competition.