Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a huge area, and to be done well it often involves a number of varied skill sets.
That’s not to say you can’t do most, if not all if it, yourself. In many cases with SEO, working out what not to do is sometimes more important than knowing what to do!
How easy is it to do your Own SEO?
As with most questions in life, it depends.
If you’re looking to do your own SEO for your website, then you need to be aware of what that actually means, as it is an incredibly wide area of the digital landscape.
When done well, SEO is astoundingly powerful and cost-effective.
Effective SEO gives you organic traffic. Organic traffic is ‘free’ traffic, coming from Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook or any other source. While a great Google Ads campaign can theoretically get you to the top of Google tomorrow, it will cost the earth, and as soon as you stop paying, your website is nowhere to be seen.
To have great SEO, you must have great content and great code.
In this article I’ll give a brief rundown on On-Page SEO, Off-Page SEO and Technical SEO and the skills those jobs require.
Copywriters and On-Page SEO
On-Page SEO is how well your content is optimised for relevant keywords and subject matter.
Some of what an On-Page SEO expert would cover include:
- Writing compelling page content using relevant keywords
- An understanding of keyword finding tools
- Ensuring keywords are used well in content, titles, descriptions and URL
- Using correct semantics – how headings are structured and using the correct HTML tags when required
PR, Marketing and Off-Page SEO
Off-Page SEO looks at who is linking to your website. If a high authority website links to yours, this is fantastic and acts like a vote for your authority.
In essence, Off-Page SEO helps search engines trust your website.
To be great in this space, you’ll be able to:
- Build authoritative links to your site. To do this well, you’ll need some great content from the On-Page team to be able to promote
- Avoid Black Hat Off-Page techniques like building links from untrustworthy web directories
- Have great PR skills and understand the needs of your client and who you’re pushing their content to
- Be active on social media to promote your site. Get the great content from your On-Page team and push where you can and encourage others to share it
- Build advocacy for your business, so your advocates will link to you
- Create a Google My Business listing straight away if you haven’t already
- Seek unbiased and trustworthy reviews from Facebook and Google users
Web developers and Technical SEO
Technical SEO focuses on how well search engine spiders can crawl your site and index your content. Unlike On-Page and Off-Page SEO, Technical SEO has absolutely nothing to do with your content. It all comes down to the quality of the code and how optimised it is for consumption by search engines.
The main goal of Technical SEO is to optimize the infrastructure of a website.
A number of factors make up great Technical SEO. We have a more exhaustive article on all of these parts, although here’s a brief summary:
- Server speed and Time To First Byte (TTFB)
- Site speed and performance
- Crawlability of your site – well laid out page structure and use of structured data
- Site security (if your website is not HTTPS is really needs to be)
- Your site must work well on mobile. Mobile traffic overtook desktop traffic in 2016 and Google has been prioritising the mobile version of your site since mid-2018.
- Having an XML sitemap. XML sitemaps are made for search engines as they are formatted for reading by bots instead of people
- Use and understand Google Analytics
- Use and understand Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools
Having a good understanding of HTML & CSS will take marketers and PR staff a long way in the world of Technical SEO.
There are no clear boundaries between On-Page, Off-Page and Technical SEO
Many parts of SEO can overlap. A huge factor in your website SEO is site speed and asset optimisation. So, for example, uploading unoptimised images to your site is not great. This could fall under On-Page SEO as that optimisation could be completed by the content team. Image optimisation could also fall under Technical SEO as the development team probably should have a tool installed to automatically optimise everything that’s uploaded to your site.
It really depends on the size of your team and what infrastructure you have available to you.
Heading structure (when to use an h2 or an h3) could be On-Page or Technical.
Optimised titles and meta descriptions rely on both the technical and content teams.
What type of SEO is the most important?
It’s all equally important!
Having a beautifully coded website will do you nothing if the content is lacklustre and unappealing. Having great content is a wonderful thing, but without anyone linking to it, what’s the point? I’ve seen incredible websites, with fantastic content on them that will never get a look-in by Google simply because the code behind them isn’t up to scratch, and the content team won’t adhere to the fundamentals of proper semantic heading structure.
Doing one or two minor things for the lists above won’t do anything for your search engine ranking. If you do enough of all three and keep putting in the effort, then the rewards will be great.
This article is only a high-level summary of On-Page, Off-Page and Technical SEO. Each really is a career unto itself. Whether you’re going to hire an SEO specialist or do it yourself, you must understand all the different parts.