Should Bloggers REALLY Spend Money On SEO?

Have you been taken by “SEOs” yet? If you haven’t I bet you know of someone who has! In fact, that is the very reason I started this business over 8 years ago. It wasn’t so much SEO, but it was women getting absolutely had by all kinds of service providers.

I equate what I do with my friends and clients to the relationship I have with my mechanic. Did you know it is a proven fact that women are billed more than men at a mechanic? I doubt its intentional, but it is. I call it the skirt tax.

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When it comes to technology, the price variance isn’t saved for those of us in skirts. Anyone with less knowledge is vulnerable to a higher price. And if you’re not technically inclined, and don’t care to be, what can you do to keep yourself from getting ripped off?

(Now imagine me waltzing in like a sparkling fairy godmother but not that short plump one from Cinderella.) What you need, my friends, is a technically inclined friend-on-call.

But not like the time you invite your daughter and her husband over to have dinner and end up chatting about how to redirect your domain name. Don’t know how that happened. 

This friend-on-call lives to answer your questions and work with you to push your blog to the next level of success.

There are three big things that I predict will be the deciding factors for 2016.

Bloggers will live or die on Pinterest, SEO and Youtube

Yep. I predict bloggers will live or die in the next 18 months or so based on how hard they market in Pinterest, Google and Youtube. I’m pretty sure this isn’t new to you. Lots of you have been working hard at Pinterest for years. And some of you brave souls are getting into video. But lots of the most established bloggers are still confounded by SEO.

As heard in the WP Barista office:

[info_box type=”note_box”]”Can I just pay you to do it? How long will it take? I want to rank for this word: …”[/info_box]

Tonight I was reading an article by a content marketer (a prominent one) that says if Google is where the money is, how come our budgets aren’t reflecting this?

Good point.

So. Is it possible? Can we throw money at it and get to the top of Google?

Should A Blogger Pay for SEO Services?

My first reaction is “no”. Plain and simple. But that’s not very helpful, and not always true either. There are some things that are valuable and can be outsourced to others.

The reason I don’t like the idea of “SEOs” in general, is that a lot of them prioritize link building. Link building, in itself, is a phrase that is against Google’s intent. I’ll explain why and why it should matter to you.

Several other things play into SEO Services for bloggers as well as other sites. B2B companies have it a little tougher than bloggers when it comes to ranking content simply because they usually have far less of it.  Some of what’s necessary to rank well:

  • specific keyword targeting (content marketing)
  • specific and long-term content strategy
  • research into competitors and their activity on similar keywords
  • optimization of content
  • optimization of other internet properties that are not on your hosting
  • social media
  • networking and other PR events
  • guest posting, cross-posting and joint ventures
  • regular content upkeep, maintenance, and cross-linking
  • secure, fast and easy to read (mobile friendly) website

Does this seem like a long list? Tell me if you already knew this – or does this make you want to go back to bed and hide under the covers?

Link Building as an SEO Service

Google determines a lot about your site by the links that it receives (known as incoming or inbound links). If SEO had a currency, links would be it. More links = more google love, usually.

[info_box type=”note_box”]If Better Home & Gardens linked to you, it is likely your Hydrangeas really are that beautiful. If I linked to your hydrangea post, I’m sure it wouldn’t keep Google up at night pondering the awesomeness of your flower garden.[/info_box]

This is for three reasons.

  1. Google is looking for relevant content
  2. Google is looking for fresh content
  3. Google is looking for authoritative content

When a site links to you – they are saying, “Hey, look over here – this is exactly what you are looking for.” Or at a minimum, they believe it will serve their audience in some way.

Since I have neither relevance nor authority on the topic of hydrangeas, any link I provide is useless. However, I still have an authoritative site – so would a link from my site be valuable to you?

This brings me to all the stinky sleazy services that promise you 20 – 30 – 40 and more links for $$$. And those links are from authoritative (but irrelevant) sites.

This is a – I can’t even tell you how bad this is. It is THIS bad. Like HUGE – you-will-be-penalized-and-deindexed bad! You will loose all your SEO traffic, and your money and your house and be homeless – bad.

  1. If caught you will be penalized and deindexed immediately.
  2. If not caught those links are completely useless anyway. But you’ll be caught.

So how do you build SEO Links?

You don’t. That’s the whole idea.

I’ve lost countless minutes in Google trying to find this saying – I think it was a famous woman(really narrows it down) – who said:

“…if you have to tell someone how special you are, you aren’t.”

That’s pretty much Google’s philosophy. And if you follow this line of thinking, it’s easy to determine which links are ‘good’ and which are ‘bad’.

Good & Bad Links

Obviously those little links didn’t do anything wrong. It’s kind of mean to personalize them like that. But. There are definitely links that comply with Google’s guidelines and those that do not. Which ones do you want on your site?

Links that comply with Google’s guidelines are ones that are not paid for, traded for, co-erced into, or any other way of getting them. They are simply earned by the value you provide. 

[clickToTweet tweet=”complicit links are not paid for, traded for, coerced or otherwise obtained. They are given. ” quote=”complicit links are not paid for, traded for, coerced or otherwise obtained. They are given. “]

So you’re wondering about that link exchange you’re a part of? I’m afraid those are not complicit with Google, no matter how well meaning your blogging friend is. However, it can work, if your friend would link to you anyway. It is subjective at best.

When I am writing a list post about various tools I like and use, it is natural to simply link to them. I don’t edit them to be nofollow.

If I was being compensated in any way for that same list, then it is my ethical obligation to divulge that information. The only way I know of divulging that to Google, is to use a nofollow link. Plus, it is explicitly noted in their guidelines that a nofollow link is required in those situations.

So – in conclusion – do NOT buy link-building services.

Of course there are exceptions! The exceptions involve a lot of networking, research in your niche, providing very valuable content at the right time to the right person to earn a link. 

It is very time and labor intensive. It requires an understanding of your niche, company, strategy, culture and society.

Safe SEO Tasks to Outsource

I know it’s not reasonable for any of us to do it all ourselves. And there are a few tasks that are safe to delegate. Like these:

Like these:

  • maintaining speed, safety and responsiveness
  • best coding practices and coding structure (the geeky stuff)
  • setting up the SEO plugin (restructures the posts and pages)
  • optimization of the content
  • keyword research*
  • competition research*
  • social media marketing & PR

The items in italics are only sort-of safe. As with anything, you have to know your business, your audience and their expectations. Whoever works with you on these tasks especially, represents your business to the world. Keep a close(loving) eye on these team members.

Italics & asterisks are activities that aren’t front-facing, but they have a great impact on all the other activities. You get these wrong, and the entire campaign goes down the drain.

70% of Users Ignore Paid Ads

  1. 70-80% of users ignore the paid ads, focusing on the organic results.(source)
  2. 50% of all searchers use phrases that are four or more words long

Think about that a minute! We like to skip ads, and most of the time, we are not looking for “recipes” and “photos”.  We are looking for a specific meal or ethinic recipe; or inspiration for a headshot. The more specific the request, the more chance you have of ranking for it. In fact, you have a chance to rank for a lot more than you think!

You know what that means?

It means more traffic- more love – more money – more happiness, holidays that don’t end and fall booties that match every outfit.

Want to learn exactly how to put this all into practice on YOUR site?

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