Year in, year out, digital marketing trends come and go. Best practices change, strategies evolve, and there’s always something new on the horizon. But if there’s one element that retains its importance and, arguably, plays an even more significant role as time passes, it’s search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO is the heartbeat of online marketing. Without a sound SEO foundation in place, it’s nearly impossible to generate the kind of results your business needs to enjoy sustained growth and success.
The issue is that SEO is highly technical. It’s a skill that requires knowledge, practice, and careful execution. As such, it can also be expensive.
If you want to grow as a professional and simultaneously maximize resources, becoming an expert in the SEO field is sort of a no-brainer. The question is, how do you make it happen?
An SEO expert isn’t someone who works for Google or has some secret formula that takes advantage of a weakness in the search giant’s algorithm. It doesn’t even mean that you run a successful SEO agency and have high-dollar clients. Being an SEO expert is about understanding how the search engines work and knowing what it takes to grow organic search traffic on a consistent and repeatable basis.
But, unlike other industries where “experts” might be regulated by exams, certifications and a governing body, anyone can read enough to be dangerous and subsequently claim “SEO expert” status. Filtering out the inexperienced can be difficult, especially among those who may be great at selling, but lackluster at delivery.
When you’re an SEO expert, the internet becomes your playground. You’re able to breathe life into blogs, websites, and businesses. You also have a thorough understanding of other aspects of marketing – like content, design, and social media – which makes your skillset highly transferrable.
Before we dive into what it looks like to become your own SEO expert, we would be remiss not to mention the other two options you, as a business owner have: outsourcing SEO to an agency/contractor, or hiring an in-house SEO expert.
An SEO agency is beneficial for numerous reasons, including:
Working with an agency isn’t perfect. There are some disadvantages, such as:
In-house SEOs can help your business in many ways:
There are also some serious disadvantages that come with in-house SEOs:
There’s no right or wrong answer to which SEO solution is right for your business. Every business is different, and every business owner will have unique priorities. If your ultimate priority is getting hard, measurable results and growing with the times, an agency might be best. If you prefer to have more control, transparency, and brand immersion, there’s nothing that should stop you from hiring someone in-house.
But if you really want to take charge and develop the skills required to be successful in numerous areas of business, you might consider becoming your own SEO expert.
While most business owners and entrepreneurs choose to outsource an SEO services agency or hire an in-house SEO specialist, there’s a third option: You can become your own SEO expert. In doing so, you’ll enjoy numerous short-term and long-term benefits, including:
This is the number one perk of being an SEO expert. When you’re proficient in how to attract organic traffic, you can grow your business from the inside – no need for outside services or expensive consultants. This saves money, increases control, and puts your destiny in your own hands.
Your SEO skills aren’t reserved exclusively for your business. If you’re smart about how you leverage your knowledge, you can monetize your new skills in other ways. This may include consulting other businesses, obtaining a few SEO clients on the side, or even developing and selling authoritative SEO service content and educational resources.
The great thing about being an SEO expert is that you suddenly have the skills to launch a business in any industry and enjoy quick success. Whether it’s a physical products brand, a B2B service, a restaurant, or a random side hustle, you have the tools necessary to take a website and build it from the ground up.
Everyone’s familiar with house flipping, but are you aware of website flipping? It’s the same basic concept. You take a website that’s underperforming, you improve the SEO and generate more traffic, and then you sell the website at a higher price than you paid. For an SEO expert with firsthand knowledge of how to generate organic traffic, acquiring domains and flipping websites is a great way to earn some supplementary income.
You don’t have to run a bunch of side businesses in order to generate additional income. Another option is to create lead generation websites and then pass these leads along to qualified businesses in the industry. For example, you can create a digital marketing website where you collect leads of small business owners. But instead of reaching out to these leads on your own, you pass them along to another qualified marketing company. The website is just the magnet – the leads are the product you’re selling.
Finally, if you decide that you love SEO and have a passion for helping businesses and websites earn traffic and leads, you may decide that you actually want to go into the industry full-time. At this point, you can launch your own agency or become an SEO consultant for high-dollar clients. Either option can be extremely profitable.
With so many unique benefits and flexible opportunities, who wouldn’t want to become an SEO expert? The challenge lies in actually acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary to master this field. Here are some of the most important steps:
If you’re interested in becoming an SEO expert, you probably already possess some elementary knowledge of what SEO is all about. However, now would be the time to refresh your understanding and identify any of the missing puzzle pieces.
Technical optimization is at the heart of SEO, but it’s not the only aspect. (Far from it, in fact.) Metadata and keyword research are only two small elements in the larger equation. However, if you can master these smaller aspects, it frees you up to focus on the more creative elements like content and links – which we’ll discuss in the following points.
You never want to limit your SEO knowledgebase to what you gather from just one or two people. There’s a lot of room for interpretation and different schools of thought. The more experts you follow and listen to, the better-rounded your SEO understanding will be. Immerse yourself in as many books, courses, blogs, and content as you possibly can.
You can’t be an SEO expert without also being an expert in content marketing. While some people treat these as two separate concepts, they’re entirely dependent on one another. Content is the fuel to successful SEO and you can’t do one without the other.
Becoming an expert in content marketing doesn’t necessarily require you to become an exceptional copywriter (though it certainly helps). You do, however, need to understand what good content looks like, how to develop a content strategy, how to find good writers, and how to generate persuasive calls-to-action that move the right people toward the right decisions.
In addition to content, you must grasp the important role of link building. Links continue to be one of the primary ranking factors for search engines, but there’s a right and wrong way to accrue them.
Black hat link building involves sketchy strategies like using blog rolls, link farms, and spammy websites. On the other hand, white hat link building is all about leveraging authoritative publishing platforms in a mutually beneficial way that adds value to both their readers and your website.
In order to implement white hat link building at scale, you need powerful relationships with dozens of high authority websites, bloggers, journalists, and editors. This requires extensive networking and relationship building.
It’s one thing to understand SEO in theory. It’s something else entirely to execute an SEO strategy and generate results. The only way to acquire the right knowledge and get better is to practice – a lot!
Whenever you implement a new technique or strategy, dig into the analytics and study the results. What worked? What didn’t? Where are you unclear? The more purposeful you are in real-world case studies, the better you’ll understand how SEO works in the real world.
Whether you want to become your own SEO expert, or you think the best plan of action is to hire an agency, we believe we can be a partner and an asset, particularly for white label SEO and our reselling search engine optimization partners. For more information and education on SEO best practices and strategies, bookmark our blog. For additional information regarding our SEO services, please contact us at your earliest convenience!