As someone who sells SEO as a service it is often not in my best interest to tell people they can do SEO on their own. But it's true. Just as changing the car's oil, fixing clogged pipes, or painting a house are all relatively easy, most business owners can SEO their website on their own. All it takes is some knowledge and time.

ThinkKnowledge can be found easily enough for free, and time, well, that's not something you likely have an excess of. Fortunately, SEO doesn't all have to be done at once, it can be implemented a little at a time, as you have time.

If you want to optimize your site yourself then you need to simplify. A lot of what you'll learn about SEO can be complicated. Especially when you start reading about .htaccess, robots.txt, 301 redirects, absolute links, and so on. This is all good information to have but you don't always have to start there.

If you're doing it yourself then start with the things that you can do yourself. Don't get caught up in all the complicated issues that go beyond your knowledge or ability to implement. The more difficult technical tasks may still be necessary down the road, but for now, do what you can with what you have.

Here are some things that you can often do easily enough on your own:

1) Customize all your title tags. If your site is big this may take some time. If its dynamically generated then you may want to have your programmers implement a template that pulls in and inserts keywords based on the page.

2) Customize your content. This can be especially important if you sell products. Don't settle for stock descriptions, and take the time needed to write somethign different for each of the 20 products you have that are simply different versions of the same thing. This customized content is essential.

3) Get content on all of your pages. If you have category pages that link to products or other information pages, put at least a paragraph of text on each page.

4) Link, link, link. Add links throughout your content to other pages and products of your site. Link back and forth between pages, add links to related products, link to your blog and from your blog.

5) Blog. Write content that your visitors will love. Don't just use your blog to pimp your products or services. Write helpful tips and tutorials or provide insight that your readers can use.

It's only when we over-think SEO that it becomes more complex than it needs to be. There certainly are aspects of SEO that require a technical mind and someone savvy enough to implement it. But there are plenty of areas that can be done in just an hour a day. Do what you can and leave the heavier lifting to someone who has the machinery to do it.

February 12, 2009

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.


SEO at its simplest form, your right SEO is not that complicated if only you take time to do the simple things necessary to optimize your site. As for me I think backlinks is important for optimizing ones website.

Deb from Trusler Legal

I agree on the simpler level of SEO owners can get their hands dirty and learn how to perform certain tasks by themselves. It is a HUGE time investment though to keep abreast of all the changes that are going on with the algorithms and your competition that need to be counteracted to maintain top ranking. Especially when you take into account highly desirable/competitive keywords it becomes a full-time job.

For a smaller business without the budget, with an excess of time (sounds dreamlike :D), and a non-competitive set of targeted keywords it makes sense, but for companies that realize the benefit of hiring professionals that live and breathe SEO and have better things to do, it pays to go with a reputable firm which has a track record of delivering results.

These are some good recommendations for a business that needs to boost organic rankings on a limited budget. I agree with Deborah that link acquisition should be a key factor in this list (even if it's with partners, vendors, suppliers, local organizations, etc). The challenge here is that when businesses start doing client-side "SEO" it is often approached as one-time event and is shelved to collect dust after they've "optimized" the site. There are certainly some one-time steps in SEO, but it should be treated as an ongoing, momentum building strategy by combining fresh, unique content, strategic link building & acquisition, and industry/community participation & PR. Unfortunately, you're right in that there's so much information on the web about SEO services and differing opinions on strategy that the do-it-youselfer can get confused and make the simple into the complex -- thus they can't see the forest for the trees.

For competitive industries and aggressive minded business owners, making the investment into a well-planned, well-executed SEO campaign with an established company can be on of the best marketing investments they could make (not only for results but knowledge gained for future in-house efforts). If organic search rankings are so important to a business and in the absence of an in-house SEO expert, why DIY?

Hi there,

I agree with this point of view. In fact I also have few articles in which I advise people to forget all the other unhealthy SEO techniques and concentrate on the basics. Sometimes it's all you need along with great content that keeps coming and coming.

In the end I think the secret stays in content and how much of it do you have. More articles, more keywords targeted and more traffic.

TomaBonciu on Twitter

Excellent tips on the proper way to do SEO for a website that is intended to be around for the long haul. These so-called "whitehat" techniques stay above the major search engines' radar and appear more natural.

Good Article, lol, I thought SEO is such a complicated stuff,,

yes its true sometimes implementing SEO kinda hard and need a lot of patience

"If its dynamically generated then you may want to have your programmers implement a template that pulls in and inserts keywords based on the page."

If you are pulling in professional programmers to get the job done, wouldn't it make sense to get in a professional SEO team? In this, I agree with Tim Livian.

But you're right- Content is everything. All-in-all, a much-needed article for the DIY SEO!

- Edward for

Great! I agree with these tips. SEO is not really that complicated if you choose not to. Using of proper SEO tools plays a great part of the process. Content articles, inbound links and right keywords to be used will put your site on top of the SERPs.
Online Degree

good tips here for SEO beginners. You can actually do it yourself just have the basic SEO tools and you can speed up the traffic for you blog/site your own way and doesn't cost that much. Keep learning!
Pellett Stove

I'm in full agreement that there are many instances when you just need to buckle down and hire an SEO to do the job. While may aspects of SEO are not that complicated there are others that are. Even the non-complicated areas do require quite a bit of knowledge that many business owners just don't have. But, short of the budget to hire the SEO there are things you can do to get the ball rolling and get your site moving in the right direction.

We agree - a lot of things one can do for themselves.
But, for anyone new to website workings though, it can be a bit over-whelming, especially when companies are calling on the phone saying you NEED their services otherwise no one will ever find you on the web.
After a while, you begin to learn that you don't need to spend thousands and slowly, very slowly, you begin to understand how these things work - although as you say - at some point you may need to get a professional for the heavy duty stuff as for most people, neither have the time or the understanding for the heavy duty stuff.

I agree, SEO is not terribly difficult it just requires a great deal of time and patience. The strange thing is that people really don't understand the patience part of it until they actually get their hands on it and do it themselves.

I agree with you. SEO does not need to take too much of your time. One or two hours a day sitting in front of the computer adding links is a good start. Good article and blog contents with lot of back links will do the trick. You just need to be more patient to see results.

Carlton Burkhart

Well, there is always a first time for everything this is my first time to try and ask questions on line. I am trying to have a website built, I don't know the buzz words and acronyms to stay in the conversations, I am asking today to give me the long term for SEO. I was told I can only use 25 keywords to attract the search engines? I am reading all I can each day, with only my right brain to guide me.

Thank you
Shari Bleau

Hi Shari, SEO is Search Engine Optimization. Or the process of optimizing your site to perform strongly in the search engine results.

So SEO is not all smoke and mirrors then? I thought it was a big secret... Thanks for the education.

Accountants Witney

This is a really important topic right now. People everywhere are trying to save money and I think one of the best ways to do that is to start doing for yourself what you have been paying others to do. Many people don't realize that they can do things like SEO themselves but, as you said, the basics of it aren't that hard at all.

That's cool Stoney: i really enjoyed to read this post and came to know that SEO is not a big Job a person who have good knowledge and skills can be a good SEO Developer.

Right on point! SEO companies, though, try to make the whole ordeal of SEO so complicated in order to increase their bottom line. One thing I would like add: You shouldn't make very drastic changes (eg. removing or adding 300 pages all at once), as this can significantly cause your rankings to decrease.

I think it is important to understand that on many levels, SEO can be complicated. Maybe complicated isn't the right word but there are a lot of things to know and fully understand the implementations of in order to SEO a site effectively. For most that knowledge necessary is pretty daunting and for the business owner wanting to run a business, it's not always lucrative to learn SEO as well. However, there are always some basics that can be done that anybody can do, and that's what I hoped to illustrate here.

I am really paying attention here. I want to know if it is true that twenty five keywords would be advisable for SEO? Also what is URL? One small step at a time!
Thank you

Great article - I agree. If you have the time to be patient, you can do a good job of SEO a bit at a time.

Kiki Anderson
Win Child Custody

Well, yes most would think it may not be in your best interest to post this information, but it may work in your favor.

By posting this information it creates something that I use with my Portland business called resciporcity

Thank you soo much!!

SEO is like many things in life, where often times "less is more". In business there are usually about half a dozen fundamentals, that if carried out with precision, will make all of the difference between success and mediocrity. With effective SEO it's true also. Good content, good internal links, good incoming links, good titles...all things that don't take a tremendous amount of time, but if done right will make a big difference in visibility.

@ Shari - I'm sorry, but I really have no idea what you mean by "25 keywords."

A URL is the web address that you type into the browsers address bar such as

hmm.. SEO will be easy for those low competitive keywords but if it is high competitive keywords then that is completely different story.

Malaysia Web Hosting

You are soooooooo right. I have wasted so much time trying to learn more about SEO. Time is better spent applying what you know. Every day doing little things adds up.

Digital Camera Photography News

Very good post ...

I think the most important thing about SEO is that the webmaster/site manager should understand, think and live SEO 24/7/365.

A SEO expert should always focus on getting people to do part of the SEO work themselves. Explain the importance of optimizing the content, and give them the tools to do it.

Search engine optimization is a proces, where the site manager/webmaster has to do most of the work.

Optimized content is king!

Steen Öhman
SEO Check, Denmark

"Knowledge can be found easily enough for free, and time, well, that's not something you likely have an excess of"

I agree. But knowing where to find quality knowledge is the key, else you'll be misleaded and confused instead.

dog obedience

There are two ways to implement SEO to improve your site''s online productivity. You can either do it on your own or you can ask a professional to do the work for you. Keep in mind, however, that whatever course you take in SEO, it is almost impossible to get overnight results. Basing on your effort and hard work, you might be able to see an improvement after a month of two of dutifully implement SEO concepts.

If you plan to do it on your own, then you need all the help you can get for a successful implementation of SEO. You can browse online for articles to give you an idea on how to get started. You can also visit SEO-based forums and ask the experts for some advice to help you out.

If you are opting for the services of a professional, then you better make sure that they are not scammers who are more into the idea of getting money out of your than actually improving your page. Research online for these SEO businesses and make sure they have a good rating to back up their claims.

Rudy Silva
constipation remedies

I agree with you. SEO doesn't have to take all that much of your time. A couple of hours a day building your links is a good start. Good article and blog contents with lot of back links will help a lot. Patience and work will be rewarded.

When I complete a site I implement the keywords for the SEO which can sometimes be difficult depending on the keywords that I have been given but I'm starting to get better. Once I've done that and the first stage of seo I then hand it over to the SEO department who do the article writing and link building to keep the sites on page one of google.

Anyone can do it with a bit of patience and help from sites or people who have done SEO before and it can be fairly easy to pick up. Once you've done it a few times it gets easier.

Thanks for a really informative post.

Free addendum to Stoney's advice: Be careful with the linking, and the reciprocal linking specifically. Contrary to certain opinion, reciprocal linking is acceptable -- provided you don't have too many reciprocals and that you don't link to sites that are irrelevant to yours. Having a free-for-all approach to reciprocal linking won't necessarily get you banned from the search engines, but it will absolutely kill your ability to get good rankings, certainly in the Google engine. You can bet the farm on it.

Get some SEO addons for your browser, use these tools to research all your competition for the first page of Google. Once you have found out how and why they are there in the ranks you mush emulate what they have done everyday.

Don't copy every exact submission and link they have built, but evaluate there patterns and where they have posted and exchanged.

2 hours a day would see you climb the ranks even within a month. 6 months of hard work would reek the benefits for you or your business.

I believe in this because I have done this my self for 3 separate businesses and 3 different sectors of their industries.

Great Article.

Hi, I definitely agree with your post. But yes, almost anybody can do SEO! but the problem is that it is quite time consuming. I would rather hire people to do my SEO rather than do it alone. :) Free Nclex questions

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