Sometimes the life of an SEO professional is an inscrutable thing. I often find myself talking to friends and trying to explain what I do. Most of the time I just say “I practice Google-Fu, a deadly art that makes sites rank better in Google” and people shrug absently and conversation moves on. But sometimes they ask how you go about making sites rank better, and I give a broad overview.
That broad overview, that summation, is probably a mistake. It’s also what leads a lot of small business owners to ask the same questions my friends as: “That doesn’t sound hard — why would anyone pay for SEO if they can just do that themselves?”
Why pay for SEO? Why not just do it yourself?
Search engine optimization contains no acrane mysteries, no guild closely guarding the secrets to SEO magic. Anyone can do it. You can absolutely learn SEO yourself, rather than pay an expert. Anyone can.
Of course, the reason you pay for SEO is so you don’t have to learn it — because a few hours of reading those broad overviews is not going to make you effective at SEO anymore than a few hours of reading how to spay a cat makes me qualified to take a scalpel to little Whiskers.
But then, there are no arcane mysteries to being a veterinarian either. Anyone can learn to do it. But damned if I’m going to take the years to learn it just to avoid my vet bills.
Ultimately you pay for SEO services for the same reason I pay for a plumber, roofer, mechanic, or buy a stereo rather than designing and building it from scratch (something my father does). All of these are skills that can be learned in variable amounts of time, and for all of them I have to make a decision about which is worth more: my time, or the money required to learn that trade.
Generally, the money is a lot cheaper in the long run, and Whiskers is a whole lot healthier.