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How Much Does DIY SEO Actually Cost?
If there’s one thing all small business owners know, it’s that time is money. And if time is money, whenever you spend time on something, you’re spending money on it, too. If you think about, we’re trading hours of our lives for little pieces of green paper.
Time is short. Therefore, you should spend it doing things you’re good at, or as Ben says, doing things that only you can do. Like Michael Jordan playing basketball like only Michael Jordan can.
I like Michael Jordan. My favorite memories of him have to do with an epic movie called Space Jam, but most people love him because he’s a basketball superstar. He’s synonymous with basketball.
But remember that time he played baseball? Yea, I don’t like to talk about it, either.
What Does Michael Jordan Have to Do with SEO…?
In high school, MJ did everything. He played baseball, basketball, and even dabbled in football. But then he moved on to bigger leagues and had to specialize in the one sport he did best. When he tried to segue into baseball, it was… interesting. Sure, he did fine, but who wants to be mediocre when you’re already phenomenal? And much like Mr. Jordan, as your company grows, you’re going to find yourself in bigger and more challenging leagues where you just can’t do everything anymore and still be more than mediocre.
It’s no doubt that online marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) in particular are necessary these days. Is it possible for you to do your own SEO? Yes, as long as you’re playing on high school teams. Once you make it to the big leagues, you’re going to have pick: run your business or write blogs every day. Try to do both on a professional level and you’re going to end up like Michael Jordan on the Chicago White Sox: average at best.
Don’t believe me? That’s fine; you don’t have to take my word for it, because along with Michael Jordan, we at BC also like numbers.
Part of making data-driven decisions means you kind of need the data. So I’m going to break down the time (the numbers) it takes to really implement a good SEO strategy so we can assign a monetary value to the work it takes.
The first question you should ask yourself before we begin is, “How much is my time worth?” The more time you have, the more you can afford to spend it doing non-owner things. But if you’re like every small business owner I know, your time is in short supply, which means it’s worth quite a bit.
For the rest of the data below, I’m assuming you value your time at $50 per hour (we are assuming this business owner’s salary is 10% of annual revenue, and annual revenue is right around a cool million).
So How Much Does DIY SEO (that Works) Actually Cost Me?
I’m going to pretend that you already know the ins and outs of Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools, and Adwords (but realistically, I bet you don’t!). You’ve done marketing but really want to grow your company, so you think it’s time to utilize SEO.
But before anything else, you’ll need to learn SEO.
Educate yourself: 83.35 hours
A must-read is Moz’s SEO for Beginners Guide, which the average reader can speed through in just under three hours and 35 minutes. Take it a step further with about 80 hours of training from our very own Blue Corona U and you’ll find yourself able to hold your own when we geek out about phrase-based indexing and the latest Penguin update.
Keyword research: 3 hours per week
Keyword research is the bread and butter of SEO. Not the exact keywords, mind you, but understanding what your prospective clients are looking for. This not only includes direct queries into search engines but also complete phrases that bots crawl and index according to relevance. Phrase-based indexing is an art, and takes true word nerds (like me!) to patch together optimized content to be user- and robot-friendly.
Blogging: 24 hours per week
The most common myth about blogging is that it takes an hour to write a post. In reality, a professional writer can crank out an audience-optimized, publish-ready blog post in between 4 – 5 hours.
Now, blogging is like a marriage; it only works if you can commit to it. We blog daily, and you’re encouraged to do so at least three times a week to see results.
But then what? Your company has to keep growing, and so do your ideas. To keep people interested in your content, you have to continually one-up yourself and suddenly, ideas that once took you an hour to come up with are taking three days.
In addition to the time it takes to actually write, you need to stay up-to-date on industry news and opinions. Starting out, you should schedule at least 10 hours a week to just plain read.
Social Media: 8 hours per week
My buddy Jake likes to talk a lot about how social media is related to SEO. Your company is no exception, and in order to step up your content, you’re going to have to spend around 8 hours a week jumping on the social media bandwagon.
So let’s do the math.
83.35 hours*+ 35 hours per week ($50 per hour) =
*Don’t forget to educate yourself.
That’s a whole lot of money.
And that’s not including scouring Google Analytics for additional data, re-optimizing web pages to add new and better content, and developing a PPC plan.
Back to Michael Jordan.
If you have all the time in the world, sure, buff up on your SEO and DIY it till the cows come home. But if you don’t, make like Michael Jordan and do what only you can do, and that’s run your business, friend. You have accountants that run your numbers and lawyers that draw up your contracts, so it only makes sense to get some content marketing specialists to write your content.
Contact us today to get more information on how we can save you money and time, and ask for me if you want to chat about Space Jam.
About The Author: Betsy is the social media team lead and a content marketing specialist with Blue Corona. When she’s not managing social media marketing campaigns or writing badass blog posts she’s practicing Muay Thai, hiking with her dog or teaching kids how not to fall off a horse.
View more blogs by Betsy McLeod