Danny get's quoted in Forbes Magazine

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Danny Sullivan, founder and former editor of Search Engine Watch, and now a Web consultant, agrees that small-business owners don't need to hire an SEO consultant--as long as they are willing to do the work on their own. "Many people can and do learn the basics of SEO and do well with just that," he said. "But many people find it easier to find outside help, just as they might want outside help to write press releases or do other types of marketing."

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small biz owners

Quote:
Many people can and do learn the basics of SEO and do well with just that

So why are there so many people out there who go to the SEO experts because they've screwed up their SEO? Most likely they're trying to compete in competive areas.

think it needs the rest of the quote

Think its dependant on what sector they fall in as well. The above would apply to many kitchen industries, however I would suggest that this would not apply in more established markets such as finance, real estate or even online marketing itself.

However from reading the article, it seems biased towards small business, and I would doubt many would be going after global contracts at this time in their evolution

well upto a point Danny

"Many people can and do learn the basics of SEO and do well with just that"

I think those inside the wire (so to speak) forget how non computer literate the mass of people are ok we can all write raw html at the drop of the hat that's not a common skill. Even more so in the Small business area.

I can change the oil in my car and do just fine with that

I can change the oil in my car and do just fine with that, but when there's a serious problem, I'm going to go to a pro.

One has to wonder how much

One has to wonder how much of Danny's conversation was cut out of that article. It is definitely slanted to make people believe that most people don't need to spend the money on SEO.

I don't really think thats

I don't really think thats true grnidone. Its geared towards small business, where the marketing dollars are sparse and need to be spent in a focused way to get the most immediate impact. An seo consultant is not something thats a good choice for most of these types of businesses.

//added:

So yes that slant is there for the target audience but I don't read it in a way that suggests the SEO's are never needed.

As someone who works in the small business field

I can say that they are the people who need good SEO more than many others simply because it gives them a chance to be competitive with bigger business. Unfortunately many can't afford even a reasonable level of SEO work.

Small business also happens to be perhaps the most poorly served people by the very sites that could teach them the basics. The amount of bullshit small business people see out there and take accept as being the SEO truth is sad.

Many of those same business

Many of those same business owners have a very poor sense of economy. I agree they don't know or need to know HTML or technical issues, but when they consciously decide to use their cousins invalid HTML template and $3/month hosting account for a product website supporting their upcoming appearance on Oprah, you have to simply accept that they make poor decisions and are not potential customers for SEO consulting.

I disagree that any business owner can or should do SEO for themselves. I have never seen it done successfully that way, except when the owner is a certified workaholic or a marketing professional. Even then, it's often a very inefficient method of SEO. How do you hold the SEO rational and accountable to success metrics under such conditions of bias? Sort of like a doctor treating herself... it's a bad idea.

depends on the niche

I have a client who has a b&m kitchen gadget store, went online with Frontpage and some sound, albeit basic SEO knowledge and tripled his profits.

@kirby: anecdotal stories do

@kirby: anecdotal stories do not define reality. They actually fuel the misconception that SEO is do-it-yourself easy and set-and-forget.

How much time did said business owner spend on Frontpage and the SEO efforts? How "maintainable" is the site he built, w/r to the ever-changing world of SEO (in other words, what is the liability cost of that work)? Along those lines, how immune is his work to competition? If he tripled his profits (easy to do with low profits), what might he have done with professional assistance? I could go on, but I won't.

I liken your comment to the guys who flash big AdSense checks on their websites. I have yet to see one show his concurent AdWords bill, yet no one seems to care how much he spent getting that check.

That's what I meant by "poor sense of economy".

For fear of adding to a...

me too vibe here...it really does depend on the niche.

I actually consult people away from hiring me long term if they're a small operation. All they need is a basic analysis of what they're going for, some backlink reports, a lengthy discussion of 'create good content' + 'get some link juice on 'ya' and sent along their merry way.

No harm in Danny telling it like it is imo.

No disrespect on Danny but

No disrespect on Danny but he is more or less an "arms length" spokesman for SEs, not unlike sports writers who toe the line in order to maintain access.

Wanna know how much meth baseball players really use? You won't find that stat in the sports pages.

so...

I couldn't really get my head around this thread. I mean, am I suggesting that SEO firms are a waste of time? Why would I do that? How would that be consistent with stuff I've written for years? How is that consistent with something like the big defense of SEO and the SEO industry I just did a few months ago:

http://searchengineland.com/070208-110711.php

Yeah, of course I think SEO firms have value and can help people. I thought this was self-evident in the quote. But to go back to that:

"Many people can and do learn the basics of SEO and do well with just that."

That's true. Many people do. You know this is true. Many of you that are doing SEO are proof of that. Many of you were doing SEO for your own business and realized it was something that itself could be a business.

The other part of the quote:

"But many people find it easier to find outside help, just as they might want outside help to write press releases or do other types of marketing."

Yeah, that's true too.

Honestly, I just don't get it, the confusion here. If you think every single person should hire an SEO firm, fine. Poke away. Otherwise, duh -- I know first hand there are people who find the technical stuff overwhelming. I've dealt with them first hand for over a decade. And I tell plenty of them to get professional help. But I also know people who can and do master some basics of SEO and are successful with that.

I don't really think thats

Quote:
I don't really think thats true grnidone. Its geared towards small business, where the marketing dollars are sparse and need to be spent in a focused way to get the most immediate impact.

Ah..I somehow missed that. I need to learn to READ, not SKIM.

As usual Danny this thread

As usual Danny this thread is it's own stream of consciousness. It seems to follow the perspective set by the poster, who excerpted one part of your article. The thread picked up steam when a follow on narrowed it down to certain specific issues professional SEOs see. When someone hihglighted small business as a niche, it got me to comment. I wasn't commenting on your article as much as the prior posts to this thread.

Don't take it personally.

Growth an issue

I've done the work on a number of small businesses. It can be very frustrating as I've tended to grow the business by two to three times. In most cases, my clients just start turning away client. And complain about all the new business.

One of my clients even instructed the receptionist to ask those who called on the telephone who referrred them.

If the caller said the internet or the website, the receptionist would answer that they don't handle non-referrred business and hang up.

At the same time, this bozo client was fixated on having the top SERPs for his niche.

Most small businesses aren't ready or willing to handle the exponential business growth they'll experience with professional SEO and marketing help. Even if they say they are.

----------------------------

For small businesses it's really not worth learning Internet Marketing. There is so much snake oil out there that it is a full time activity just filtering out the dross. Teaching clients how to create quality web content and post it themselves, yes. Teaching them how to do SEO, just not very efficient all round.

"small business" encompasses

"small business" encompasses those with <10 $US million annual revenues (some say 20). That suggests we are talking about very different "small businesses" in this thread.

This past month I've seen $80k/month is online ad spend, and $80k/year in that same "small business" category. For both it was very much worthwhile to hire Internet marketers and SEOs.

I guess I don't understand

John. How many examples before its not anecdotal? I can provide several. The one I mentioned was simply the least likely as it was kitchen gadgets. You stated "I have never seen it done successfully that way, except when the owner is a certified workaholic or a marketing professional". I find that hard to believe.

<10 $US annual revenues

Many owners of these businesses I'm referencing are banking $500k. Does it really matter what the revenue is? Another friend of mine has a seven figure monthly AdWords spend managed by pros, but in a niche where the margins run about 2-3%. His revenues dwarf the 10 mil mark, but what he banks puts him in with my anecdotal examples.

Did I say anything different than what Danny said? Some can do it, others need help.

I don't doubt the examples

I don't doubt the examples at all, Kirby. As I said the thread has it's own life, and comments apply more to that thread perspective than the original article (or reality). I didn't see Danny saying everyone should do their own SEO, and I didn't see anyone suggest it would be foolish to do your own SEO. No doubt some do their own fill-in-the-blank (seo, plumbing, wine-making, anti-depressant prescription writing, first aid...).

But if anyone wants to generalize that rolling your own is a good idea and cost-effective *in general*, I disagree. If that example of yours really says someone is spending 7 figures/month on PPC (excess of 12 million per year in expenses?) to earn 2-3% totalling revenues that dwarf the $10 million mark, I'm confused. I must not have understood your math.

Quote:
Another friend of mine has a seven figure monthly AdWords spend managed by pros, but in a niche where the margins run about 2-3%. His revenues dwarf the 10 mil mark, but what he banks puts him in with my anecdotal examples.

You misread, not miscalculated

I said margins (as in profit margin), not revenues.

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