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October 15, 2009

Why DIY SEO Can Fail

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La Grande Odalisque by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, 1814

It’s crazy how often we can draw parallels between seemingly incongruous pieces of our random daily adventures. And it’s cool, too, because sometimes these parallels lead us to an eye-opening revelation or down the path toward enlightenment.

I’ve recently been negotiating with what I can only describe as a blinding, burning, evil demon of pain that has taken up residence in my back — not to be overly dramatic or anything.

I fell asleep wrong on the plane ride home from SMX East and a wicked gnome that must have been hiding in the floatation device under my seat took the opportunity to wiggle its way into my awkwardly curled body. I can only assume that he’s since invited a hundred of his closest friends and family to stay the week at the vacation resort that is my back — and, man, are they an inconsiderate, messy bunch.

All that’s to say that I’ve been searching for solutions to my life-consuming pain problem, and first off, I want to thank everyone who offered me their well wishes and their experiences of what worked and didn’t work when faced with a similar problem themselves. I don’t think I’d be dealing with my uninvited guest so civilly if I wasn’t so encouraged by everyone’s stories of having been there and getting through it.

Secondly, I learned a very important lesson following my failed and desperate attempts at do-it-yourself pain fixes. In short, there are times when you should leave it up to the professionals. Also, there are times when trying to do it yourself can end up making things worse.

It’s not because I’m dumb or cheap or frantically grasping for relief, any relief — okay, that last one may be true. But the monetary cost I’m willing to pay to relieve the pain knows almost no bounds.

And I talked to at least 20 people who had experienced back pain, and I weighed their solutions thoughtfully to decide which might be right for me. But in the end, deciding that procedure X was the saving grace I had searched for ended up causing me more pain, simply because I had failed to get an accurate assessment of the problem before selecting the solution.

Now procedure X can offer incredible relief to back pain sufferers. I had no less than ten impressive reviews of how procedure X has changed their life for the better. And I had a glowing recommendation about one procedure X practitioner in my area. I made an appointment and headed to the office as soon as my work day was over.

But here’s the rub. I’m no expert, but I think it’s safe to describe procedure X as a method for correcting misalignment of the vertebrae. When the bones of the spine are out of place, they end up irritating the nerves in the area, which is what causes a sensation of pain. Turns out procedure X was the solution to a problem I didn’t have.

There are other sources that can create similar sensations of pain. For instance, a pulled muscle in the back can result in swelling which can also affect the nerves in the back area and cause pain. Addressing a muscle problem with a method that affects the bones is a bit misguided. But hey, that was me 48 hours ago.

anatomy sketches by Leonardo da Vinci

I had decided on the solution before having a complete understanding of the source of my problem or my final goal. It’s a conundrum the marketing world is all too familiar with.

How often does an organization approach an Internet marketing company and say, “I want to be involved in social media,” only to answer the following “why?” with “I hear it’s good for business.”

There’s this all-too-common drive to jump on a technology bandwagon before fully understanding the benefits, drawbacks, and resources required for implementation. I heard a good example during a session at SMX East last week: “Should I be hosting my videos on my site or on YouTube?” to which the panelist replied, “Well, what are your goals? Driving traffic to the site? Garnering video views? Brand visibility? Having your site show up in blended search results? Answer that question first, then you’ll discover the answer to the question you just asked.”

Though, in retrospect, that sounds a little harsh. I had only the best intentions when I decided on how I’d fix my issue. I did research. The solution was highly rated. But my first problem was failing to have my problem accurately diagnosed — which, in truth, only an expert can do.

There were some other ideas I considered back ups if procedure X didn’t work. But I’m not fooling around with prescribing my solution to self-diagnosed issues any more. I’m going to my doctor, darn it. And she’ll be able to use her expertise and resources to identify the cause of my problem and offer up a fitting solution.

Funny thing is, a Web site has uncanny parallels to the human body. There are problems that will display for all to see, and there are problems that lie under the surface and occur deep within. Irritation in one area of the body can resonate in another part of the body just as an obstacle on one page of a site can send a ripple effect down the entire conversion funnel. And like a doctor treating a patient’s ailment, a competent SEO trained in identifying the source of problems and weighing the risk and benefit of possible solutions can work wonders on a poorly functioning Web site.

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3 responses to “Why DIY SEO Can Fail”

  1. Benard writes:

    DIY SEO can kill your website. Duplicate content, link exchanges, links from bad domains, etc, can hit so hard that you may end up paying up hell lot to get back

  2. Joseph writes:

    Don’t just depend on your own knowledge on SEO because its trends change. Advice and knowledge from the experts is essential. You can ask these experts by joining forums and participating in conversation in blog posts for free.

  3. Trina Leckie writes:

    AMEN – I agree 150%



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