Recently I was talking with a group of friends about hiring professionals and trusting their services. We were talking specifically about medicine. All of us have young children and medicine is high on our list of concerns when it comes to our children. Some parents choose to by-pass traditional medicine entirely, choosing instead to use alternatives like homeopathy. There are others who have researched every issue they can and then make decisions and dictate them to their health care providers. Others take care to choose a doctor who has similar views and practices and then trust them to provide quality care.
Personally, I am somewhere between researching and making my own decisions and letting my doctor decide, because it is her job to do that research. Luckily, I have a doctor who I trust and who I know does do research. Plus, she has young children too, so these issues concern her family as well.
There is nothing wrong with deciding to go with alternative medicine or to do all your own research, other than that this approach is time consuming and may not get you the same results. You may not want the same results.
I was thinking about SEO in the same way. A person or business can choose to do something else. There are other ways to build your website. Will they get you to the same place? Unlikely, but those who choose to go this route aren’t likely to be aiming for the same effect either. It’s not less valid, just a different path.
There are the do-it-yourselfers in the crowd too. This group is a vast one and they vary from people who just program simple HTML websites with little care for their rankings to those who want to save a little money to those who don’t even know that professionals exist in this field. The majority of this crowd does care though, and there are now a pile of books devoted to SEO strategies. Chris Sherman has a great overview of the most recent releases in his article “A Roundup of 2009’s Best SEO Books”. Chris lists 5 books on the subject, with 3 others as his old standby group, but undoubtedly if you browse Amazon or go to a large bookstore there will be several dozen to choose from. With time and effort, you can get to the point where you can implement an effective SEO strategy for your own website.
I am not one to back away from education in any form, but I still ask myself one question when I think about doing this: why? Why invest this time and effort into doing all of this yourself? SEO experts spend their days and weeks keeping up with the trends and educating themselves in everything from social media to SEO to new internet developments that may or may not change the landscape of rankings. If you hire a professional to get the job done, you will get a professional job.