After taking Steph & Jeff’s blogging course and learning tons of SEO tricks and tips, I patiently waited for my Google rank to improve…but there I sat on page 8 for freakin’ ever. They taught us that we should not expect overnight results, but, after a year, and knowing I was doing so many things better than the sites ahead of me, I finally hired an SEO professional on Upwork.
Hiring an SEO professional
At first, I looked for SEO firms local to my area. I thought the prices were pretty ridiculous (as much as $500+/month for a minimum of 6 months). So, I searched for someone overseas on Upwork who could offer a more competitive price. I budgeted $1,000.
At first, I started with what is called an SEO audit. I paid about $100 for this. This involved both on- and off-site SEO—it was a basic “check up” of where I stood with SEO essentials like keywords, load speed, backlinks, etc. I was hoping this would reveal some easy fix that was somehow holding my site back.
I did learn that I had 2-3 “spam” sites in the Middle East linking to me. While this is detrimental there really was no “quick fix” available after this audit. I then hired an experienced SEO firm in Romania for $800 ($133 x 6 months).
Hiring a blog commenter
I decided to hire a regular Virtual Assistant for blog commenting. This person started leaving 5 blog comments a day for me on the big name wedding blogs. The purpose was to help build backlinks (price: $1/day). Unfortunately, this didn’t really accomplish much. 90% of her comments were flagged as spam due to her not being located in the US.
I found someone in California willing to leave one comment/day for $1/comment and that has worked great (yes—it does direct traffic almost daily to my site just by people clicking on my comments). Even though they are no-follow links, many of the sites we comment on do show up in my Google Analytics as backlinks.
What was holding my website back
I have a post on my blog that generates about 80% of my traffic (google “Mexican wedding music” and you’ll see it). I get soooo many hits (100+/day) on this post! My SEO expert actually feels it could be as much of a detriment to my site as a benefit. The problem is that I rank much higher for “Mexican wedding music” then I do for “San Diego wedding DJ.”
The upside is Google can see my site is very popular and trustworthy. Ultimately, we decided to leave the post up.
Some of you know that I have lived in Mexico for the last 8 years. That said, I do not have a US street address I can give to Google Places for my business.
Google does not accept PO boxes. My SEO pro feels that once I move back and can get registered as a local business (not just as a website—as they see me now), my rank should move up to page 1. Right now after 4 months of her services, I’m up to page 4.
While my bounce rate remains steady at around 80% (and has been like that since forever), the SEO expert feels that it’s not a big deal in my case (not sure if I’m sold on that just yet).
Finally, I had an embedded video in each and every one of my real wedding blog posts. That apparently was dramatically slowing down my page load times. The videos have all been replaced with screenshots of the embedded links to their respective YouTube page.
When I thought about what I pay The Knot for a few months of advertising vs. what investing in an SEO pro could lead to, it was a no-brainer decision for me.
Maybe you too are following smart SEO tips, using keywords religiously, properly categorizing and tagging your blog (and images), and posting original content regularly. If so, I would definitely recommend that you consider hiring an SEO expert, as well.
Have you considered hiring an SEO professional?