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DIYSEO: Good Starting Point for Small Businesses?

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DIYSEO has come out of beta and is now being offered as a tool for small businesses to start SEO for themselves. I recently asked the founder, Patrick Gavin, all about the product and who he thinks can benefit from using it.

Q. Why did you create the tool?

A. We created DIYSEO to fill what we saw was an under served market segment: SEO for small businesses. The vast majority of small businesses simply don't have hundreds of dollars (let alone thousands) per month to pay a professional SEO consultant. I found myself giving the same basic advice to friends and family with small business Web sites and thought, Why couldn't this advice be productized? That is what we went down the road of accomplishing: taking the hand of a small business owner and walking them through the basics of SEO while teaching them why they were doing what they were doing along the way.

The product covers much of the same content of many beginner guides to SEO. Where it differs is that DIYSEO offers an interactive process that prompts you to action. While you can work at your own pace, the program will send you an e-mail to say it has been some time since you last checked in and continued the process.

Q. Who can put it to best use?

A. We see DIYSEO best used by small business owners, the smaller the better! Many times the small business Web site owner has the most low hanging SEO fruit. These are the sites that, many times, have never been optimized for organic search, so obviously a product like DIYSEO can have a meaningful impact fast for these sites. It is not a product for the Fortune 500, let alone the Fortune 10,000!

Q. How are you going to price it?

A. Pricing is simple: $49/month or $499/year. We also offer a free seven-day trial to all users. We don't have any immediate plans for a more premium plan, but we have batted the idea around for the future.

Q. How well can it work in highly competitive areas?

A. Not well at all. The product is designed to help small business owners, many times who will be targeting geo specific keywords (i.e., "Chicago Coffee Shop"). Highly competitive areas should seek out professional SEOs or products like Aaron Wall's SEOBook pro forums and tools or Rand Fishkin's SEOMoz PRO.

Q. Do you recommend a localized approach for small businesses?

A. Yes we do. One of our biggest focuses is on local, and we will continue to build our local based tasks out on the DIYSEO platform.

Q. How do you examine choice of title and description tag wording, and do you give suggestions for that area?

A. Part of our in-house technology build was building the ability to go out and spider the code on our client Web sites. So yes, that is a big part of what we are doing from a technology point of view.

Q. How do you deal with competitor analysis?

A. We built some tools in-house and also partnered with some best of breed providers, so it is a mix.

Q. What is your position on link building?

A. Link building is an important part of DIYSEO. We do recommend a number of "general" directories, like Yahoo Directory, BOTW, etc., and also have found niche directories that we recommend based on the vertical the client site is in. We also have tasks around article syndication and soon will be releasing an advanced module helping you to target top competitor backlinks.

Q. Who helped develop the tool?

A. We built the tool in-house with a team of developers and also again partnered with some key data providers.

Q. What support is available?

A. Support for a product like this is key. We are currently offering support via e-mail and a forum for members only. We hired some great SEO talent to help moderate the forum.

Q. Do you recommend agencies for people who want to go further?

A. Absolutely. DIYSEO is not for everyone. Frankly, it is only for small businesses. As mentioned previously, there are some great products on the market that serve folks who don't fall in the small business realm or who want more advanced SEO techniques. Some of those include SEOBook, SEOMoz, and RavenTools.

Summary

Does DIYSEO simplify the process? Yes, but true beginners need the simplified level. Are there guides out there that can be read and implemented? Yes, but sometimes people need to be prompted, and DIYSEO tries to push its users along.

This is a good product for people who are looking to hire someone, but only have a few hundred dollars a month to spare. People can start here and then graduate to more advanced methods. Using the product definitely will help them understand the terminology and methods for advanced SEO.


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