One of the great things about DIY SEO is that it can be done (almost) for free. DIY SEO (also known as Poor man's SEO) can be done to a site fairly easily if you are unable to justify paying a professional. The biggest tool you have available in poor man's SEO is the ability to ask others, and seek their advice.

Professional vs DIY SEO

SEO is a broad subject. It starts with researching keywords, then creating quality content around those keywords. Then ensuring the content can be indexed by the big search engines, then building links to your content.
Anyone interested in poor man's SEO is probably re-doing an existing website (that isn't performing well), but these concepts apply to new sites as well.

Asking for help

Because you are trying to SEO on the cheap, but still want results, how are you going to know where to start?
Ask. There are many SEO experts out there who like to help out other webmasters for something to do. As a smart poor man SEO, you should seek their advice where it's needed. But there are a few basic rules to stick to.
  • Always search for an answer before asking. Forum dwellers get annoyed when people ask the same question over and over again. Spend a few minutes on Google looking for an answer before asking the experts.
  • If you ask for advice, be prepared to take it. If I was asked for advice on how to improve rankings, and I replied explaining what needs to be fixed / changed, I would expect that many of these changes would be actioned. It is very poor form to ask an expert for advice, then ignore the advice and continue to ask "how do I improve rankings".
  • Be polite, follow ettiquite. You are asking for free help, so present yourself in a manner that makes people want to help. This means spelling your question correctly, giving enough information to be useful, and explaining what you have already done to try and solve the problem. If you have many different questions, consider asking them in different forums, so you don't appear to be spamming one particular forum.

Getting Started

Assuming you have an existing website, the best place to get started in poor man's SEO is to ask the experts for an overview of your site. Google for "SEO Forums" or similar and find a forum where asking basic questions is acceptable. Register, then post a message along these lines...

Hi, I am wanting to improve the rankings on my site, - It's currently getting xxx visitors a day, and has very bad search engine positions. I don't have a budget for SEO so I am wanting to do this work myself. Because I am new to SEO, I'm not sure where to get started.
I would greatly appreciate it if some experts could have a look at my site and recommend some changes I could make myself to improve rankings. I'm unable to pay for this advice, but I would appreciate any help that is offered.
[your name]

A question like this will generally get a good response on many forums. If it doesn't, don't worry, and don't abuse the forum-dwellers (just leave and ask somewhere else). If someone posts useful addvice, you must action it as soon as possible, so you can ask a follow-up question (if needed) while the topic is still fresh in their mind.

Ideally, the initial "overview" question should highlight the main points of your site that need attention. Don't ask them to elaborate - that's what Google is for. If they say that you need to do keyword research, go to Google and search for "keyword research". Read some articles on how to do keyword research, and give it a go. If you run across problems during the process, you can then go and ask an expert for specific help, but not until you have given it a go.


The key to DIY SEO is that there is work involved. If you had money to spend, you would just pay an expert to do it. By going the DIY road, be prepared for inefficiencies. Don't expect to get great results without hard work, and you will have to work harder than the experts because they know the best tools to use.
Every time you ask an expert for help, they will give you advice that means more work. You do need to do this work, otherwise your rankings will still be poor.

Free Site Review

If you are wanting to improve rankings and don't know where to start, I can offer a free site review of your website. This will let you know where you should start, what technical barriers there are on the site, and what keywords you should target (start with keywords that aren't competetive and work your way up). Please see this page if you are interested in this offer.
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