A few days ago a call came into the Red Canoe office for some help with SEO. The person on the phone was a business owner, specializing in helping other business owners build parts of their business correctly. This business owner, who we'll call Bill, wanted to know just what we did, how we could help, and (of course) what it would cost.
We recommended two things - keyword research, an SEO evaluation (aka audit).
Without researching keywords, you'll never be able to have a successful SEO campaign. It's just not possible. People type words into search engines, and those engines decipher those words and match them up with websites that make sense. If you don't know what those words are, you'll never get traffic from them.
Secondly, an external SEO audit sets you on a path for long-term increases. If your website is not structured correctly, not passing authority correctly, and not easily shareable, it's going to be really hard to rank in the searches. Really. Hard.
A few days later Bill called back. He was ready to do the keyword research, but wasn't interested in the audit. When we asked about the hesitation to the audit, Bill told us that his current web person said they had already done all the SEO stuff for his site.
A quick look at Bill's website on Firefox using the SEO Doctor plugin shows that his site is not fully optimized. He's not running any analytics, he's missing important heading tags, and there are very weak calls-to-action on the site. All these lead to failure, and we haven't even looked at his link profile yet!
There are free tools out there to check out your website's SEO girth. Website Grader is a good start, as is the SEO Doctor plugin mentioned earlier.
Don't just assume that your web guy did something and now your SEO is good to go. Most likely he's hoping you'll just trust what he says and move on. But he's hurting your business. And that's not cool.