Tips for Choosing the Right SEO Consultant
Today, increasing organic traffic and improving inbound marketing is all about search engine optimization (SEO). When done right, your website will rank at or near the top in search results for keywords related to your business.
Hiring the right SEO consultant can facilitate the process, allowing you to free up your time for what you do best: running your business. For medium- and large-sized businesses, consulting allows you to identify what works for your firm and gives you access to the expertise needed to achieve your goals.
Here are six tips to point you in the right direction for hiring a professional SEO consultant. Choosing SEO consultants with the skills and experience to produce results is the key to helping your website rank in search engine search results and improving your conversion rates.
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SEO Consulting vs. SEO Services: What’s the Difference?
SEO services are those designed to help you achieve favorable rankings in online search. Being visible in search results allows others to find you and information about your business. Service providers use a range of tools and tactics to improve your online visibility.
SEO consulting is for larger companies who may already have a team in place to execute changes on business websites, but who may not have the experience or skills needed to identify which aspects improve search engine optimization. A consultant’s singular task is to help businesses analyze existing website performance against desired benchmarking goals, then creating a plan to achieve those goals.
SEO Consulting: Before You Choose a Provider
Every business is different, yet most have the same goals of business growth and increased revenue. Digital marketing is the modern approach to achieving these goals, and within digital marketing, improving online visibility with SEO is a powerful tool.
SEO services are complex, with many moving parts that work together to drive the desired results. While many are tempted to tackle this on their own, there are plenty of reasons why reaching out to an SEO company like a digital marketing agency and getting their help may make sense for your business goals.
The many benefits SEO agencies provide mean a better ROI for your SEO budget. A meeting with a good SEO consultant can help you determine what works, what needs to be changed, and why these steps are needed. With the help of an SEO services provider, you’ll be better able to keep up with your competition and bring new visitors to your site, all at a fraction of the cost or complexity of an in-house marketing team.
Use an SEO Consultant To Make a Plan In Advance
Planning is the first step in any endeavor. Without a plan, any project will waste time, effort, and money. SEO consultants that are worth the price — in other words, good SEO companies — know that advance planning is an essential part of the overall process. A plan identifies specific goals, enumerates the steps needed to reach those goals, and carefully spells out the timelines and budget needed for each step. Having a plan keeps the team on the same page, which improves focus and direction. A good SEO consultant and his or her SEO company will insist on developing a plan with you, no matter what goals you have in mind.
Watch for this SEO Consultant Red Flag
When speaking to a candidate SEO consultant, one good way to determine if the candidate is qualified is in how they answer the question: “Can you guarantee my website will achieve a number-one ranking on Google, Bing, and Yahoo?” If the candidate answers yes, this is a warning things may not go as you hope. Although it’s impossible to guarantee a number-one ranking on any search platform, some unethical SEO consultants do make such bogus guarantees. Consider it a red flag if the candidate claims to have an insider relationship with Google or any other search provider that will get you priority search results rankings. Only Google, Bing, and Yahoo can control how high or low websites appear in their search results.
Tips or Goals That Your Consultant Needs To Make
Why hire a random marketing firm without going in with a well-laid-out plan that tells them exactly what they need to deliver? What if you do not know what you want, but only have an idea and a basic goal in mind? A quality SEO team can help. There is no reason why an SEO professional can’t explain what works and what does not work; by looking at your business model, ideas, and goals, a good SEO company compares it to other sites and provides a roadmap for success. Many SEO firms just offer a price with a random set of services and ask you to pick one. For those firms, the process is opaque and clients often do not have a clear understanding of what can be done to improve rankings on search engines. A real technical SEO can provide you with a plan that covers all aspects of your digital marketing needs. With the plan in hand, now it is just a matter of finding the right people or person to run and deliver these services to you.
Three Evaluation Factors for SEO Consultants
Now that we are gaining a better understanding of what differentiates good service providers from those who may not deliver on their promises, there are additional factors to consider. When conducting your evaluation of prospective companies, here are three vital pieces of information you need to know before hiring a search engines expert:
Complete OnPage Audit
Your search engine results start here. OnPage factors refer to what is going on with your website, including how it is coded, how fast it loads, what type of security is in place and how intentional and engaging the content is on your website. The consultant should know how to identify these factors and create a detailed report on what they represent and what suggestions they have to improve these. Most online business owners know the specific keywords they need but may not aware of the finer details that go into these SEO campaigns. A qualified SEO industry provider can explain the details, giving you a clear picture of what to expect and how to get the rankings you desire.
Complete OffPage Audit
OffPage factors refer to everything external to the website itself, such as local SEO, branding, and link building. Did you know rankings start with branding? Your Google search results for terms outside of your brand won’t start until your branding is aligned with Google My Business, your social media accounts, and directory listings. There are other factors like link-building services that SEO companies claim to provide and have no explanation of what they are actually doing to influence rankings. Your consultant should provide you with a full analysis of these off-page ranking factors before you hire an SEO expert.
Grant Access to and Generate a Google Analytics Report
Beyond just search engine rankings, you need to see how traffic is currently being delivered to your website. How much traffic is your site getting, which pages are receiving the most activity, what are the bounce rates, and where is the traffic being referred from? With this analytics report, you get an overall picture of what needs to be improved on your site to attract visitors, keep them on the site, and encourage them to make the next step in their purchasing decision. The SEO industry is complex, with many SEO tools and data sets at their disposal to help generate concrete results in terms of online search visibility. A good SEO agency is able to leverage these tools for success, taking your business to the next level.
SEO Blogs can be valuable sources of information to help you learn what it takes to initiate a solid strategy. Qualified SEO providers often share links with prospective clients, allowing them to gain a better understanding of the process, the tools, and the stept that will be undertaken to improve site rankings.
Getting Started: Three Steps to Dominate Search Engines
Now that you have a good idea of what it takes to find a good SEO consultant, and have a familiarity with SEO techniques, it is time to hire an SEO professional. Search engines are fickle; with constant changes to their underlying algorithms, an SEO team must be adept and flexible. To get started on a robust SEO campaign, the leading providers will:
Create a Keyword Plan
identifying competitive keywords and key phrases to target based on data analysis, then developing a plan to create content and site tags that incorporate those targeted words.
Create a Content Plan for Services and Blogs
content on your website tells your story to the world, including who you are and what you or your business stands for. Having a plan to develop content based on SEO factors is critical. So too is a plan for the services you will need to reach your goals, whether that is more traffic, improved search visibility, or higher conversion.
Create a Final Summary of Deliverables that You Require for Better Rankings
summary together for clients, showing what services will be utilized, what tools are needed, and how the plan will come together to create the results you desire. This is the core of SEO consultant services. With this summary in hand, you have a roadmap that points the way toward great rankings and superior customer engagement.
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