Know These 10 Things Before Hiring An SEO Consultant.
Organizations who can’t match up in content creation and promotion may find themselves losing out to content marketers who learn the basics of SEO.
– Rand Fishkin
You are finally ready to hire an SEO consultant. However, you are still unsure as a business owner of how to get the most value from your investment. Developing a good SEO strategy starts with your overall business objectives. Then identifying keywords that people are actually searching for, in search engines when looking for your business product/service.
Depending on your service or product offerings you may end up finding somewhere between 5 – 30 different keywords your website should start ranking for. The next step is focusing on optimizing the user experience for your existing content. Then developing new content based on your keywords, split testing, and off-site SEO.
Paid advertising is a great tool to get quick results and gain insights into how your website is converting visitors into leads.
This strategy is used by many fortune 500 companies when restructuring their website. While offering excellent insights for small businesses looking to maximize their returns on their digital investment, utilizing an SEO consultant.
SEO CONSULTING 101: 1. BUSINESS & MARKETING OBJECTIVES
Understanding your business objectives is the very first step in developing an effective SEO strategy that drives results. What is product/service? Are you looking to drive direct sales? Or generate a lead that you can follow up to close in person? What does your brand consist of? How would you like visitors to perceive the value of your content while browsing your website?
Understanding these objectives will help you get the most out of your SEO consultant. They will optimize your content and conduct keyword research based on your overall business goals.
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SEO CONSULTING 101: 2. KEYWORD RESEARCH & ANALYSIS
You have a clear picture of your business goals. Now, which terms are potential customers searching to become informed when making purchasing decisions? A seasoned SEO consultant should provide a list of possible keywords that are being searched on google and other search engines. Based on competition, the volume of searches, and a specific target market.
You can target keywords that are one word, or utilize a strategy that focuses on long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords can be beneficial as more users use voice search which tends to result in longer questions being asked of search engine providers.
SEO CONSULTING 101: 3. KEYWORD MAPPING
Once your SEO consultant has provided a list of potential keywords, it’s time to start segmenting them based on how many pages your website currently has, and how many pages you are planning to add.
This will help you understand how to restructure the content on your web pages to generate higher rankings with search engines. Your efforts should focus on a few cornerstone articles that link to the sub-pages on your website.
SEO CONSULTING 101: 4. USER EXPERIENCE
User experience is often overlooked but is a critical focus with regards to SEO. Creating an environment that your user will enjoy exploring is as important to SEO as keyword usage and structuring data for search engine robots. Page load times, font size, the layout of information that is readily digestible are all important aspects of user experience.
Basic design principles should be considered on your website to make the best user experience possible. This factor weighs heavily in Google’s search algorithm.
A great SEO consultant should have a background in design that will help separate your content from the competition.
An Article From Search Engine Journal About User Experience
SEO CONSULTING 101: 5. DETECT & RESOLVE TECHNICAL SEO ISSUES WITH CURRENT CONTENT
There are plugins/apps that will be able to detect what issues your website is currently having with its ranking, and how to resolve these issues to boost credibility and detectability by search engines. Your SEO consultant should go back and fix the issues with your existing content before moving too far ahead with any new content development.
Read An Article From Forbes On Common SEO Mistakes
SEO CONSULTING 101: 6. NEW CONTENT DEVELOPMENT
Content is king. The more content and the more frequently a website is updated allows search engine robots to crawl your site and index more content. Bringing awareness that you are an authority on the subject matter.
Work with your SEO consultant to make sure you are developing content at a consistent pace, and focusing on keywords that are going to add value to the other terms you have decided to focus your content around.
SEO CONSULTING 101: 7. SPLIT TESTING & OPTIMIZATION
Test, test, and test. As the data comes in, you need to focus resources on optimizing content for more meaningful user engagement. Do you use a compelling call to action? How long are users staying on your page? Do you have a high bounce rate?
These are all questions that you should answer. Solutions to increase engagement need to be implemented based on your data.
SEO CONSULTING 101: 8. OFF-SITE SEO
You can do everything imaginable on your website and see some results. To drive high growth, you need to find an SEO consultant that can help connect your website to other reputable sites and develop a robust backlinking system. Who are the other authorities on your subject matter? What Forums and Facebook groups exist that you can engage to establish your credibility as a content authority?
The more reputable sites you have linking back to your content, the more search engines will send search queries towards your website.
SEO CONSULTING 101: 9. PAID ADVERTISING
An excellent tool for testing the effectiveness of your content and sales funnel. Pay for some advertising and evaluate the results. This information is valuable in adjusting your strategy (as noted in the earlier section on split-testing). Once you have a system that turns viewers into leads, this paid advertising can because the fuel necessary to multiply your efforts.
Ask your SEO consultant if they have experience using Facebook advertising or Google Adwords, which are some of the most popular online advertising platforms.
SEO CONSULTING 101: 10. MANAGING EXPECTATIONS
The key is to understanding and accepting that SEO is a process. Set goals that are attainable, and review your results frequently to see continued growth. If you are just starting a website, it will be hard to expect thousands of organic page views within the first month. You always want to see that your efforts are producing results, and should utilize your data to pivot your strategy.
One thing most businesses overlook is the responsibility of their sales team to drive traffic to the different sections of their website, via person-to-person contact. Remember you are designing a website to become an active sales tool. If you build it and hope people will just show up, you are going to see slow results. Find ways to drive existing clients to your website to see their reaction and provide valuable feedback!