Competition in the digital marketplace is fierce. Every day a new website pops up, a new social media platform emerges (or dwindles), and your potential clients are bombarded with messages from your competitors. The best way — and often easiest way — to get your business in front of the right customers is to optimize your website so that search engines can find them properly.
You can optimize your website for search engines yourself, or you can hire an SEO consultant. Skilled consultants, such as those found in a SEO Agency, can help your website cut through the clutter of competitors. Having an unbiased, skilled eye to analyze your content may be the leg up your business needs. So, how do you know the difference between a seasoned SEO consultant and a talentless hack trying to make a quick buck? The proof is in the pudding.
Before your consultant actually makes any changes to your content, they will do their homework. In other words, they will conduct an audit on your current website and find its weak links. Do you have irrelevant content? Are you not boosting the appropriate content well enough? Is your site organized in a comprehensible way to your audience? Be prepared to leave your ego at the door and take a long hard look at the content you are presenting on your website. Don’t be surprised if your SEO consultant starts to dive into the design of your website. The flow of your website should be able to lead your audience easily to the product, service or information that you have to offer. The presentation of your website should be appealing to your audience. The keyword is your audience, meaning there is no one-size-fits-all aesthetic. It all depends on who you are talking to.
The next step may be an obvious one, but many people overlook it: competition. What is the competition doing? Who is your competition? You may think you are competing with one particular group and wedging your business in a space that it does not belong. Are your competitors highly optimized? Are going up against nationwide or global corporations, or are you going up against regional and local businesses? Is your blog and content on par with similar blogs and content? Depending on what you are trying to accomplish, bigger is not always better.
A skilled SEO consultant should be able to look at the entire landscape of your industry and genre then begin to make a game plan for the trajectory of your business. A skilled and service-oriented consultant will converse with you to determine what is feasible and realistic. The more you do, of course, the more you will pay especially if you are wanting a complete overhaul in both content and design. Don’t let the price daunt you. A great SEO consultant worth their weight in gold is an investment that will produce a high ROI.
Another factor a skilled SEO consultant will take into account is your backlink profile. Backlinks are helpful, especially for newer websites. It’s another way for search engine bots to efficiently discover your site, crawl your content and index it, or organize and record it. It also helps tremendously with organically boosting your content.
Are there any external links leading to your website? If so, are the links of high quality? In other words, are reputable websites with substantial traffic linking to your website? Are the websites within the appropriate category and aligned with your business? For example, if you own a blog about motorcycles, it wouldn’t do your business much good to have external links on a site that attracts an audience interested in European automobiles. Relevance is the name of the game. Traffic that comes to your website from a quality backlink will have a low-bounce rate — meaning that it is relevant and useful to the audience that finds it. A tell-tale sign that your backlink is of low quality is a high bounce rate regardless of the amount of traffic that your content earns through time. Backlinking is all about quality, not quality. Quality backlink sites also come from sites that are index and SEO optimized. These sites are usually more established, have more authority and content. A reputable source is always the best kind.
Conducting a backlink audit isn’t as difficult as it is time-consuming. Though it is not as obvious of a step as looking at the content on your own site, analyzing backlink sites is a step that you cannot afford to overlook. Proper backlinking is as essential in the digital word as networking is essential in the real world. Your backlink audit doesn’t just determine where your backlinks are but potentially creating backlinks if there aren’t many.
Bringing in an SEO consultant to guide your website is an excellent first step to helping your business or blog shine in the digital landscape. While they do take on a majority of the heavy lifting when it comes to SEO programming, a lot of the work is done before they even begin to alter your content. You have to be willing to pull up to the table, roll up your sleeves and be involved in the game plan for your site.
Let’s address the elephant in the room: how much does a skilled SEO consultant cost. That’s a question without a straightforward answer. Depending on the size of the project and turn-around time, your SEO consultant may charge hourly or by the project. Rates can start as low as$55 and go up into the hundreds. Discuss your goals with your SEO consultant. Many tasks are easily completed by one person but some may need a team so that tasks can be delegated appropriately. While many hands make light work, it can also make a more expensive bill. You and your SEO consultant will discuss priorities and timing, and your budget before any billing takes place. It’s also important to remember that an SEO consultant may suggest the optimum level of improvement, but you can decide to break your project up as needed. Smaller tasks can be accomplished quickly even while working on major ones and without adverse consequence from search engines.