Mastering search engine optimization (SEO) is nothing short of a necessity in today’s digital landscape. SEO has the power to put your business in front of millions of potential online customers.
However, getting a handle on SEO is not a one-time task. It requires constant learning, adaptation, and strategizing. And it’s not always enough to depend solely on an in-house team, regardless of their proficiency. Engaging an SEO consultant can be the game-changer your organization needs to improve its digital footprint significantly.
If you’re wondering, “what is SEO consulting,” this guide:
- Highlights the benefits of hiring an SEO consultant to complement and boost the performance of your in-house team.
- Outlines how this move can translate into a substantial competitive advantage.
SEO Is Complex!
SEO is a constantly changing field. Its complexity stems from the intricate algorithms search engines like Google use to determine a website’s relevance and authority on a subject. So let’s delve deeper into why SEO’s complexity requires constant vigilance and expertise.
Search Algorithms Evolve
One primary reason SEO is complex is that search algorithms continuously evolve. The world’s most popular search engine, Google, regularly updates its algorithms to provide users with the most relevant search results. This means the rules of the game are continuously changing. What worked yesterday to boost a webpage’s ranking might not work today — or could even have a detrimental effect.
Staying current with these updates is critical, but it’s a time-consuming process that requires a deep understanding of how SEO works.
Hard To Stay on Top of Changing Trends
Staying on top of SEO trends is a challenging task. The algorithms, user behaviors, and technology all change. For example, the increase in mobile device use has led search engines to prioritize mobile-friendly sites. Similarly, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) voice assistants has brought a new dimension to search queries, making them more conversational.
Given this constant flux, it’s difficult for businesses, especially those without a dedicated SEO expert, to keep up. However, companies can stay caught up with a finger constantly on the pulse of these changes.
Bad SEO Can Hurt You
SEO’s complexity isn’t just an academic concern — bad SEO can hurt your business. Engaging in outdated or black-hat SEO tactics can lead to penalties from search engines, dramatically decreasing your site’s ranking or even de-indexing, which is when your site is removed from the search engine altogether.
Practices like keyword stuffing, cloaking, and using private link networks may offer quick wins in the short term but can severely harm your business in the long run. This is another reason why having an expert in SEO is beneficial. They can ensure your business follows best practices and avoids techniques that can lead to penalties.
Understanding What an SEO Consultant Does
An SEO consultant works closely with businesses, helping them understand the complexities of SEO and leveraging it to reach their digital marketing goals. Their expertise can guide companies to improve their online visibility and convert that increased visibility into tangible business results.
What Is an SEO Consultant?
An SEO consultant is a professional specializing in search engine optimization, increasing a website’s visibility and rankings on search engines like Google. Their primary role involves developing strategies to improve organic — non-paid — search engine rankings, increase website traffic, and ultimately make your website easier to find and more profitable.
Roles and Responsibilities
An SEO consultant plays a pivotal role in shaping and executing an organization’s SEO strategy. They leverage their deep understanding of SEO techniques, industry trends, and search engine algorithms to enhance a website’s ranking and drive more organic traffic. Below are the core roles and responsibilities of an SEO consultant.
Analyze Your Current SEO Strategy
One of the first responsibilities of an SEO consultant is conducting a thorough audit and analysis of your current SEO strategy. They’ll examine your website’s structure, content, backlink profile, keyword usage, and many other factors that influence SEO.
They’ll also evaluate your website’s performance on search engine result pages (SERPs). This comprehensive analysis will help identify what’s working, what’s not, and where there’s room for improvement.
Look for Areas of Improvement
Post-analysis, the SEO consultant will identify areas where your SEO strategy can be improved. This could be anything from rectifying technical SEO issues like slow loading speed or broken links to enhancing on-page elements like meta tags and keyword placement. They’ll also identify opportunities to improve off-page SEO through strategies like link building and social media engagement.
Develop a Customized SEO Plan
Every business needs an SEO strategy as unique as it is. Therefore, an SEO consultant will use the insights gained from their analysis to develop a customized SEO plan tailored to your business’s specific needs, goals, and target audience. This plan will encompass all aspects of SEO, including keyword strategy, content development, technical SEO, link building, and more.
Track Progress and Suggest Adjustments
SEO is not a set-it-and-forget-it process. Instead, it requires constant monitoring and adjustment. An SEO consultant will track the progress of the implemented strategies using tools like Google Analytics, Search Console, and other industry-specific software. They’ll measure critical metrics like organic traffic, bounce rate, conversion rate, keyword rankings, and backlinks. Based on these insights, they’ll suggest necessary adjustments to optimize the SEO strategy and ensure your business continues to improve its SERP rankings.
Support & Partner With Your In-House Team
SEO consultants are more than just external advisors; they’re also strategic partners for your in-house team. They’ll work collaboratively with your team, sharing their experience and providing training as needed. In addition, they’ll help your team understand SEO best practices, keep them updated on the latest trends and algorithm changes, and guide them in implementing and maintaining effective SEO strategies.
Difference Between In-House SEO Teams and SEO Consultants
The primary difference between in-house SEO teams and SEO consultants is their relationship to the organization, their focus areas, and the breadth of their experience.
In-House SEO Teams
- Exclusive focus: In-house teams work exclusively for one organization, dedicating all their time and resources to its SEO needs. They deeply understand the business, its products or services, and its target audience.
- Integrated efforts: In-house SEO teams can work closely with other departments, such as marketing, sales, and development. This collaboration can lead to more integrated efforts and seamless communication.
- Long-term strategy: In-house teams typically focus on long-term goals and strategies, building and growing the organization’s SEO efforts over time.
- Cost: Maintaining an in-house SEO team can be expensive, involving salaries, benefits, and ongoing training.
- Broad experience: SEO consultants often work with various clients across different industries, giving them a wide range of expertise. As a result, they bring diverse knowledge and fresh perspectives, which can be valuable for your business.
- Specialized expertise: Consultants are specialists in SEO and stay up-to-date with the latest trends, techniques, and algorithm updates in the shifting field.
- Flexibility: SEO consultants can be hired on a project basis or for a specific period. This can be cost-effective and allows for flexibility in scaling SEO efforts up or down.
- Objective assessment: An external SEO consultant can provide an unbiased perspective on your SEO strategy and performance. They can identify issues internal teams might overlook due to their proximity.
Advantages of Hiring an SEO Consultant
Hiring an SEO consultant can provide significant advantages to your business, especially if you aim to raise your business’s online profile and increase organic traffic. Here’s a closer look at some of these benefits.
Expertise and Specialization
SEO consultants are experts in their field. They have specialized knowledge and skills developed by working with diverse clients and staying current on trends and algorithm updates in the SEO landscape. They know the best practices, techniques, and tools to optimize your website and improve its ranking in search engine result pages. By leveraging their expertise, you can avoid costly mistakes and take the fastest, most effective path to your SEO goals.
Objective Perspective on Your SEO Strategy
Sometimes, being too close to a project can make it hard to see its flaws. An external SEO consultant can provide a fresh and unbiased perspective on your SEO strategy. They can objectively analyze your website, pinpoint issues, and suggest improvements that internal teams may overlook. A fresh eye can be invaluable in identifying opportunities and devising a successful SEO strategy.
Bridging Knowledge Gaps
While your in-house team may have a basic understanding of SEO, they might need more deep knowledge to optimize a website for search engines. An SEO consultant can fill these knowledge gaps. They can also train and guide your team to develop their SEO skills. This can be particularly beneficial for complex areas of SEO, such as technical SEO or link-building strategies.
Flexibility and Scalability
SEO consultants provide a flexible and scalable resource. You can hire them for a specific project, for a set period, or on an ongoing basis, depending on your needs and budget.
You can scale up their services if you have a major SEO project or an upcoming product launch. Conversely, you can scale down if you’re facing budget constraints or entering a slower period. This flexibility lets you manage your resources more efficiently.
How To Find a Good SEO Consultant
Finding the right SEO consultant can significantly affect the success of your SEO efforts. The following tips will help you find a competent consultant who meets your specific needs.
Determine Your SEO Needs
Before you start your search, clearly understand what you want to achieve through SEO. Are you looking to increase organic traffic, improve your site’s search engine rankings, overhaul your website’s SEO strategy, or resolve specific SEO issues? Specific goals will allow you to identify consultants specializing in your target areas.
Research and Referrals
Start by researching potential SEO consulting services. Look at their websites, read client testimonials, and check out their portfolio. Ask for referrals if you know business owners or marketing professionals who have hired SEO consultants. Personal recommendations are great but don’t forget to consider an SEO consultant’s online presence and reputation. After all, if they’re good at SEO, they should be easy to find on search engines!
Look Into Their Experience
Find out how much experience potential consultants have in SEO, especially in your industry. SEO is a complex field, and having substantial experience can make a big difference. Also, check if they have handled SEO projects similar to yours. Ask for case studies or examples of their work.
Review Pricing and Contracts
Be sure to understand the consultant’s pricing structure. Some might charge hourly rates, others work on a project basis, and others require a retainer for ongoing services. Ensure their pricing aligns with your budget. Also, review their contract details. Look at what services are included, the duration of the contract, cancellation terms, and any guarantees they offer.
Communication and Reporting
Find out how the consultant plans to communicate with you and how often. Regular communication is crucial to ensure your SEO efforts are aligned with your business goals. Also, ask about their reporting process. A good SEO consultant should provide regular reports detailing their work and the results they’ve achieved.
Ethical SEO Practices
Lastly, ensure that the SEO consulting service adheres to ethical SEO practices, also known as white-hat SEO. Engaging in unethical practices, or black-hat SEO, can lead to penalties from search engines, which could severely harm your website’s visibility and reputation.
Make the Right Decision To Hire an SEO Consultant!
Don’t leave your SEO to chance — partner with Sure Oak and experience the difference we can make in your online performance. Contact us today for a free consultation and start your journey to top rankings and increased revenue!