Your business website is like a brick-and-mortar shop uploaded to the internet. So, you want people to visit it so that they can see and purchase your offerings.
But what if someone isn’t able to find your website in the first place? If anyone searches for any query related to your business, then your website should appear on the first page to make them land on it.
Or else, your website will be the same as that of a shop located in a deep corner of a street which for some people doesn’t even exist. You’ll never want your business in that position, ever.
To prevent this from happening to your business website, you have to optimize your website and work on it to make it visible to the search engines and people. And for this task, you need to hire an SEO consultant (or consultancy).
So, in this article, we’ll be looking at what an SEO Consultant does and what you should look for when you’re hiring a consultant or a consulting firm for your website.
Let’s begin having that said.
So, what is SEO?
SEO is a process that aims to increase the visibility of a website when users search queries related to that website on search engines like Google, Bing, or YouTube (yes! it’s also a search engine, but for videos).
The process of SEO essentially involves tasks required to be done in two areas – on the website & outside the website. Activities are done on the website fall under on-page SEO, those that need to be performed outside the website are called off-page SEO.
On-Page SEO mainly involves optimizing the Title tag, Headers, URL, and Alt text of a webpage. The optimization task involves placing the targeted keywords in these areas of a webpage. This is done to make your page relevant to the user query.
Google has more than 200+ ranking factors that can be categorized mainly into three categories – Relevancy, Authority, and User Signals. Google ranks a webpage on its first page of SERPs(Search Engine Result Pages) when it satisfies these factors better than the other web pages on the internet. On-Page tasks deal with improving the relevance factor.
Off-Page SEO involves doing activities that improve the Authority factor. It mainly involves building backlinks, which are one-way links pointing to your website from relevant and trustworthy websites worldwide.
The number of internet users has increased 3 times from 2005 to 2019. In 2005 where around 16% of the world had internet access, in 2019 it became 51.4%, meaning half of the world’s population.
And looking at the trend from the Statista website, one can easily speculate that the numbers are going to increase further. To put simply, Customers and businesses are becoming more and more online.
So, as a business owner if your website doesn’t show up on the first page for your product-related queries, then you’re losing a massive amount of available opportunity, which you don’t want. That’s why SEO has a role to play here.
Now if you’re a bit tech-savvy and have read one or two things about the digital marketplace, you’ll be knowing about Google Ads which is another way of making your website rank on Google. But you also know that you’ve to pay each time to get a lead. And here comes the advantage of SEO – once you start ranking on Google via SEO, you’ll get the traffic organically i.e. without paying a single penny.
And what else can you get? Not only will you generate Free Leads for your business, but you’ll also end up building a brand around your business through SEO. And we know that people love brands because they are credible and people also talk about brands. This may result in getting the bounty of word-of-mouth marketing, which is a dream of every small or medium-sized business.
While hiring an SEO consultant or an SEO agency, make sure you look at the following things in them.
Definitely, you’d like to know if a guy proclaiming himself an SEO expert, or an SEO agency boasting themselves as best in their region has done some past work or not?
Better if you don’t believe just their words and ask to show the past proposal. But genuine clients will show their work and positive results to you anyway.
Your SEO consultant should inform you as much as possible. When you have questions, offer information in a clear and transparent way. SEO can be complex, but the SEO consultant needs to guide you every step of the way so you get a clear picture of what is going on. Not just strategy and methodology, but also in regard of the outcome – the results: do SEO in genuine ways and properly manage the information flow.
Recognize that SEO is a marketing effort. And any genuine marketing activity involves understanding and satisfying a customer by solving his problems. Not anything else. So, every effort in SEO should aim the same.
The core of SEO lies in the content. The content published on your website should be valuable. And the content produced and published on other websites related to your niche should be valuable, too.
Explaining the content published on other websites, it’s called Guest Blogging where you write a piece of the blog for others. And this is one of the ways to build backlinks. Backlinks work as social proofs aiming to provide authority or credibility to your website. And they are one of the most important Google ranking factors. It’s also important that those host websites providing the link are trustworthy too.
So, make sure to inquire about these things with your contracted agency, as your business credibility is at stake here. Every activity done for your website to improve its ranking aka visibility should be explained in clear terms, so you know what is going on.
You may find this surprising. But here’s the fact – No one can guarantee you 1st position or even 1st-page visibility to your business website in a given time frame. So, a genuine SEO consultant or a consulting agency will tell you this straightaway.
A lot of things happen in SEO. You’re not an alone man on this beautiful island of the internet. You can’t forget your competitors or those already ranking on Google for your business-related queries. They’ll be competing with you at the same time.
But it doesn’t mean that you can’t outrank them. What actually needs to be understood here is that no one can speculate exactly how much time it’s going to take your webpage to rank on Google, especially for very high competitive terms like SEO or Backlinks.
Generally, it’s the link-building activity that takes the time, for genuine reasons. Links are not in your hand. You can approach any SEO consultant or webmaster, present your best content, and then you have to wait to get a response. But it’s not rocket science either.
Webmasters don’t reply back many times due to various genuine reasons like, if your content doesn’t fit with their readers, they don’t want to pay you, and sometimes it can be your lazy approach. So, while writing your pitch email, ensure that it’s brief & to the point. And try to answer all the objections that may lead to your rejection.
A genuine SEO Guy or a consulting firm will also tell you about Local SEO which is an SEO practice aiming to increase your website traffic from Local Search.
Let’s take an example – car repair. If you search this term on Google, you’ll find organic results and results underneath a Google Map of your local area, which will look something like below-
These are local results, meaning they’ll be different for different locations. People searching for your business-related services nearby your business location will be able to find you easily via Local Results. And here’s the glad thing about local searches-
Another great thing is competition is also low in the case of local SEO as you’re competing with few businesses around you. Local results get displayed when you set up a Google My Business (GMB) account for your website and it takes less than an hour to do that. So, the chances are you’ll find your customers arriving at your business doorstep very soon after you set up your GMB account.
A good SEO consultant will be keen enough to present the progress report of your website regularly. But as SEO takes time, so you’ve to give some time to see visible results. After 3 months, you’ll definitely start seeing the results, especially for the low competition keywords. These things will be made clear by an SEO specialist before starting your website SEO project.
Having said that the most important KPI of an SEO effort is website traffic. You can verify the traffic graph for each month using via Google Analytics or through 3rd party tools like Ahrefs or Ubersuggest, or whatever tool you are using. Likely you already have a Google Analytics account from where you can see your website traffic. If not, then it is interesting to set it up.
But here’s another thing to recognize, just having huge traffic is not enough. The traffic should be relevant too, as that only will bring conversions and cash for your business. So, you should regularly check what are the queries bringing organic traffic to your website.
You can see this through Google Search Console. Or you can also sign up for a third-party tool like Ahrefs Webmaster Tool that will show you all the details regarding, and you can also view more insights for your website.
If you’re looking for SEO service for your business website, then we, at iPower are experts in executing SEO and Content Marketing. We have been in this business for more than 20 years now and have helped many websites to rank higher in Google.