The right SEO consultant can make a big difference for your business’s online presence. But how can you decide what SEO services are right for you?
What is SEO?
Let’s start by defining SEO (search engine optimization). SEO helps determine your website’s ranking on Google, Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuck Go, and the like. Done well, SEO can help your website get a lot more traffic and reach a lot more people.
On-Page vs. Off-Page SEO
There are two main types of SEO: on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-page includes all the factors you can control on your website. This includes the meta titles and descriptions, content, URLs, and even image text. It also includes website performance — such as page speed.
Off-page SEO refers to factors outside of your website. For example, backlinks for other websites, social media posting, domain authority, and more.
Organic Search vs. Paid Search
The other search engine marketing (SEM) distinction is organic vs. paid. Organic SEM includes things you can do for free — like putting a keyword in your blog title. Search engines will then “crawl” your site and rank your placement using your organic methods.
Paid SEM refers to pay-per-click content, including search engine advertising or sponsored content.
Keep these definitions in mind when evaluating SEO services and choosing your consultant.
Choosing an SEO Consultant
When you’re evaluating SEO services, consider your potential consultant’s ability to handle the following:
- Content writing
Keywords are a big part of SEO. But they can also be clunky to fit into a sentence. For example, a keyword like “Real Estate Toronto” could be hard to make natural.
A good SEO consultant can seamlessly integrate keywords into the copy. This is important because search engines prefer web content to focus on quality. They are looking for pages that offer value to the reader — and that fits the targeted keywords.
Most search engines also frown on “keyword stuffing” (meaning using too many keywords or irrelevant keywords). They want value beyond the keywords, which is why having an SEO consultant who can write is critical.
You could pick the best keywords there are, but if your content doesn’t offer value to your readers you might still find it hard to rank!
- Website design and development
Website performance plays a big part in SEO and page rankings. Even great keywords will have a hard time trending if the page they’re on is too slow.
Your SEO consultant doesn’t have to be a web designer, but they should understand how web design affects SEO. And they should know how to optimize your website on-page and behind-the-scenes for best results.
- Strategic, long-term vision
Your consultant should be thinking of the long-term when it comes to both SEO and SEM.
Good SEO isn’t “set it and forget it.” Your consultant should be monitoring results and analytics and adjusting as needed. They also might propose a mix of SEO and SEM strategies — including on-page, off-page, organic, and paid marketing — to achieve your results. If so, they should be able to explain how these will work together.
You can also look for an SEO agency that does more. Some offer social media management, content creation, email marketing, and the like. These can all contribute to a full digital marketing strategy.
Should you decide to do more, you can use one provider — which can often find you cost savings.
When choosing an SEO consultant there are certain traits to watch out for. These include:
- Promises of huge results right away on competitive keywords. If they promise to get your financial company trending under “debt,” for example, watch out!
- Choosing only keywords with no traffic. An SEO strategy might include a mix of keywords, some of which will have less traffic than others. But if all the keywords are low-to-no traffic you could have a problem getting real results.
- Keyword stuffing or too many awkward keywords. Your consultant should be able to balance site integrity with optimization.
- “Black hat” SEO practices. Buying links, submitting fake press releases, using duplicate content, spamming comments on other sites… These are all questionable tactics that could earn you a search engine penalty.
- Saying there’s a “secret” or “proprietary” technique they can’t share with you. They should be transparent about their strategy and process from start to finish.
A good SEO consultant should have a thorough understanding of your industry and company type and a proven track record of delivering results.
Take the time to compare the SEO services you are considering. It will be well worth it in the long run!
Learn more about our DigiForce Marketing SEO consultants today. Reach out to us for a consultation. Call 1-888-701-4441 or visit www.digiforcemarketing.ca.