Questions to Ask Your SEO Expert
Writer Jason Johnson – Marlin Consulting Solutions
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is paramount to the success of any business. Consumers are more likely to click on links that appear on the first page of search engine results. The first search result averages 45% of all the clicks and the first three results have a combined average of 60% of the clicks while the first page gets 89% of the clicks. If your company doesn’t show up on that first page then consumers probably aren’t aware you exist. SEO boosts website traffic fueling greater brand awareness, increasing sales, and improving revenue.
Many business owners lack the expertise to improve SEO. While the basics are easy to grasp, it takes experience and skill to master the process and your SEO needs are likely well beyond what you can learn or manage independently. Hiring an expert is only logical, however, entrepreneurs often feel the process is costly and overly technical. In reality, hiring an SEO expert is simple and the expense yields a high return on investment if the expert’s strategies are effective.
The right SEO expert will be highly experienced and not a fly-by-night, self-proclaimed authority who has been in business for only six months. The expert will have a track record of improving local search results and expertise in local SEO techniques. Your business should appear when locals search for keywords relevant to your company. A truly experienced SEO professional will incorporate your company’s address, website meta descriptions, and title tags as well as list your website with Yahoo, Bing, and Google business directories servicing specific zip codes.
The right SEO expert will have glowing testimonials and gracious responses to reviews. The testimonials and reviews should speak well to the results the SEO professional has achieved for various companies and business owners with specific examples of increased traffic and revenue, fantastic customer service, and timely responsiveness to questions and progress reports. The expert’s response to those reviews is equally important.
Ask for a list of past and present clients and their contact info. Verification of past experience is imperative and clientele will eagerly corroborate that the SEO expert was able to improve search ranking, website traffic, and conversions.
The right SEO expert will explain in layman’s terms exactly what needs to be done in order to increase traffic to your website. The professional will voluntarily outline the methodology and strategies by which they intend to increase your search ranking and provide a realistic estimated timeline by which to achieve the agreed-upon SEO goals. The expert will perform a technical review of your website, identifying problems resulting in lower search ranking, and provide on-page optimization making your website as conducive to SEO as possible. The expert will also work to develop web page titles, tags, and headings, improve the linking structure and strengthen your website’s URL. Part of the strategy should consist of providing off-page SEO which elevates awareness of your website’s content on other sites via social media platforms, press releases, and even blogs. The contribution to your SEO will be multifaceted and you will be asked many questions which you might formerly have thought to be irrelevant.
The right SEO expert will strictly adhere to webmaster guidelines. Google’s webmaster best practices prohibit poor SEO tricks such as the incorporation of automated spam and the addition of hidden bogus links and text. SEO experts who fail to abide by the guidelines risk abysmally low website ranking on search engine results which could invite a ban of your website from those results.
The wrong SEO expert will personally guarantee you will achieve a number one ranking on major search engines. Consider that a major red flag. Only the search engines themselves can control the level at which your company website will appear in their search results. No SEO expert can have an inside relationship with search engines.
The wrong SEO expert will offer cheap rates. You truly get what you pay for when it comes to hiring an SEO expert. While some SEO experts charge by the hour, the most common fee structure is project-based and can vary widely depending on complexity. Experts who typically serve small businesses often charge less based on monthly and hourly rates. Inquire as to how often invoices are generated and when payment is due. Verify late payment interest charges and fees for early contract termination. Ensure that all optimized web content is owned by you and will remain unaltered by the expert upon contract expiration or early termination.
The wrong SEO expert will fail to communicate or will only respond to negative feedback and pressing questions and even disappear altogether at crucial times. A top-notch SEO expert has nothing to hide and will eagerly volunteer information such as an SEO audit of your website, an analysis of your website’s link profile, optimized content, and articles linked to your site which is also published on additional websites. Experienced professionals want to look good to their clients. It stands to reason that you will not have to pry information from your expert and that your questions will be answered eagerly to your satisfaction within a reasonable timeframe. A great SEO professional will want to communicate with you regarding admin access to your CMS (content management system), Google analytics and webmaster tools, social accounts, ask for a list of target keywords, and review past audits. It is only to the benefit of the SEO expert to maintain open lines of communication with you. If the expert never requests access, the job isn’t getting done. In addition, you should expect frequent reports entailing (at minimum) progress thus far, methods utilized to increase SEO and their impact, and recommendations for driving continued growth.
Ignoring SEO is costly and can be likened to walking through a wind storm blowing money towards you only to collect that which blows directly onto your face. SEO attracts volumes of consumers otherwise directed to your competitors and establishes your organic online presence enforcing your interest in consumers. Neglected SEO is the equivalent of hiding from consumers and perpetuates entrepreneurial oblivion. SEO is the link between your business and your consumers enabling you to keep in touch with the needs of your audience, improving consumer experiences with your website thus strengthening your responsiveness.
Fish with a net instead of a rod! Attract consumers and increase profits by hiring an experienced professional to amp up your SEO. The expense is worth it and the return on your investment will only benefit your company.
Learn More: Marlin Consulting Solutions