Do You Really Need to Go Pro?
A lot of small business owners and marketing managers sit on the fence for a long time about committing to SEO and content marketing.
They dabble with amateur help and publish mundane material that serves no one. This lack of commitment to excellence in their business is a top business killer. They may never fully commit to a using an SEO Pro to push towards market leadership. Without that optimal effort, their business languishes in leads and sales revenue.
There’s a lot of misconceptions about how to approach SEO and what’s most important. There is an overemphasis on details and technical tricks while the big picture value generation (where success is) gets overlooked. Not seeing the forest for the trees.
What do SEO Consultants Do?
An SEO consultant provides a range of services all necessary to bring your web content to a competitive and powerful level. They may do more than provide reviews and recommendations. For some talented SEO Pros, they may actually contribute to content generation and outreach activities.
- SEO Audits and Recommendations: This involves important comprehensive analysis of a client’s digital marketing challenge and SEO challenge. Brand research helps SEOs understand what the messaging should be and what content topics and keywords will convey the brand well online. SEO Research: consultants use a variety of tools and data sources to conduct competitor analysis, keyword selection, content topics, content gaps, and content types and styles, which resonate with both users and Google’s ranking algorithm.
Skills required: Analytical skills, knowledge of SEO research tools, and data analysis (e.g., Google analytics, ahrefs software, spreadsheets).
- On-Page Optimization: SEO consultants review the website’s content, keyword usage, related words, title tags, h1 tags, anchor text, meta tags, content structure and the flow of copywriting to ensure it is optimal for Google rankings and user impact and engagement. Issues and opportunities are brought out in a comprehensive audit.
Skills required: Technical SEO knowledge, HTML/CSS coding skills, and content optimization.
- Link Building: SEO consultants help to increase the website’s EEAT credibility by acquiring high-quality backlinks from industry-relevant authoritative websites. This involves outreach, content creation, and relationship building.
Skills required: Outreach skills, content creation, and engagement with bloggers, journalists and publishers.
- Content Creation: SEO consultants are frequently involved in creating high-quality content that is powerful, engaging and keyword/topically relevant enough to compete in today’s intensely competitive rankings. This content includes marketing pages, blog posts, articles, infographics, and videos, and even guest posting.
Skills required: Copywriting, content creation, and optimization.
- Technical SEO: Analyzing, Identifying, testing and fixing technical issues that affect the website’s visibility and performance, such as broken links, duplicate content, and site speed. Core metrics, UX design, coding issues, duplicate content, backlink analysis, and other issues that are difficult to detect are discovered and managed via diagnostic tools.
Skills required: Technical SEO knowledge, HTML/CSS coding skills, and troubleshooting skills.
- Local SEO: SEO consultants advise on small business presence in local oriented searches. Google My Business optimization, local citations, relationship building, and local oriented content is planned, designed and published.
Skills required: Local SEO knowledge, citation building, and Google My Business optimization.
- Web Analytics and Reports: Using Google Analytics, ahefs software, and other traffic and funnel analytics tools help track and measure rankings, reach, traffic, impact, engagement, conversions, and lifetime value.
Skills required: Analytics skills, data analysis, and reporting.
- Lead Conversion Optimization: SEO doesn’t achieve full value until customer lead and sales revenue increase. SEO analysts must discover issues that are resulting in low engagement and conversion rates and low customer lifetime value.
Skills required: Analytics skills, data analysis, and reporting.
- Social Media Optimization: Often social media will be used as an adjunct tool to increase visibility and engagement of published content. Social media profiles will synced to SEO to provide validation and support for the SEO strategy.
Skills required: Social media optimization knowledge, social media engagement, social skills, creativity, content creation, and optimization.
Key Skills for SEO Consultants
The capacity and skill in assessing the client’s full marketing challenge and knowing how SEO can resolve their needs is foremost. Using analytical tools and processed with hard data, their analysis leads to recommendations which they must communicate well.
Other key skills are keyword research, content development, copywriting, and a keen understanding of Google’s algorithm and user engagement signals.
Decision Time: Agencies or Experts?
SEO/Content agencies often emphasize a clutter of potential capabilities to distract you from the real core services that actually matter. The rest, which they’re promoting, is window dressing which adds billable hours. From Toronto to Boston to Silicon Valley, it’s often a scam, but mostly to distract you from the core specialized search engine optimization services, which they don’t do well. Often, they will require big money to basically buy (PR, links, advertising) what should come from strong, free organic production.
Without approaching content planning and generation strategically from a laser clear, value proposition/branding point of view, all the keywordism, aggressive techniques and calls to action don’t generate impact, engagement and leads.
Working with an SEO Consultant helps you get the big picture right. One of the key skills of an SEO consultant is to interview and work with your sales team and product experts. Because few SEO service providers are client product experts — we must learn your business. Having so many clients agencies generally can’t drill down to become true experts in your complex B2B product/service. That takes time, effort, experience, intelligence, commitment, and determination.
You should hire someone who can be dedicated to your business in a serious way — and that will generate the quality that creates rankings and leads.
I’ve worked with companies with very advanced technologies and it is a struggle to understand the needed value proposition from customer’s points of view. Sometimes, clients can’t help you understand it. The mental gymnastics required is exhausting and few have the stamina to suffer through that. They do enough to get by.
It takes some time to understand the culture, preferences, prejudices, and specific needs of your target audience. And to truly understand your company’s product and brand too.
Selling Goes far Beyond Promoting “Features and Benefits”
That’s why it’s better for your product experts to inform your SEO consultant about the intricacies of your product and complexities of your market. The consultant’s experience and ability to listen and apply your expert’s insights and wisdom will pay off well.
If you employ copywriters, web designers, web developers and ppc advertising people to build and apply your search engine optimization and keyword focused content, how can the results be market leading? Mediocre simply isn’t good enough today. It is really competitive. Expert specialists create that winning edge.
It’s worth it to spend the extra money and hire a pro who will be willing to commit to you and your company, and be geared to a winning effort. Bargain shopping means a disappointing outcome. Pay for the outcome you want. Everyone knows the ROI from SEO and Content is immense which is why there is 50 million SEO providers now.
Here’s the Key Serious SEO Consulting Capabilities to look for:
- experience in building big SEO successes for a mix of companies
- experience within several digital marketing agencies
- has authored books on SEO and Content Strategy
- experience in conducting digital marketing audits thus being able to understand well how their work fits into your digital marketing strategy
- ability to use SEO to add value to your complete marketing mix and all your marketing channels
- conduct in-depth keyword research and topic opportunities
- skill, creativity, and persuasiveness in copywriting
- ability to plan and execute a complex SEO strategy for massive gains in traffic and leads
- experience with a branding agency and ability to understand branding and how you’re branding your product/service
- optimize existing site content to keep it fresh and producing customers
- creating pillar content that is evergreen and will stand the test of time (producing millions of visitors over several years)
- scan, investigate and fix technical SEO issues such as user experience, core metrics, and Google’s duplicate content demotion.
- research and discover innovations in content design, content delivery, and content promotion
- innovate and improve content impact and engagement
- innovate to promote shareability of content, engaging industry journalists, bloggers and influencers
What was the Question Again?
Yes, back to the original question, “do you need an SEO consultant?” Based on the above, a talented, expert SEO consultant provides important guidance which helps you take search engine optimization and content development to a new, more effective level.
If you’re just eeking out small amounts of traffic and leads with a few okay keywords, you’re leaving everything on the table for your competitors. And let’s not forget that powerful SEO feeds and supports every other area of your marketing including PPC ads. What if this is where the real value is? You can build value in many ways!
To get yourself in the right frame of mind to make better decisions, think about these things:
- how ambitious are you and do you want success?
- do you respect your business enough to go first class?
- do you respect other’s expertise?
- are you willing to fund success?
- is a marketing consultant’s ability to add value to your full marketing efforts meaningful?
- do you want to micromanage an amateur?
- are the opportunities you’re missing worth more than what you’re about to do?
When Should You Hire An SEO Pro?
- when you need a leap in traffic, leads, lead quality, and brand lift
- when you’ve rebranded
- when you’re pouring money into a paid marketing campaign
- when you want to revamp your content strategy
- when you’re scaling up your business
- when there’s an opportunity to win your market
- when you’ve found some venture capital
Which SEO Expert Should You Hire?
Another interesting question. You should match your needs against the strengths of the consultant.
It takes some analysis, but don’t go to an agency or an HR recruiter for sanitized candidates. Few will have strong all round skills, however some top consultants have specific skills that are particularly good. It’d be nice if you could bring them all into your next SEO project, but too many chefs in the kitchen will not work.
It’s wise to prioritize your needs for your SEO content project and match it up with the SEO Content Consultant who fulfills your key requirements. You could hire a consultant on an hourly basis or project basis first to discover what their actual capabilities are. You won’t really know until you actually work with them and they’re putting in a good effort.
And if you’re uncertain about this whole project, you might want me to conduct a digital marketing audit (8 audits in one) or just an SEO audit, to ascertain what’s needed. Your business is worth going Pro. I’d strongly advise finding someone good and will work with you responsively and cooperatively. Go ahead, challenge them to create something great for you.
Advanced SEO Services
SEO service packages are custom-designed to suit your project needs and budget. Contact me at 416 998 6246 to discuss. I’m looking forward to speaking with you.
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