While you might know some basics of search engine optimization (SEO), partnering with an SEO consultant is the best way to see results and give SEO the time it deserves. A professional SEO consultant is an industry expert who understands how to increase organic traffic, generate leads, and improve sales without relying solely on paid advertising. For more information, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you better understand what an SEO consultant is, what they do, and the benefits of partnering with one.
What Does an SEO Consultant Do?
An SEO consultant is a professional whose primary goal is to help businesses strengthen their online visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) and convert visitors. This means working towards moving their website’s ranking up the list, onto the first page of the SERPs, and closer to the first spot. The closer a website’s ranking is to the top, the more likely it is to get qualified leads, which, over time, increases the profitability of a business. Search engine consultants are experts in search engine marketing (SEM) and provide several services, including the following:
Website Analysis and SEO Audits
The first thing an SEO professional will do is conduct an SEO audit and website analysis using SEO tools. This provides an in-depth understanding of how your website is currently ranking on SERPs. The audit checks the backlinks, content, technical aspects, and more. Simply put, the audit allows SEO consultants to see if search engine algorithms respond to your site. It also provides professional SEO consultants with an overview of what needs to be done to improve site performance and ranking.
In addition to an audit, an SEO consultant will spend time doing competitor research. This gives insight into what keywords your competitors rank for and how your website needs to change to compete with them. Competitor analysis and research also help you identify gaps in your content, effective backlinks, and more.
Keyword research is probably the most well-known part of SEO. It involves looking for words, phrases, or questions your target audience is searching for and determining how to best incorporate them on your site. Often, this is through long-form content, but keywords will also need to be in meta descriptions, titles, and integrated into off-page optimization. Several metrics will be analyzed during keyword research, including search volume, average click-through-rates, traffic potential, and keyword difficulty.
SEO consultants also help with content strategy and optimization. This is the easiest way to tie in relevant keywords, build audience trust, and gain traction on current trends or topics. They may partner with content writers or copywriters to help create unique articles or copy incorporating keywords naturally while still providing readers with value. A professional SEO consultant will provide guidance on where to use keywords, how often they should be incorporated, and which variations go well with each topic.
Keyword research and content optimization are both considered on-page SEO. However, on-page SEO also includes things like metadata, page load speed, mobile responsiveness, and more. An SEO consultant will ensure that these on-page features are optimized accordingly.
While on-site SEO is essential, off-page SEO is just as important, if not more. One of the most influential aspects of off-page SEO is link building and improving overall domain authority. Link building is when another website mentions your site or a page on your blog and provides its readers with a direct URL for cross-reference. They’re basically vouching for your authority on a subject. Backlinks are one of the most effective strategies, but they can be difficult to obtain. SEO consultants can help you secure links by leveraging social media marketing, guest blogging, and more.
Your website—from an audience’s perspective—is only part of the picture. There are hundreds of moving parts that happen behind the scenes. An SEO consultant can help make sure the entirety of your site is functioning at its best. This includes securing your website using SSL, adding a sitemap, and taking the necessary steps to ensure that your site can be crawled and indexed by search engines. Technical SEO also includes addressing broken links or problems, optimizing page speed, and improving overall navigation.
Local SEO involves making your website more visible to individuals within your geographic area. Although this is more important for brick-and-mortar businesses, many people still prioritize local online businesses over ones that are halfway across the country. A professional SEO consultant can help you optimize your Google My Business profile to ensure that you show up in map-based results—or in localized organic SERPs.
SEO isn’t something that you can just do once and then forget about. Since algorithms change, your website needs to be updated regularly and cross-referenced with current keyword rankings and trends. SEO consultants can help you monitor your performance and make changes as needed, thus helping you maximize your long-term efforts.
Do You Need an SEO Consultant?
In today’s digital world, almost every business could benefit from partnering with an SEO consultant. SEO consulting allows you to gain insight into what’s working with your current site, what’s not, and which improvements will help generate results. If you’ve ever wondered if you need an SEO consultant, ask yourself the following questions.
Are You Having Issues with Google?
Google maintains a set of best practices that, when broken, results in website penalties. If you’re unsure what you did or how to combat it, a professional SEO consultant can help. If you receive an email from Google Webmaster Tools or another Google Analytics program, find an SEO consultant as soon as possible.
Is Your Website Traffic Plateauing?
Although a steady stream of organic traffic is good, if your traffic isn’t gradually increasing over time, your business isn’t going to grow. Working with an SEO consultant can help you strengthen your online presence and increase the likelihood of organic traffic and qualified leads.
Has Your Website Traffic Dropped?
Have you noticed a decline in engagement or site visits lately? If you have, and you’re not sure why, partnering with an SEO consultant is the best way to determine what’s happening. Search engines may have adapted their algorithms, or you may have done something negatively impacting your ranking. It’s best to consult with a professional rather than trying to fix it on your own and risk making the issue worse.
Do You Lack Quality SEO Knowledge?
Most people understand that keywords are an integral part of SEO, but do you know which keywords will get you the most results? Do you know how to integrate keywords into meta descriptions, title tags, and sitemaps? SEO requires a lot of work and a strong understanding of how the industry operates. SEO consultancy lets you focus on working towards your goals while the expert takes care of the rest.
Are You Ready to Scale Your Business?
Growth cannot happen without increased demand, so how do you generate more leads and scale your business? An SEO consultant can help you get your website ready for more traffic while increasing its visibility across major SERPs (search engine results pages). This could include creating more content, optimizing product pages, marketing to new audiences, or making your website more user-friendly. All of these features can help complement a scaling business and pave the way for new revenue.
Do You Want to Revamp or Redesign Your Website?
Maybe your website is a bit dated, and you want to make some changes. While it might seem like a good idea to jump on a user-friendly platform that allows you to make surface-level changes, revamping or redesigning your website is the perfect time to work with an SEO consultant. In doing so, you can focus on improving both on-page and off-page SEO features that will help you attract your target audience and drive conversions.
Is Your Website Having Technical Issues?
You need an SEO consultant if there is even one page on your website with a 404 error or technical issue. Technical issues can be major red flags for search engines that can negatively impact ranking. These issues can include things like missing links, broken links, 404 errors, incorrect URLs, and even outdated or duplicate content. Sitemap issues must be addressed and optimally functioning to reduce the risk of wiping your site from Google or other search engines.
Benefits of an SEO Consultant
About 93% of global traffic comes from a search engine, yet 90.63% of pages get almost no organic search traffic. An SEO consultant helps you move into the 10% that can actually be found by your target audience, which in turn has several cascading effects. Some of the most notable benefits of working with a professional SEO consultant include the following:
Improve Brand Visibility
When was the last time you Googled something and decided to click “next page” to see more results? Have you ever done that? Chances are low, as most people tend to find exactly what they’re looking for in the top few spots. That’s because they trust Google and other search engines to display the most reputable websites that answer their question or search queries first.
Working with an professional SEO can increase the likelihood that your website gets displayed on the coveted first-page SERPs. This provides you with several opportunities for online business, from one-time sales to life-long customers. The increased visibility can also help contribute to credibility and overall reputation, which can help with word-of-mouth referrals and brand awareness.
Increase Organic Traffic
SEO consultants can help you get found by your customers, which will increase organic traffic over time. The higher your website appears in the SERPs, the more people will visit it—especially if it appears before your competitors. Plus, the more people see your website in the SERPs, the more brand recognition you’ll get, which also affects organic traffic over time.
Attract Qualified Leads
Strong SEO tactics work in a domino effect. Although some people might visit your website just to see what it’s about, you should only be interested in visitors who actually want or need your product or service. Luckily, the more organic traffic you get, the more qualified leads you’ll find. This makes it easy to attract new customers and grow your business. The higher you appear in search engines, the more people trust your brand. The more people trust your brand, the higher the chance of conversions.
Gain a Competitive Advantage
Unless you’re an extremely exclusive company offering a truly unique product or service, you will have competition. Unfortunately, there are only so many spots at the top. Working with an SEO consultant will help you gain a competitive advantage and increase your likelihood of ranking above other businesses within your industry. This means that visitors will see your site first, which usually means they’ll visit it over one lower on the SERPs.
Well-thought-out and executed SEO strategies can have a ripple effect over the years. When everything is running well, your SEO efforts can help support digital marketing campaigns, PPC advertising, and even PR appearances. An SEO consultant will make sure that you’re set up for long-term success so you can continue to reap the benefits long after the original work has been done.
Qualities to Look for in an SEO Consultant
In reality, finding an expert SEO isn’t too hard. A simple Google search will pull up hundreds of options—it’s what they do, after all. However, finding a good SEO consultant or SEO consulting agency isn’t always as simple. You need to ensure they’re experienced and easy to communicate with to make a difference in your online visibility. There are several qualities and traits that good SEO consultants have, many of which should be non-negotiable if you want to avoid wasting your time and money.
Strong Background Knowledge
SEO consultants need to know more than just basic-level SEO. They should have an extensive background within the industry, including on-page SEO, off-site SEO, technical SEO, and more. Since it’s such a dynamic field, your SEO consultant should also be dedicated to ongoing research and education to keep up with industry standards and algorithm updates.
Ability to Research
Search engine optimization consultants must research buyer personas, audiences, competitors, search engine strategies, market trends, and more. Gathering this information and assessing its reliability is essential to long-term SEO results.
A good SEO consultant will have plenty of SEO campaigns under their belt, case studies and analytics demonstrating their track record. This can help give you peace of mind when finding the right person for your needs. Always ask about metrics, realistic expectations for growth, and any other questions you may have. While SEO does take time for the results to show, reputable SEO consulting agencies or individuals will have results to back up their claims.
Years of Experience
Everyone starts somewhere to become an SEO consultant, but if you need to hire an SEO consultant, you’re going to want someone who knows what they’re doing. Seasoned SEO consultants have a better understanding of what they’re doing, how to change with the industry, and what works. They also have more case studies, more happy clients, and tend to work more efficiently than those new to the field.
Expertise in Digital Marketing
SEO is integral to any digital marketing strategy, but it’s not the only focus. Alongside a strong understanding of optimization, a search engine optimization professional will know how to combine it with other marketing campaigns to help you maximize your investment. When combined, digital marketing and SEO can tremendously impact your online presence and brand recognition.
SEO requires a lot of analysis and adjustments, especially if your website was never optimized. You need an SEO consultant with strong communication skills to avoid being left in the dark about minor or major changes. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about how you’ll progress during your partnership before moving forward with an SEO consulting agency or SEO consultant. Finding someone with similar or adaptable communication skills can make the relationship more efficient for you both.
Working with an SEO consultant you can trust is one of the most important aspects of creating a long-lasting relationship. When you partner with Operation Technology, you not only secure a leading Chicago SEO company, but you also gain access to our complete roster. This includes search engine consultants, digital marketing and web development experts, and content creators..
Operation Technology’s team of digital marketing consultants working to increase your company’s revenue. We offer affordable SEO services in Chicago and throughout the United States. Contact us to speak with a consultant for your business today for an overview of our proven marketing solutions.