Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important part of online marketing for all businesses. However,
Consultant vs. agency
Agencies will have consultants, but not all consultants will work for agencies. You may find a number of freelancers working on their own via platforms like Upwork or Fiverr. The main difference is that a consultant will offer guidance on what to do, while an agency will do the work for you –with help from you when they need it. Some independent consultants may also offer to do the work for you, for an additional fee.
Hiring a consultant to guide you along is a good idea if you’re limited on funds, and you have a decent understanding of what you need to do, but want some support with strategy, tools, and specific actions.
If you have no clue about the technical side of a website, it’s best to leave the work to your designer and
Hire from the start
It’s more cost effective to get
This is helpful because SEO encompasses so many things – not just the keywords on the page and the number of links to it. Search engines also factor in the readability of the code – robots are the ones doing the crawling, after all, and the speed at which a page loads – things your designer and developer have control over.
If your business is already established…
That’s okay – you’ll just need to ask the
What to look for when choosing an
Experience: You want a company that has experience working with today’s SEO guidelines.
Results: You want a company that can show you the results of their work. Bear in mind, however, not all clients are willing to let their information be disclosed for the purpose of case studies and testimonials. Ask for references, and then follow up with them.
When you contact the references, ask them about their experience with the company overall. Go beyond the results they achieved and ask about things like communication and customer service.
Search for the company you’re interested in working with. In such a highly competitive industry, if they can’t rank their own website well, they probably won’t be able to get impressive results with yours.
Multi-Faceted Approach: Because so many things factor into
- Social media: Social signals are part of ranking. But, having a profile on Facebook and Twitter isn’t enough to boost it. You need engagement from fans and followers, so you need a strategy to help you get there.
- Content strategy/creation: Content is what your users and the search engines are looking for. It helps educate your audience about your products and services, while also giving you a chance to separate your brand from the competition. If you have connections to a solid writer or team of writers, ask for help with developing a content strategy that supports your
SEO. If not, ask if they can include the cost of content creation in your package.
- Advertising: Paid advertising, whether it’s through Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, or other platforms, is a decent way to start building brand awareness and drive traffic to your website. Ideally, your
SEOteam should be able to cover this for you as long as you have settled on a budget.
As you make contact with each company, keep notes on what you learn. Note everything from how you felt when you spoke to the team, the pricing, timelines, to the services included, and anything else you may think of.
Avoid companies that suggest they can guarantee you a number one result, or fix your
When you find more that one company to work with that you believe can provide everything you need, compare them side by side. Use the notes you took during consultations with each company to determine which one you believe is best suited to your project.
No matter what stage your business is in, you’re ready to hire an
Images: ”A manager is holding a cloud with the SEO cloud./Shutterstock.com“
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