What do you do when you want to learn about a product or service these days? You Google it. And then, like everybody else, you click on the first two or three search results that Google suggests.
For this reason, merely having a business website isn’t enough. You need to ensure the website appears on search engine results pages (SERPs) when users search for information about your products or services. A powerful search engine optimization (SEO) strategy ensures your business is not only on the SERPs but also among the first search results.
However, it’s easier said than done. Coming up with an effective SEO strategy is not easy, considering every serious business is fighting for the top search spot. This explains why many businesses choose to work with SEO consultants like ELK Marketing to achieve their search engine optimization goals.
Keep reading to learn more about SEO consulting and how it can benefit your business.
What is SEO Consulting?
SEO consulting is the process of devising, implementing, and executing an SEO strategy to help a business rank well on Google, Yahoo, Bing, or other search engines.
SEO consultants are experts who have taken their time to understand search engine optimization and the latest algorithm updates. They are also experts at utilizing a wide range of SEO tools, including keyword research tools, keyword optimization tools, and planning tools to drive successful SEO campaigns.
It’s also worth noting that reputable search engine consultants can work closely with your in-house team of content writers, copywriters, social media specialists, and other digital marketing professionals. And if you want, your SEO consulting firm can bring their team to handle every aspect of your online marketing.
What Does an SEO Consultant do?
Every SEO consultant is different in their offers and what results they guarantee their clients. An SEO consultant job description for one SEO consulting firm, for example, will not necessarily match that of another SEO agency. Here are several things you can expect our team at ELK Marketing to do when you hire us.
We Perform Website Audits
A website audit is usually one of the first things we do after entering into a partnership with you. Here, we analyze your site from an SEO perspective and recommend ways to improve it. Some of the many things we check include page loading speed, site security, site performance, individual web pages, content, and meta descriptions.
We may also need to conduct site audits at regular intervals throughout our partnership to assess how our campaigns are doing. For example, we like to conduct site audits after a major Google algorithm update to check if rankings have been affected.
We Perform Extensive Keyword Research
Keyword research involves identifying the words, phrases, or queries that people within your target audience search for on the search engines. To do this, we engage with you to learn about the keywords or keyphrases you associate with your business. After that, we conduct extensive research to see what businesses are already ranking for those terms. We will also come up with words or phrases that your business should be targeting for higher keyword rankings.
Upon completing the research, we will devise a strategy that your business can use to improve rankings on the selected words and phrases. If a keyword has very low competition, ranking for it may involve some simple content creation and optimization. But if a keyword has a lot of competition, it may require more aggressive measures, such as link building.
For effective keyword research, we also look at various metrics, including:
- Search Volume
- The total number of searches for a given keyword or keyphrase in a set period of time.
- Keyword Difficulty
- A measure of how hard it is to rank for a particular keyword.
- Domain Rating/Authority
- The potential of your site to rank in the search engine result pages (SERPS). The higher the domain rating, the greater the ranking potential is.
We Manage Content Development
Now that we have a list of keywords to target, the next step is to create a content strategy. Using our team of content writers and copywriters, we can craft content your customers and visitors can read when they visit your site. Great content is critical for SEO as search engines use it to determine if your site is relevant for specific keywords.
We aim to create content that serves both your visitors and search engines. Therefore, we will not stuff your site with keywords to influence ranking. Instead, we will create copy that speaks to your customers with the keywords expertly placed in meta descriptions, page titles, subheadings, and within content naturally and organically.
Keep in mind that content development is an ongoing process. After crafting the initial content, we will still need to work together to ensure consistent content creation and optimization of the already existing content. This way, your visitors will always have something new to read when they visit your site.
We Focus on Quality Link Building
Link building is one of the most critical ranking factors in SEO. Depending on how competitive your niche is, your content may not appear on the top search results without an effective link-building strategy. When someone links to your site, the search engines interpret that to mean your content is trusted, and you deserve to potentially rank higher.
Also, the more competitive your niche is, the more links you may need to be able to rank. Sometimes, you may find that you’re receiving links naturally, although in most cases, you’ll need a specific strategy for building links.
Some of the link-building tactics we employ are:
- Broken link building
- Content outreach (e.g., sharing infographics)
- Strategic guest posting
- Unlinked brand mentions
- Replicating competitor’s backlinks
- Community site link building
We Understand Technical SEO
This is where our technical expertise in SEO comes into play. We will optimize your website’s architecture to allow search engines to crawl and index it more effectively.
Generally, search engines prefer websites with specific technical characteristics — like a responsive design, fast loading time, and a secure connection. Technical SEO is what you do to ensure your website displays these characteristics.
To ensure your website meets the technical SEO requirement, here are some of the things we do:
- Speed your site up
- Ensure your site has a secure SSL certificate
- Fix duplicate content issues
- Ensure your website is mobile-friendly
- Create an XML sitemap
Additionally, we will set up Search Console and Google Analytics to monitor your site’s performance from a search engine perspective.
We Submit Your Site to Search Engines
This is an important step if you are launching a brand new website. While search engines can naturally crawl your site through the links received from other sites, submitting the site for review can help speed up the process.
We will start by optimizing your site and its content to ensure they meet the required standards. After that, we will submit the site to all major search engines. Within no time, your website should start to appear in the search results.
But it doesn’t stop there. After submission, we will still need to employ various tactics like content creation and link building to improve your site’s rankings.
We Perform Competitor Research & Analysis
To outrank your competitors on the search engines, you need to know the SEO strategies they are using and which keywords they are ranking for.
For example, let’s say you’re a real estate business and one of your top competitors has an article entitled, “7 Smart Tips To Buy Your Dream House at a Young Age.” To outrank your competitor’s web page, you’ll need a more comprehensive post on the same topic for your website.
Keep in mind that competitor research is more involved than simply using your competitors to create higher-ranking content. It also involves:
- Competitor backlink analysis
- Keyword gap analysis
- Content gap analysis
- Competitor referring domains analysis
When do You Need to Hire an SEO Consultant?
Hiring a professional SEO consultant to drive your SEO goals is always a wise idea. But in some situations, hiring these consultants is a more urgent need than others. Here are five instances when hiring an SEO consultant is necessary.
You Aren’t an SEO Expert
You don’t hesitate to engage a lawyer when dealing with a major lawsuit. Why? Because some things are best left to the experts. Trying to represent yourself in a major litigation case without legal expertise is more than likely to be a losing battle.
And this is the same case with SEO. If you don’t have adequate SEO knowledge, you’ll struggle to achieve the desired results. You may even never achieve any tangible results at all.
Search engine consultants have spent years learning and perfecting their SEO skills. You can always rely on them to create effective SEO strategies for your business.
You Don’t Have Time for SEO
As a business owner, you’re responsible for every aspect of your business. As a result, you may not have enough time for SEO.
Remember, SEO is an engaging process that involves a wide variety of things, including content creation, keyword research, site modification, and metrics analysis. If you can’t dedicate more than 20 hours every week to SEO efforts, you’re better off hiring an SEO consultant.
Your Site has Seen a Sudden Drop in Traffic
Google consistently makes tweaks and updates to its algorithm. Sometimes, these updates may cause your traffic to drop all of a sudden.
There are also other reasons why your search engine traffic may drop drastically. Perhaps there is a configuration error in the robots.txt file or the sitemap. Or maybe Google has hit you with a penalty after engaging in some bad practice.
If you don’t know what to do in these types of situations, go ahead and hire an SEO marketing consultant.
Your Site Isn’t Getting Traffic
Your website is critical to your digital marketing success. If it’s not getting any traffic, it means users aren’t finding your company when they conduct searches online.
An SEO consultant will perform a website audit to determine why you’re not getting traffic. After that, they will implement a strategy to drive more traffic to your site.
You Produce Content Regularly
If your business produces regular content, you need a targeted SEO approach. After all, you aim to create content that ranks higher in the SERPs to improve your brand visibility.
An SEO consultant will ensure you’re targeting the right keywords, creating high-quality content, and promoting the content on the relevant channels to connect with your target audience. This will result in more fruitful engagement and a better conversion rate.
Are SEO Consultants Worth It?
The decision to outsource SEO to a professional is not always an easy one to make. Your SEO consultant will come with an extra bill that your business is supposed to cover. You may wonder whether hiring an SEO consultant is worth it.
The answer is yes — the benefits outweigh the costs of hiring an SEO consultant.
You’ll Generate Higher ROI & Conversions
SEO consultants will implement strategies that drive more organic traffic to your site. Unlike paid searches, this traffic is free, meaning you don’t have to pay for each click. Besides, organic search attracts relevant leads and builds trust, so you’re likely to see a better conversion rate. More conversions will then translate to more sales and a higher ROI.
If you want more evidence, take a look at one of our recent case studies with a client. The client, Dr. Dabber, approached our team at ELK Marketing, wanting to know how SEO might help them. We used a three-pronged approach involving onsite optimization, content development, and backlinking. In six months, we doubled their organic traffic, increased their conversion rates by 16%, and increased their organic search revenue by 36%.
Bottom line? Hiring an SEO consultant is a solid investment.
You’ll Save Your Money
If you decide not to hire SEO consultants, the other option is to create an in-house team of SEO professionals. This can be costly. You’ll need to invest heavily in their salaries, SEO tools, and equipment needed to perform their work.
With SEO consultants, you only need to pay their service fees. You don’t need to purchase any software, as they are equipped with all that’s required. And once the set goals have been achieved, you can mutually agree to end the partnership, which may not be possible with an in-house SEO team.
You’ll Save Precious Time
SEO can be complicated and time-consuming. In most cases, it takes a lot of patience, time, and energy to achieve the desired results. But as a business owner, you can’t just put all your efforts into SEO and leave other aspects of your business unattended.
Hiring an SEO consultant allows you to focus on running the business while the SEO experts do what they do best. Apart from saving time, you can have peace of mind knowing that reliable professionals are handling your SEO campaigns, and you don’t have to worry about it.
You’ll Keep Your Business Safe
Without adequate SEO knowledge, your website is susceptible to Google penalties, hacking, and spam. SEO consultants know what to do to avoid these repercussions and keep your site safe.
For example, reputable SEO consultants usually have a dedicated team whose work is to monitor tools like Bing Webmaster, Google Search Console, and Google Analytics. They can easily track and correct errors such as bad backlinks, black-hat attacks, security vulnerabilities, and manual actions.
You’ll Stay Updated on Trends
SEO is constantly evolving. A strategy that worked last year may be outdated today. Besides, the regular algorithm updates by Google keep changing the ranking factors.
Keeping up with these trends and algorithm updates may not be easy for you. But SEO consultants are people who have dedicated their professional lives to SEO, so they’ll be familiar with all the trends and updates that may affect your business. By partnering with them, you’ll always be on top of things.
You’ll Build Trust & Credibility With Your Customers
Have you noticed whenever you Google something, the top results often have the word “Ad” next to them? Those are paid results. However, some users don’t trust these results and may even avoid them.
Most consumers trust organic results. When you hire an SEO consultant to drive your website to the top search results through organic means, people will see that as a sign your brand is trustable and credible.
You’ll Keep Your Customers Informed
An effective content strategy by expert SEO consultants is preceded by a deep study of your target market and your customers’ most pressing problems. This study allows them to create content that addresses users’ pain points and objections.
When you make it a habit to provide high-quality and relevant content, customers know they can rely on you to keep them informed. They won’t hesitate to visit your site whenever they want to learn something related to your products or services. With time, you become an authority on your niche, with more and more people willing to pay for your offers.
You’ll Compete With Bigger Players
Your business isn’t the only one in the market. You are competing against other businesses, some of which have more resources than you. However, this doesn’t mean you fold and accept playing second fiddle.
SEO allows you to rank on top of search results without spending much. With better search ranking comes increased conversions and a bigger market share. In the end, you can compete favorably against bigger players in the market.
You’ll Enjoy Better Efficiency
When you hire an SEO consultancy, you get a team comprising SEO specialists, website technicians, content writers, and copywriters. You can count on them to develop and implement a complete SEO strategy without external help.
Also, since the team will be continuously working on your site, they can implement any needed changes fast and without delays. For example, if there is a Google update that requires some changes to be made on your site, they will make these changes fast to ensure you’re in Google’s good graces.
You’ll Get Measurable Results
In most cases, the actions taken by SEO consultants are supported by data. For example, they will track which web pages are receiving the most visitors and which ones have the highest bounce rates. The data lets them know where they need to focus their efforts.
Moreover, they will constantly measure results to know how the SEO strategies are working. They can quickly tell where improvements are needed and make them for you.
An SEO specialist also understands that SEO is a long game and that it may take some time before you can see results. They will give you a realistic picture of the current position of your business and where things are headed.
You’ll Benefit From Additional Services
You may need to combine SEO with other services like digital marketing and promotion to achieve your online marketing goals. If you’re relying on an in-house SEO team, they may not have the ability to implement the other needed services, forcing you to lag on your online marketing efforts.
Luckily, SEO consultants are not just SEO experts. They can offer additional marketing services that your business needs. For example, if you’re working with our ELK Marketing team, we will offer you SEO services as well as other digital marketing services like email marketing, social media marketing, SMS marketing, paid search, and direct audience marketing — just to mention a few.
Take the Next Step With an SEO Consultant
Hiring an SEO consultant is a smart decision if you’re looking to improve the ranking of your website on the search engines and take your online marketing efforts to the next level. And the best thing is that the results are often long-term, meaning you can continue to benefit from your SEO efforts even after you’ve stopped actively working on SEO.
However, to enjoy the benefits discussed in this article, you need to partner with an SEO consultancy that knows what they are doing. Beware of “SEO experts” who give guarantees that your website will appear in the top search results within a few days. These guarantees may be their way of enticing you to do business with them, but the results may not match.
What you need to do is get an SEO consultant that has a proven track record. At ELK Marketing, our performance speaks for itself. We have helped brands of all sizes achieve their SEO and internet marketing goals, and we have multiple case studies with verifiable data to confirm our clients’ success!
Contact us at ELK Marketing today and let us help you grow your business.