SEO Consulting: 9 Things to Know Before Choosing a Consultant

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There are over 1.8 billion websites in existence, and getting yours noticed might seem hopeless. After all, you’re a small business, and you have a lot on your plate.

You’re focused on providing the best products and services for your customers, and you have to manage your employees. You don’t have an entire department ready to do your marketing for you.

You can’t throw in the towel, either. The key is to find help, and ensure it’s the right help.

You’ve heard of search engine optimization (SEO). Is an SEO consultant the way to go? Or should you hire an SEO service provider?

The answer is yes. You need both — and you can get them in the same agency. Here are the 10 things you need to know before getting started with SEO consulting.

1. You Need An SEO Plan

You Need An SEO Plan

If your small business is going to succeed with SEO, you need to know exactly how to take advantage of your company’s unique market. Your local community will probably play a big role in this, so your plan should include local SEO as well as a broader approach.

Creating a plan can take some time, so it’s important to be patient. If you’re doing this on your own, it will take much longer and you may miss some important details. 

Working with an SEO agency like Local SEO Search can put you ahead of the game. We can work with you to not only optimize your website, but also claim and optimize your Google My Business page, create high-quality inbound links, and more.

Your plan lays the foundation for your entire approach, so don’t hire SEO consulting from anyone who is going to skip this step!

2. You Need to Implement Your Plan

You Need to Implement Your Plan

A consultant gives you the plan, but they don’t do it for you. That’s why you need an SEO provider as well. Unless you have an entire in-house marketing team — and most small businesses don’t — you’ll want someone to implement your SEO strategy.

As a small business owner, you have a lot on your plate already. Learning the ins and outs of your website technology and how to update meta tags, title tags, and upload content isn’t something you have time for. The best option is to hire someone to take care of your SEO marketing so you can focus on what you do best — serving your customers.

Search engine optimization is a long process, so be sure to find someone you can partner with who is truly invested in your business.

3. SEO is Constantly Changing

SEO is Constantly Changing

One of the frustrating aspects of SEO is that it isn’t a “set it and forget it.” It’s a long-term process, but the competition and the Google algorithms are constantly changing. It can be impossible for a small business owner to keep up.

That’s why working with an agency that provides both planning and implementation is essential. You don’t want to be bouncing back and forth between an SEO consultancy and your marketing agency. It’s too easy for information to get lost or misunderstood.

Local SEO Search is unique in that we can be your search engine marketing consultant as well as your implementor. You will talk directly to us and all our work is done in-house. That’s quality you can rely on!

4. The Right SEO Does More Than Bring Traffic

The Right SEO Does More Than Bring Traffic

Getting more people to view your website is essential, but all that traffic means nothing to your business if they’re not interested in your products or services. Watch out for any SEO consultant or agency that promises a specific traffic number in a short period of time — that traffic may not be valuable for your business.

The focus of high-quality SEO is on making your business more visible to the right traffic, which are people who are interested in your products and services and those who need your help right away.

Old-style advertising was about interrupting people in the midst of what they were doing. Commercials would play during a television show or radio program. A billboard would be placed where people were driving to work. A lot of people would receive this advertising, but very few of them would respond because they didn’t need it.

SEO is about drawing in people who are already interested. That’s why you target specific keywords that people enter in Google — it shows that they have a need for your product or service. You want to attract people, and that requires targeted messaging that appeals directly to your ideal customers. 

5. You Don’t Need to Buy Ads For Effective SEO

You Don’t Need to Buy Ads For Effective SEO

Some small business owners feel like the only way to be successful on Google is to pay for ads. Because that’s very expensive and the strategy is difficult, they skip the idea of SEO altogether.

This isn’t the case at all! Search engine optimization is a long-term strategy, but once you have the right elements in place, your website becomes a 24/7 salesperson. Once you rank well and maintain that ranking, your website will attract ideal leads for months or years. 

Buying and creating effective pay-per-click (PPC) ads may be a way that you jumpstart your traffic efforts, but it’s not a necessary part of SEO. You can be extremely successful in improving your search ranking without ever buying ads.

Make sure you understand what strategy your SEO consultant or agency is recommending. PPC ads can be very expensive and they don’t take the place of proper long-term SEO optimization.

6. Your Small Business Has Unique Needs

Your Small Business Has Unique Needs

Unfortunately, not every SEO consultant or agency understands what small business is about. Too many of them are willing to get a surface-level understanding of your company and then move forward with a one-size-fits-all plan that they use for every client.

Your business deserves better. What you offer is different from what your competitors offer, and your marketing and positioning are unique. As a small business ourselves, we understand that. Our boutique agency is committed to giving small companies the same level of custom service that typically only big-budget businesses get.

We’ll do a deep dive into what makes your business truly unique and special. We’ll talk to you about your dreams and the impact you want to make on your community. From there we’ll create a unique plan that makes you stand out from everyone else, and put that plan into action.

7. An SEO Expert Needs Specific Skills

An SEO Expert Needs Specific Skills

Before you hire an SEO expert or agency, there are several questions to ask. SEO is an investment, and it takes time to see results. You want to ensure that the person or team you hire has the skills to be successful. 

First, does the expert or team have a passion for marketing? Someone who has been in small business marketing for many years can give you a better perspective on SEO and how to be successful than someone who is new. You can also tell by talking to someone whether they are interested in your success or just your money.

Second, they should be detail-oriented. Search engine optimization requires a lot of small things on your website to all work together. If something is overlooked, you could fail to get the rankings you need — or worse, be penalized by Google.

Finally, make sure they understand your local area and your business. They should have a good understanding of your target market so that they can craft a strategy and message that will connect with your ideal clients.

8. Local SEO is Vital For Small Businesses

Local SEO is Vital For Small Businesses

As a smaller company, you might think that you can’t compete with the larger competitors in your space. However, that’s not true. In fact, being small and local isn’t a drawback, it’s a tremendous advantage. 

Most of the time, people in your community aren’t going to hire someone from the other side of the country. They want and need someone nearby to do work on their homes, yards, and to provide services. 

As a local business owner, you can use this to your advantage when you work with SEO. Don’t just use regular keywords, focus on keywords that include local terms, such as your city, street, or neighbourhood. When people include those terms in searches, your business will be poised to rank highly.

Part of this is claiming your Google My Business page and making sure it’s full of helpful information. It will give you a great chance to show up in Google’s local pack, which is a sidebar that often appears above the top organic search results. The local pack is a map that shows nearby businesses that match the user’s search, along with contact information and a link to each Google Business page.

The more information your Google My Business page has, the better! Those who land on your page will see reviews from other customers, which consumers trust as much as a personal recommendation.

You can also add other elements, including photos, videos, and a variety of details about your company. The more you share, the more your visitors will feel connected to your business.

When you set your business up with local SEO optimization, you’ll be easier for those in your community to find. You’ll show up more highly for local searchers, and you’ll bring more traffic to your website.

9. SEO is Only Half the Equation

SEO is Only Half the Equation

In an article about SEO consulting, you might be surprised to see a statement that SEO is only half the battle. But if you’re going to work with an SEO consultant and marketing agency, it’s important to keep another element in mind.

SEO brings the right people to your website, but from there you need customers.

Can your marketing agency or consultant step beyond simple SEO and help you build a website that turns traffic into sales? If your site isn’t generating a good conversion rate, you might not be working with the right firm.

That’s one of the reasons it’s so important to choose an SEO agency that goes beyond a one-size-fits-all approach. You need an SEO partner who really understands small companies and how to get an interested lead to give you a call.

Get Started With SEO Consulting Today!

Now that you know the essentials about SEO and local marketing, it’s time to connect with the right SEO consulting agency. At Local SEO Search, we not only offer consultations about how to set up your strategy, but we also implement the strategy and monitor it over time.

If you’re looking for a way to confidently hand off your SEO marketing so that you can focus on your business, we’re the perfect fit. Our boutique agency has helped thousands of small businesses succeed, and we’d love to serve you as well.

Contact us today!

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