Blackhat techniques like keyword stuffing dominated the early days of SEO. It was a very Wild West approach with few restrictions and no obvious sheriff in sight. The world of SEO is in a much different place these days.
Major search engine updates make most of the techniques non-starters. Websites which attempt them receive merciless punishment. The lucky ones get exiled to page rank Siberia.
The unlucky ones get de-listed entirely from search engine results. You and any SEO strategist you hire must take a more nuanced approach.
“I’m not an SEO expert,” you say. “How can I tell the difference between the right SEO strategist and the wrong one?”
Keep reading and we’ll give you the low-down on choosing a good strategist to help with your business.
Doing Your Part
Getting results depends in large part on understanding your own objectives.
Telling your subordinates to find an SEO specialist is like telling them to find a psychology specialist. Psychologists often specialize in a very narrow range of mental health conditions. SEO specialists often work in specific areas of SEO.
Let’s say you focus on firms who offer across the board SEO solutions. They can still only provide solutions based on your input. If you direct them to get you more traffic, they’ll deliver more traffic.
This won’t amount to much if you meant to deliver more qualified leads.
You must sit down and figure out what ends you want from SEO. If you don’t know specifically, try using SMART goal setting. This approach calls for goals that are:
These kinds of goals give an SEO specialist fixed targets to aim for in their work.
Paid Advertising Isn’t Their Primary Solution
Paid advertising gets a bad rap. Yes, it’s something you can pour money into with no results. That’s usually the result of poorly designed campaigns or misunderstanding the advertising platform.
Paid advertising has a place in any good SEO strategy. It can help drive traffic and boost brand awareness. Most businesses need both of those things, but it’s only part of the equation.
Advertising shouldn’t be a strategist’s first answer to every problem because SEO touches factors as diverse as:
- whether your website works on mobile
- user experience (UX)
- content posting schedules
- content quality
- social media presence
- your short, medium, and long-term goals
- consistent branding
Advertising can’t solve problems with most of those factors.
If visitors can’t navigate your site, it doesn’t matter how much traffic you get. If your content is garbage, no one will stick around to read it.
Got inconsistent branding? Customers won’t know if they’re even dealing with the same business. Confused customers don’t buy things.
They Start with Website Basics
Your website is the beating heart of your online business efforts. You showcase your offerings, publish blog posts, and even sell products or services there. Get SEO wrong on your site and you face an uphill battle.
Website tweaks are the first thing a potential SEO strategist should recommend. Some areas where the strategist might recommend tweaks include:
- XML sitemap
- load time improvement
- structured data markup
- canonical URL’s
- refined Robot.txt files
- mobile readiness
These tweaks focus primarily on what search engines want to see on a website. The more of those boxes you tick, the better search engines will like your business website.
The one tweak that crosses over into user experience is the load time. Visitors abandon websites in droves if the page takes longer than a few seconds to load.
They Offer a Content Strategy
There is no one-size-fits-all content strategy.
For example, B2B content often includes a lot of technical details about a product or service. The intended audience for the content is people with a strong background in a given area.
A parts manufacturer might talk about the chemical makeup or tensile strength of a new material they used in the next generation of a part. These details matter a lot for a business using those parts. Those details don’t offer much benefit when directed at rank-and-file consumers.
Your strategist must tailor the strategy for your business.
Let’s say you run a bookkeeping business. Bookkeeping is an abstract service. It doesn’t lend itself to video or picture content.
Your strategist might recommend focusing on written content, such as blogs, guest posts, and articles.
Now let’s say you run a hair salon. Salons live and die based on appearances. A good SEO strategist will likely recommend you focus on visual content.
Get customer permission for before and after shots to appear on your website and social media accounts. Shoot in-house videos of coloring or hair styling. Do 1-2 minute videos offering tips about hair care.
Good content plays on the strengths of your business. A good strategist knows that and guides you accordingly.
Industry experience isn’t a must-have requirement for an SEO strategist, but it’s the ideal situation. Every industry has quirks, jargon, and implicit expectations. Your strategist can do a much better job if they go into the situation already up to speed on those insider factors.
That said, the principles of good SEO hold true regardless of industry. You will likely see improvements in terms of traffic, leads, or conversions by introducing SEO best practices.
The main benefit of industry experience is it eliminates the learning curve. This can speed up the improvement process a little.
Parting Thoughts on Choosing the Right SEO Strategist
Choosing the right SEO strategist starts with you. You must figure out what specific goals you want to achieve. Then, you can start looking for a strategist.
A good strategist doesn’t see paid advertising as the fix for every single business problem. They should only recommend paid advertising as part of a larger plan.
You want a strategist who starts with your website. If your website isn’t set up properly, it won’t matter what else they do.
The strategist should offer a content strategy which plays to your business’ strengths. It’s also helpful if they have experience in your industry.
Accurate Web Solution specializes in web development and digital marketing. For more information about our SEO services, contact us today.