Taking the top positions in the search engines is a mission that requires commitment and several revisions. The competition is fierce and it’s tough to carve your spot unless you’ve already built an established reputation as an industry leader.
But even if you’re a startup company or a small business that’s just starting out, it’s still within your reach to achieve the winning results.
With a strong work ethic and some outside-of-the-box thinking, your chances will increase.
Or at least, having the right guidance will help you get there faster without having to burn as many resources.
That’s why in this guide, we’ll be going over the advantages and value that an SEO (search engine optimization) consultant brings to the table. You’ll also learn how to determine whether or not they’re a good fit and if they’re the right person for you.
The competitive advantages of working with an SEO consultant
There are 5 main advantages of having an SEO consultant on the digital marketing team. Their knowledge and experience can give you the ability to scale your business at a faster rate.
Higher rankings on search engines
An SEO consultant can increase your rankings in search results.
Search engines such as Google are one of the best places to find information. By being on the first page of the search engine results page (SERP), this is how you’ll get in front of your target audience.
Every day, people are typing in queries related to your product or service offering.
Your website and online content collectively play a part in being the resource they go to for answers.
Whether they’re gathering information or comparing the best products, it’s important that they come across your brand during the search journey before making a purchase. Otherwise, it’s another potential customer you’re missing out on.
Set your business up for long-term success
When looking at the bigger picture, you’re positioning yourself as an industry leader.
Since you’re building a reputation for something specific, you’re more likely to foster a community that will go to you when they have a query that’s related to your field of expertise.
The advantage of this is that you’re not only going to get more traffic to your website. But, you’ll have a wider reach to more qualified audiences. Over time, these groups of people will grow. It’s what gives you leverage to compete with the other brands that are trying to get in front of your consumers.
Drive organic growth
Unlike pay-per-click advertising (PPC), an SEO strategy is effective for driving organic growth.
Building your business organically means growing naturally. This is more inexpensive than a paid ads strategy and it makes it easier to control and maintain your startup company.
In other words, it’s more sustainable.
One of the only downsides is that it can take months before you start to see major results as opposed to using Google ads. However, the rewards are bigger in the long-term. Once you’ve earned your spot, you’ll reap the benefits on a continuous basis.
For example, you spend time optimising your website for local SEO and now you’ve achieved a position on the results page.
As shown above, the searcher may type into Google “cafes in London”.
If you’re a small business located near the area, there’s a good chance you’ll attract local customers. With a stronger online presence like this, it can result in more organic leads coming in through the front door.
Stay ahead of algorithm updates
After a Google algorithm update, it’s common for online businesses to see a positive or negative effect.
For example, some may thrive and start to amass more organic traffic and leads through their website. On the other hand, others may notice a plunge in monthly website traffic and they may see a drastic decrease or loss in rankings on the SERP.
In another category, the effects could be neutral. Meaning, they haven’t made any gains or losses.
It’s difficult to diagnose all the reasons why it happens because there are multiple possibilities.
With the expertise of an SEO specialist, they’ll help you avoid volatility by staying ahead of the curve and following the best practices. They’ll also keep you updated with relevant industry trends that you should be aware of.
Improve the overall performance of your business
Another underrated advantage is that they can improve the overall performance of your business. Besides being an expert in SEO, they’re skilled researchers and knowledgeable about marketing in general.
Using the information and data that they share, it gives insight into the other areas that could be improved.
Having access to that input is a competitive advantage. With a third-party point of view, you’re also more likely to get new insights. For instance, you may get a fresh perspective on the pain points of your audience, the problems your product or service solves, and more.
One example of how they could improve the performance of your business is by implementing schema markup to improve your click-through rates.
Rezi is a startup company that has scaled at an impressive rate.
In the search results, you’ll notice the star rating included underneath the meta description. This visual element enables them to stand out from the crowd while also implying the quality of their solution.
4 key areas where an SEO consultant can help
Now, you know some of the main reasons why an SEO consultant is valuable.
The next question is, how do they help you achieve those outcomes?
Getting results in SEO is not about completing one big task. It’s more about doing and managing all the little things effectively.
With that in mind, there are 4 key areas to focus on.
Technical SEO refers to the technical aspects of your website that could be optimised for the search engines to improve your rankings.
They may use tools such as Screamingfrog to perform a site audit and identify areas of your site that could be fixed or improved. After making the recommended changes, it helps search engines crawl and index your website so that it can be found on the results page.
A few examples of technical SEO tasks include:
- Improving website speed
- Optimising for mobile
- Adding structured data to web pages
- Building an XML sitemap
On-page SEO is the process of optimising your web content pages for both your users and the search engines.
This enables the Google crawlers to better understand what your website is about and how it meets the needs of your users. So, when someone is entering a query and your content satisfies that search intent, you’ll rank for the relevant keywords.
In order to help the search engines process and index your web pages, it’s good practice to complete an on-page SEO checklist.
- Include keywords naturally
- Create quality content
- Have short URLs
- Link building to other relevant pages
Off-page SEO is how you boost your positions by carrying out external tasks outside of your website.
A huge part of SEO includes backlinks, which fall under the category of off-page SEO. This is the process of getting other websites to link to your website. As a result, it increases your domain authority and rankings on the SERP.
Since this is a direct ranking factor to Google’s algorithm, it’s crucial to implement a strategy that covers this effectively.
- Content distribution based on keyword research and an overall social media marketing strategy
- Guest blogging
- Posting on relevant communities and forums
However, never pay for links or accept shady offers. It’s bad practice and falls under black-hat SEO, which can result in a penalty.
A content strategy includes all the topics you’re going to cover on your website. This way, you increase the chances of showing up for those terms on the search results.
More importantly, it ensures you’re getting in front of your audience by creating content based on what they’re actually searching for. Over time, you’re building thought-leadership and credibility in the industry.
When it comes to analysing the data, there are three important metrics to consider:
- Search volume
- Keyword difficulty
To develop a custom strategy, the specialist may request access to some of your tools and resources such as Google search console. Using those analytics, they can find keyword opportunities and gaps in the market.
How to find the best SEO consultant to scale your startup company
1. Start from your network
If you’re able to get referrals from people you know, there’s a chance you’ll find someone that’s a good fit since there’s a level of mutual understanding.
Start by tapping into your network to find connections who have had a positive experience working with an SEO consultant. Find the people who have had a successful collaboration and shortlist them as potential experts to work with.
2. Review their track record
As there are numerous factors to consider in SEO, they can’t guarantee #1 rankings.
But, it’s important to review their track record and previous performance to see what they’ve been capable of achieving.
Look for case studies or portfolios on their website, how they approach their work, and how they work with their clients. It shows a lot more about them when you let their work history and results speak for themselves.
3. Ensure that they have expertise in your industry
It’s advantageous when you’re working with someone who has expertise in your industry and can offer new insights.
Even though the SEO concepts stay the same, every industry and market is different. Plus, not all audiences are the same. If they’re a subject matter expert who’s experienced in your niche, they’ll have a strong idea of what works and what doesn’t.
4. Check the reviews and testimonials
Dig into some more research online via their website and social media to find out what people say about them.
- Do they have positive reviews?
- What was the biggest problem they helped their previous clients solve?
You can also look into where the testimonials and reviews come from. For instance, it’s a good sign if the organisations that they’ve partnered with have a similar context, i.e. you share common problems and goals that you’re looking to overcome or achieve.
Alternatively, you could get in touch with them to get more details about their experience working together.
5. Ask questions to determine if they’re a good fit
The last step is to reach out to schedule a short call where you ask them questions to determine if they’re a good fit. Use this opportunity to understand their framework and the way they operate.
You may ask questions such as:
- How much experience do you have in this industry?
- What actions will you take to improve our search engine rankings?
- When can we expect to see results?
A common mistake when hiring an SEO consultant
A common mistake when hiring an SEO expert is choosing based on price. If SEO was easy, everyone would be good at it. But it doesn’t work like that – it’s not as straightforward as it may seem.
Therefore, it’s important to select an expert that fits your budget and one you can stick with.
After all, SEO can take months before seeing any significant result. It’s going to be more costly if you’re looking for someone new all the time than if you were to hire the right person from the start.
SEO consulting specialists based in the UK
Passionfruit connects startup companies with verified marketing specialists, including SEO services. They’re based in the UK but have full flexibility to meet your needs.
While there are multiple aspects to take into account when it comes to SEO, the right specialist will close the gap and help you get in front of your potential customers. Despite it being a complex project, their expertise simplifies the entire process.
Sign up for free to find your SEO specialist within 72 hours!
The strategic value of an SEO consultant for startups
Since content marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO) is one of the most profitable channels, it’s not surprising why so many brands are making it a core element of their marketing strategy.
However, Google is a volatile place that requires consistent maintenance. It’s not as simple as going from point A to point B in online marketing.
That’s where the value of a skilled SEO consultant comes into play.
Astley Cervania is a freelance writer and content marketer. He works with HR Tech and B2B SaaS companies to scale user growth. You can find him online via his website or LinkedIn.