Top 5 things to look for in an SEO Expert for your Business
SEO, the bane of many a web entrepreneur. What to do? Where to start? Many online businesses, yours included, struggle with search engine optimization (SEO) on a daily basis. But that needn’t be the case for you because, between you and me, SEO is a piece of cake if you know what you’re doing.
But if you don’t have the time (and we all know time is money), you can always hire an SEO expert to lighten the load. The main aim of this post is to help you choose the right SEO expert for your beloved website.
If you choose the wrong SEO guy, your website, hence business, will sink into oblivion. But get the right guy and your rankings (as well as your website) will soar high like eagles on steroids. If you’re ready (and I hope you’re), let us get down to business because there’s a lot to discuss.
Please don’t leave without sharing your thoughts in the comment section at the end. We always look forward to your valued contribution.
5 Things Your SEO Expert Must Have
SEO is all about driving relevant traffic from search engines (such as Google) to your website. It is an important part of the online marketing your website dearly needs. Or according to Maryville University:
“Marketing is a must-have for any organization. In fact, marketing-related skills have ranked among LinkedIn’s top 10 in-demand skills for three years running. Companies big and small are looking for highly motivated professionals to create, manage, and analyze marketing plans, and that need is only likely to grow in the digital age.”
In other words, SEO is here to stay.
With the outgoing quote enters education, obviously. You most definitely need an SEO expert who has learned the ropes, as opposed to every Tom, Dick and Harry who comes your way claiming they know everything there is to know about SEO.
Your SEO expert needs to be well versed in all things SEO. For instance, if they don’t know SEO is a continuously evolving process, kick that guy to the curb. In addition, if they aren’t aware SEO is a three-pronged process, again, kick the guy to the curb.
Three pronged? Yes. SEO goes beyond what many self-proclaimed SEO gurus tell you. Here is a tiny list to give you a better idea. There is…
- On-page SEO, which involves optimizing the content on your website (say editing your titles, creating high-quality content and using relevant keywords).
- Off-page SEO, which involves all SEO-related activities you do on third party websites (such as link building on relevant and high-quality websites).
- Technical (or structural) SEO, which involves optimizing the underlying code of your website such that search engines can find and index your content easily.
If the SEO “expert” you choose doesn’t know these three approaches, fire that guy immediately and I mean it. Don’t pay any retainers or you shall lose money.
If the SEO expert you choose can’t differentiate between black-hat and white-hat SEO, show that SEO imposter the door. Don’t even think about it, just do it, and don’t pay a cent.
And that is mostly because there are plenty of online SEO courses. To begin with, there is a comprehensive SEO starter guide by the good guys at Google, and with the search engine dominating the web search market, you definitely want to hear what these guys have to say.
2- SEO Experience
They say experience is the best teacher, and I agree 100%. Without relevant experience, nobody should promise you a #1 ranking on Google or any other search engine. We have seen the SEO landscape morph over time, and if we were to use the same tactics we used five years ago, we would fail miserably. We know this from years of experience.
An inexperienced SEO expert wouldn’t know any better. Most of the time, the guy (or girl just to be gender sensitive ☺ ) just wants your money. They aren’t interested in scoring you better rankings; they just want your hard-earned money!
Be wary of SEO experts who guarantee you better SEO rankings. Or the other clique who send you solicitation emails out of the blues. I’m talking about junk such as:
“Hey SEO Company,
I visited your website and noticed that you are not listed in most of the major search engines and directories…”
You probably receive such emails on the regular but don’t fall for the trick. They are – for lack of a better word – scammers. If they were as good as they claim, why couldn’t you find them in Google when you were looking for “SEO experts” or any other relevant keywords?
A better question is: Why shouldn’t anybody guarantee you better rankings in Google? Well, the most obvious answer is: SEO is a volatile environment and the constant algorithm updates by search engines don’t make things any better.
Another reason would be, SEO is doable and there are tried and tested principles that work, and you can rank your website on your own if you put in the effort, and do things right. If only you had the time to master SEO.
Run away from inexperienced SEO “scammers” who will probably anger search engines and ruin your chances of ever ranking well. Don’t fall for the “We are an SEO agency” story, because you can also slap together a website overnight and say “We are an SEO agency.”
An experienced SEO expert has a solid portfolio of all the websites they’ve pushed to position number one in Google and other search engines. If a portfolio doesn’t exist, they are scamming you. If it is a legitimate business (but new in the market), they should prove their SEO chops by ranking their website first.
3- A Track Record of SEO Success
If I were looking for an SEO expert, I would want to make sure they know what they are doing. Obviously, every SEO expert you ask will answer, “Yes, I know what I’m doing.” How can you ensure you will get great value for your money?
It is so simple, you just might feel dumb. Just check out their previous clients. Get at least three references from their previous SEO clients. If you get great recommendations, you’re safe. If the references stink, run for your dear life.
Or, how can I promise you SEO success, and I have failed to rank many others? That would be a lie now, wouldn’t it be? If the SEO expert is successful, you know you have your golden goose. Ask for a track record of SEO success, and if they can’t provide the same, close your wallet and get an alternative.
Getting your website on the first page of the search engines doesn’t mean a thing if you can’t convert the traffic you generate. The overall goal of every website is to drive sales, or what we call conversions. Whether you want visitors to subscribe, call or buy your merch, that’s a conversion.
I reiterate, if your SEO expert just wants you to get on the first page of search engines, without a focus on conversions, you’re being shortchanged. Getting on the first page of Google is easy stuff, but what is the value of the traffic you generate?
If you send a million visitors to your website and all of them come to your website from black-hat SEO techniques (say, your SEO expert hides links in nasty websites), you are doing nada.
Your SEO expert is wasting your campaign funds and time, and they need to be shown the door. So, next time you need an SEO expert, ask them a question or two about how they plan to boost your conversion rate. If they can’t answer, turn, run for the door and never look back.
This is why it is important for your SEO expert to have relevant content marketing and branding skills. They should be able to align your traffic generation efforts with your overall business goals.
5- SEO Tools and Techniques
SEO would be impossible if the powers that be (read Google and other search engines) didn’t offer us the myriad SEO tools and techniques we love and use to this day. For example, how would you carry out keyword research without a tool such as Google Keyword Planner? You’d run about like a headless chicken for sure.
An SEO expert worth their salt knows the right tools for the job. If you’re a beginner or don’t have the time, you probably don’t care about SEO tools and techniques. But we urge you to be proactive because the SEO expert you choose will be spending your money. You call the shorts, so be vigilant.
The right SEO expert for you knows (and have) all the tools needed to rank your website highly. Most SEO tools are free, but there are premium versions. If you fall in the hands of the unscrupulous type, you will end up losing money.
Tools such as Google Analytics, Google AdWords, SEMRush, LSIGraph, Ahrefs and Moz are invaluable to any SEO expert. If your SEO guy has never heard of these tools among others, you’re in for trouble.
On top of tools, the SEO expert you eventually choose must know all the latest SEO techniques because Google is serious about quality. There are many recommended white-hat SEO techniques, and your expert needs to abide by said techniques. Step a bit out of line and Google won’t hesitate to hang you out to dry.
Finding the right SEO expert for your website is easy work provided you know what to look for. We sincerely hope this post points you in the right direction as far as choosing the perfect SEO expert for your website goes.
Did we forget your favorite tip? Do you have any questions or suggestions? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section. All the best as you try to rank your website on the first page of Google and other search engines.