What Is The Best Process Of Hiring An SEO Consultant Or Firm

What Is The Best Process Of Hiring An SEO Consultant Or Firm

Hiring An SEO Consultant

Every month we bookmark and save all of the SEO and content marketing articles that we want to read and provide valuable advice. Here are the best articles from anywhere over the last month: 

Google has added a new video to their do you need an SEO help document page. The 11-plus-minute video walks people through the process of hiring an SEO consultant or firm. It tells them what to look for, what questions to ask, what some of the red flags are and more.

Maile Ohye from Google is the face of the video, and she does a very good job clearly documenting the main points one should look at during this process. She outlines the SEO hiring process in these three steps:

  • Conduct a two-way interview with your potential SEO. Check that they seem genuinely interested in you and your business.
  • Check their references.
  • Ask for a technical and search audit.

Here is the video:

Everyone wants to get a high click-through-rate and a good spot in Google's search algorithm. But, when it is generally accepted in the industry that Google uses approximately 200 ranking factors to rank websites -- and some of these are proven, some are controversial and some are purely nerd-based conjecture -- it can be hard to know which factors to focus on when it comes to your search engine optimization (SEO). 

So, what is most important to Google?

"It is content," said Google Search Quality Senior Strategist Andrey Lipattsev. "And, it's links pointing to your site.”

SEO Strategy in 2017: What's Most Important?

Imagine a scenario: a client asks what they should do to improve their organic rankings. After a diligent tech audit, market analysis, and a conversion funnel review, you have to deliver some tough recommendations:

“You have to redesign your site architecture,” or

“You have to migrate your site altogether,” or even

“You have to rethink your business model because currently, you are not providing any significant value.”

This can happen when SEO is only seriously considered after the site and business are up and running. As a marketing grad, I can tell you that SEO has not been on my syllabus amongst other classic components of the marketing mix. It’s not hard to imagine even mentored and supported businesses overlooking this area.

This post aims to highlight areas that need to be addressed along with your SWOT analysis and pricing models — the areas before you design and build your digital ‘place’:

Strategic SEO Decisions to Make Before Website Design and Build

SEO Consultant

The growth of content marketing has created a permanent shift in the way marketers view SEO. Rather than taking a purely technical approach to link-building, many SEO agencies are now expanding their services to include content production and promotion as a way of supplementing other ongoing optimization efforts.

Content certainly hasn’t replaced SEO, especially since there are several technical SEO elements separate from content marketing. Content marketing also has very different goals from search optimization. While SEO primarily attempts to improve visibility and acquire new customers, content marketing covers a multitude of goals, including new acquisitions, customer service, lead nurturing, PR, social engagement boosts and more.

How to Get Your SEO and Content Teams to 'Play Nice' Together

When developing a content strategy, one of your goals might be to improve SEO and get your brand in front of target audiences.

We’re here to challenge that.

As Brafton’s Director of Content Marketing Colin Campbell said: “Saying content is for SEO is like saying food is for chewing.”

Let’s break that down. A part of eating food is chewing it, but it’s not the end goal, right? The end goal is nourishing your body, and, well, staying alive. For content marketing, blogs, videos, graphics and the like are aiming to improve SEO and increase brand awareness. But that’s not, or should not be the ultimate intention. The main target of your content is to boost your customer base and revenue.

For companies and marketers aiming only to enhance their SEO, the focus should move away from making SEO the ultimate goal. It should instead shift to using content to reach the ideal business outcome of increasing profit and turning leads into customers.

SEO is an activity, not an outcome

Much like chewing, SEO is an activity that marketers partake in, but overall, it shouldn’t be your end goal.

SEO Consultant

Colin explained that many companies, and often the SEO partners they work with, put too much emphasis on the technical SEO aspects. They look at SEO as the strongest selling point of a content strategy.

“We tend to talk about SEO as if it is a ‘money in, rankings out’ situation, and it isn’t,” he said.

Being too far removed from a company’s balance sheet and cash flow has made SEO more a part of the process of improving ROI rather than a step that automatically translates into monetary gain. It’s for this reason that marketers need to instead turn their attention to creating content that demonstrates value and brings in more business.

Content Is For SEO Like Food Is For Chewing

Did you know that 80 percent of all web traffic begins with a search engine? Stunning, isn’t it? It’s why investing in SEO is an absolute must for any website owner.

Proper search engine optimization means improving your search ranking, which in turn means more traffic, conversions, and revenue. That’s also the reason why we already have a bunch of articles on SEO.

Doing basic SEO in WordPress is not very hard. Install one of the many excellent SEO plugins, fill out the search snippet meta box for every piece of content and you are most of the way there. However, to take your site to the next level might require some more advanced SEO tactics than that.

Below you will find a number of next-level techniques for search engine optimization that can help (significantly) increase your site traffic.

Sound good? Then let’s dive right in.

6 Advanced SEO Tactics That Will Seriously Increase Your Search Traffic

Anyone who has ever registered a domain name can tell you that there is no shortage of people out there willing to sell you search engine optimization services (SEO). While I fully endorse a business’s decision to work with an SEO consultant (full disclosure: I am one), there is quite a lot that you can do on your own to help your website rank better in Google.

If your budget isn’t quite there yet, or you would rather have more control over your website’s marketing, these seven do-it-yourself SEO tactics may help you. These tactics can also help you become a better SEO consultant if you already have a couple of clients.

7 DIY SEO Tactics for Companies Not Ready to Hire a Consultant

SEO Consultant

From mastering the basics of local SEO optimization to keeping tabs on Google’s ongoing algorithm changes, staying on top of SEO trends is enough to give any brand whiplash. Trust me. I've seen it. And it ain't pretty.

Sure, your company has covered the basics: you’ve claimed your Google listing for local search optimization, you’ve researched geo-specific keywords and you’ve optimized inbound anchor link text.

Don’t rest on your laurels just yet.

If your brand wants to be competitive with SEO in 2017, these are just the first steps. You’ll need to nail schema markup, optimize for user search intent, and ensure your website is as speedy as possible for mobile search. These three trends have already emerged as must-dos for SEO in 2017.

3 SEO Trends That Matter In 2017

SEO is a tactic that’s traditionally left for the marketing department to handle. However, as it becomes an increasingly critical strategy for promoting brand awareness and driving new business, it’s something every business development professional should understand.

Much like social media in 2008, SEO is on the verge of becoming one of the most important marketing tactics for many of today’s B2B businesses. While you may not be the one responsible for improving your brand’s SEO rankings, there are several important ways it impacts the work you do every day.

3 SEO facts every business development pro should know

One of the biggest mistakes people make with search engine optimization is assuming it will be an overnight transformation for their website. While it’s true that SEO can have a dramatic and long-lasting effect on your site, it’s also true that good SEO takes time, and that people who want to enjoy all the benefits SEO has to offer will do best to be patient and understand all the various factors that come into play in an efficient SEO strategy.

Why Does Good SEO Take Time?

The myth of “instant” SEO is one of the most damaging and pervasive on the web. While many sub-par SEO agencies promise rapid results or guaranteed front-page Google rankings, these organizations are making empty promises they can’t keep. No matter how good an SEO company or professional is, great SEO takes time, and there’s no way around that.

While many people don’t understand why this is true, it's because there are dozens of factors that have to come together to make SEO "work." Here are just a few of the things that come into play.

Why Great SEO Rankings Don't Happen Overnight

Video blogging, or “vlogging,” has become big business today. Video sharing website YouTube is driving vlogging’s explosive climb, with its mobile site reaching more 18-49-year-olds during primetime than any cable network in the United States.

That said, traditional blogging is still alive and kicking—it’s a multi-million-dollar industry. In fact, both big and small businesses are still relying heavily on blogs to get ranked high on search engines.

Video Blogging Is an Easy Addition to Any Content Marketing Strategy

Not sure if content marketing is right for your business? As one of the few marketing strategies with very little upfront cost and the potential for high ROI, I highly encourage you to rethink your stance.

Seth Godin famously said, “Content marketing is the only marketing left," and for good reason. Creating your own content provides your business with a variety of untapped opportunities to increase sales. Whether you publish a few blog posts a week, record a podcast, or film original video, any form of original content helps in turning information-seeking consumers into customers. Here are four reasons why...

4 Reasons Why Your Business Should Invest in Content Marketing

What's most important in the Digital Age — content marketing, data analytics or the customer experience? And where should you allocate your budget? This study reveals the answers.

Every year for the past seven years, Econsultancy and Adobe have fielded one of the biggest research studies in the world on the subject of digital marketing. This year’s study encompassed more than 14,000 marketing executives in a range of industries from around the world.

The Digital Trends report identifies the strategies sitting atop marketers’ list of priorities for the coming year, but also reveals some unexpected and even contradictory findings.

What Are The Top Digital Marketing Trends and Priorities

$118.4 billion will be spent on content marketing, video marketing, and social media so if you haven’t started your content marketing efforts, it’s time. Don’t believe me, use these 50 stats to help you sell it to your boss.

50 Awesome Content Marketing Stats

Have you ever noticed that some pages on your website tend to naturally attract links better than others? 

Did you ever try to find out why this happens, so that you could generate more of these “link magnets”?

In the world of SEO, we refer to these pages as “link bait”.

In this article, I’ll be covering:

  • What ‘linkbait’ actually is;
  • What makes a piece of ‘linkbait’ successful (hint: there are five main principles);
  • How to find great examples of ‘linkbait’ (and how to easily come up with your own ideas);
  • Our favorite pieces of ‘linkbait’ (plus unique insights from their creators about why they were so successful).

Let’s begin by tackling that definition.

Deconstructing Linkbait: How to Create Content That Attracts Backlinks

If you are like 20% of email users, Gmail is your email service of choice. If you use Gmail in the Google Chrome browser, the most popular web browser in the world, you have access to even more powerful tools to supercharge your productivity and email experience. Here are five Chrome plugins I use to level up my Gmail experience.

5 Chrome Plugins to Supercharge Your Gmail

Ecommerce can be a brutal space.

Depending on your niche, you might be competing against monsters like Amazon, Target, New Egg, or other well-established players. You might be competing against all of them. It can seem like it’s impossible to win.

Even if you have a great product or a fantastic brand, you don’t have the budget or the name recognition to muscle out these giant retailers.

As an eCommerce store owner, you probably feel that pain every day.

But one secret weapon that many eCommerce retailers are using to win the David vs Goliath battle is content marketing. It’s an extremely effective way to carve out a niche and build a following of loyal customers.

Done well, it can turn your struggling store into an online powerhouse.

7 eCommerce Companies Taking On Amazon

In January, Small Business Trends released the results of a survey of over 2,600 small-business owners, revealing that 62 percent of them believe Facebook ads are ineffective. With complaints of little-to-no ROI, these entrepreneurs say they will not use Facebook advertising again. Some experts, however, challenge this viewpoint, saying that properly targeted Facebook ads do indeed provide results.

"When businesses don't see the results they hope for, it's usually because they haven't done enough testing on their ad copy, visuals, and the ideal combination of information to target the right audience," says Vitruvian Digital Advertising founder Kristie McDonald.

Jeanine Blackwell, Founder of The Launch Lab, agrees, saying that marketers aren't asking themselves the right questions to determine an effective target market for their ad campaigns. "The problem is that most advertisers only use the simplest of criteria to let Facebook know who they want to see their ads, such as gender, age, and income," says Blackwell. "When you couple this information with more insights on the behaviors and unique interests of your audience, you can deliver your ads only to people likely to be interested in what you offer."

Both experts agree that a testing budget as small as $5 or $10 a day, focusing on different mixes, can tell you what you need to know before you begin to invest larger amounts in your campaign.

McDonald suggests that, instead of combining your demographics with every interest and behavior you can think of, you set the criteria for only one or two interests and behaviors at a time.

"Combining too many interests, demographics, and behaviors won't tell you what's actually working for you," she says. "You will spend a lot of money on audiences that are not a good match for your offer."

62 Percent of Small Business Owners Say Facebook Ads Don't Work

The importance of SEO has been a point of debate for years. Half the internet believes SEO is dead, while the other half feels it’s necessary. But do we overlook it? There is plenty of information available online to manipulate the rankings in one way or another, but one factor is constant: SEO’s usage is on an ever-increasing rise. The popularity is immense.

People use the internet and enter millions of keywords daily. If you know how websites operate, you may be able to understand the rich benefits of SEO. In the corporate environment today, competitiveness is key. Digital marketing experts know how important SEO is for businesses. Here are the seven most captivating reasons for your business to invest in SEO:

How Important Is SEO to the Success of Your Business?

Since yesterday morning, the SEO industry has been watching an unconfirmed Google ranking update that seems to target more of the link quality aspects of the overall algorithm.

Many are calling this the Fred Update, a name we’re also adopting. That came from Google’s Gary Illyes, who has jokingly suggested that all updates be named “Fred.” It’s sticking with this one.

We’ve seen more chatter and reports of changes from within the “black hat” SEO community, which generally means that this is a spam algorithm update around links. Last time we reported a link spam-related update was in early February, and that update also was unconfirmed by Google.

There was also a large content quality Google update on February 7 that was never confirmed. As you expect, Google is very unlikely to confirm algorithm updates these days — but that won’t stop us from reporting large shifts in the search results that convey an algorithm update has happened.

Many of the automated tracking tools currently show significant volatility and fluctuations, which is an indicator of an update. Plus, with all the industry chatter, and with webmasters both complaining about ranking declines and rejoicing about ranking increases, it’s likely that there was a Google update.

We are waiting to hear from Google if they have any comment. All we have right now are the typical Google lines from John Mueller and Gary Illyes that Google makes updates all the time.

New, unconfirmed Google ranking update ‘Fred’ shakes the SEO world

21st Renaissance SEO & Content Marketing

At 21st Renaissance, we help our clients with a range of SEO & online marketing needs.

We specialize in article research, article writing, content editing, content ideas, heading tags, images, keyword research, link building, long tail keywords, outbound links, SEO, social media, split testing, and everything your business needs for a targeted content marketing campaign.

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