Every person that runs a website shares one thing in common with everybody else – a desire to attract visitors. Regardless of whether you run a small personal blog or a deep e-commerce site, that common goal of getting your webpage seen by as many people as possible exists within all of us.
The best way of driving traffic to your website is to make your page visible on search engines. Almost every internet user on the planet relies on the likes of Google to find what they are looking for online, and by your site appearing at the top of the search results in its niche, you are putting yourself in a prime position to generate visitors and stay ahead of the competition. Getting to the coveted number one spot on Google is not something that simply happens, it is something that must be earned, and this is done through search engine optimisation (SEO).
SEO involves using various different techniques and methods to improve your website and make it more attractive to search engines, which will rank it accordingly. While it is possible to implement SEO yourself by producing great content, to really see your site soaring in the rankings takes the help of SEO consultants – the men and women who specialise in this line of work and know exactly how Google’s search algorithms index websites.
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Search engine position being given such importance in the success of a website has seen a significant rise in the number of SEO consultants on the market – some of which are far better than others. To ensure you are not wasting your money when hiring an SEO expert, here’s what you should expect from a consultant.
The first thing you should expect from an SEO consultant is a one-one-one consultation. Every website is different and every website owner has ideas and goals they wish to achieve. If an SEO is not willing to sit down and chat with you about the future of your site, how are they going to be able to provide you with a service that is tailored to your needs? A consultation will help you, and the experts, create a strategy that will really benefit your website in the search rankings.
No false promises
If an SEO consultant promises instant results, you should start looking to take your business elsewhere. Search engine optimisation is slow and on-going process; results cannot be achieved overnight – at least not ethically anyway! If a company can get your website to the top of the Google rankings in a short period of time, the chances are that they using black hat (unethical SEO) techniques. This will damage your site in the long term and could even see your website banned from Google altogether.
Once you have found an SEO practitioner that is reputable, you should expect a few things for your money in terms of the optimisation service. The first of these is keyword research. The consulting company should develop a list of keywords for suggested use; this list will come from targeted research on what words are used to find your company, products or service, and those of your competitors. Your consultant should include “long tail” phrases alongside competitive ones and offer diversity.
The keywords that have been gathered will need to be blended into the content of your website without looking forced or “spammy.” Quality, relevant content is not only something you should expect, it is what you should demand. Content is the single biggest ranking factor of a website and Google is very strict on what it deems to be quality. The work will need to be optimised for search engines and inclusive of targeted keywords; but more importantly, it will to be informative and interesting to users. Content is also an important part of link building, and will need to be well written and researched both on and off-page.
High quality link building
With many major Google search algorithm updates having been introduced over the past couple of years a number of link building techniques have taken a hit, but when done correctly links can still be very valuable to SEO. A good SEO consultant will encourage links from highly ranked blogs, forums, and directories, and will create quality guest posts and social media accounts to build your presence and enhance your reputation online.
While boosting a search engine ranking is done to increase the amount of traffic to your site, it is important that an SEO consultant focus on users that find the content of your website interesting and relevant. Targeted traffic is looked upon in a positive light by search engines, whereas visitors with little interest in what you have to offer will only serve to increase your bounce rate and damage your ranking.
General site analysis
An SEO consultant must perform a general analysis of your website. This will include optimising HTML with the use of keywords, making necessary changes to Meta tag titles and descriptions, and researching the status of your website within the search engines, making sure that all pages are indexed.
Some of the pages on your website may need tweaking or redesigning in order increase their relevance on search engines. Some SEO consultants will offer a web design service to carry out the necessary changes, but even those that do not should be expected to suggest ways that a site can be altered.
From this list of things to expect, it is clear that an SEO consultant should provide you with a thorough, well planned, and effective marketing campaign to help your website feature prominently in the search engine rankings. Before signing any contract with an SEO company, it may be worth showing them this list to make sure they can live up to your expectations!