Search engine optimization is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies available. Some people will argue that it offers the best ROI when compared to other marketing strategies, whether digital or otherwise.
As good a prospect as this is, one problem many businesses are finding difficult to tackle is deciding between an in-house SEO team or using an SEO consultant.
In this article, we will be helping small businesses demystify this dilemma. How can an SEO consultant help a small or local business? Is DIY a better option?
Read along as we break down how SEO consultants can help small or local businesses, their advantages and disadvantages, and tools to help you scale your SEO efforts.
What Is An SEO Consultant?
Generally, a consultant is a person or an expert in any field that is paid to give advice or implement ideas for businesses or individuals. An SEO consultant is no different. An SEO consultant is an SEO expert or professional who is paid by businesses or site owners to advise on how to get higher rankings, more targeted traffic, and ultimately more profit from the said websites.
Why Are SEO Consulting Services Important?
SEO consulting services can do a lot to improve rankings for your website. They can help you choose the right keywords, optimize your website’s content and structure, and generate backlinks to increase your website authority.
SEO consulting services do the heavy lifting for you, allowing you less on SEO and more on delivering on your business promises.
Does SEO Work For Small Businesses?
The simple answer to this question is Yes. SEO will work for a business as long as that business looks to sell to people. The internet today, especially search engines, is the go-to place for all kinds of information on which decisions are made.
Furthermore, with mobile phones being more prevalent today, more people are making decisions on the go. For instance, a local restaurant can reach tourists who are visiting the area for the first time, and locals looking for the kind of menu they offer using Google my business. With google my business, locals can locate your business on the map or call you directly from their mobile phones.
The Benefits of SEO Consultant For Small And Local Businesses
SEO can be a very demanding venture. Small and local businesses are characterized by limited manpower, which may mean not enough hands on deck for SEO. SEO is critical for small businesses as it helps you generate organic traffic without spending money on advertisements in SERPs or other channels
When your site shows up in search rankings, you become competitive and drive more traffic, which, in turn, helps you generate engagement, make sales, and build a customer base.
An SEO consultant can help small and local businesses do the SEO heavy lifting while the business owners focus their energies on other parts of the business. SEO is critical for small businesses as it helps you generate organic traffic without spending money on advertisements in SERPs or other channels.
When your site shows up in search rankings, you become competitive and drive more traffic, which, in turn, helps you generate engagement and make sales.
Other benefits of an SEO consultant for small businesses include:
They Come With Proven Tactics And Results
SEO is not a black-and-white endeavor. It usually involves a lot of testing. SEO consultants come with lots of experience and proven tactics and are ready to hit the ground running from day one.
Easy Access To Premium Tools
SEO is not cheap as many people would like to think. It requires lots of tools, many of which do not come cheap. The cost of paying for these tools might prove to be one burden too many for small businesses. Hence, it’s a no-brainer to employ the services of an SEO consultant who has all these tools in their arsenal.
SEO Requires Teamwork
SEO is not a one-man show. It requires a lot of collaboration from people who are talented in different aspects. For instance, a comprehensive SEO strategy would require a thorough and clean website layout, well-articulated content, keyword research, competitor analysis, etc.
All these might prove too overwhelming for one person, and it would be expensive to hire experts in these different fields to achieve the desired results. An SEO consultant provides a team at no extra cost and allows small businesses to only bother about the retainer and nothing more.
SEO consultants Can Help You Develop An Overall Internet Marketing Strategy
SEO is just one part of internet marketing. An SEO consulting service can help you develop an overall internet marketing strategy that includes SEO, social media, content marketing, and more.
Disadvantages Of Doing SEO Yourself
Every advantage you get from employing an SEO consultant can quickly turn into a disadvantage the moment you decide to do it yourself.
Some small business owners employ an in-house SEO executive, which some people would argue not be a bad idea. Whatever the case may be, the following are the disadvantages of doing SEO yourself or in-house.
Mistakes Can Be Too Costly: Small businesses are prone to making mistakes when they do SEO by themselves. SEO mistakes can be very costly as it takes time for corrections to be properly crawled, which may cost the business a lot of money or even cost the business itself.
SEO entails a lot of very strict rules which come with severe penalties at times. Google and other search engines are very sensitive with the information they expose their users and may blacklist erring websites. A blacklisted website might take a lot to be whitelisted and in some cases, never.
It Can Be Very Expensive: Small businesses may not be able to afford the costs that come with SEO. SEO tools as earlier mentioned are very important to the success of any SEO campaign. Paying for several SEO tools while also paying the salary(ies) of an in-house team may overburden a small business.
SEO Tips To Improve Your Small Business
Research Your Keywords
Keyword research is very critical to the success of any SEO campaign. Keywords are those words your audience uses when searching for services like the one you render. You want to be sure that you are speaking their language.
Two important factors to consider when researching keywords as a small business are Keyword volume, keyword competition, keyword intent, and keyword relevance. Some free tools you can use for this include, Google Keyword Planner, Google trends, answer the public, etc.
Learn The Importance of Keyword Density
Keyword density is the number of times a specific keyword is used on a page of content. It is usually expressed in a percentage of the total number of words on a page. While it is good to include your targeted keyword on the pages of your website, it is important to be careful not to over-optimize.
Over-optimization occurs when you stuff your targeted keyword (keyword stuffing) on your web pages all in a bid to rank for the desired keyword. Keywords should be used responsibly and in a way that does not adversely affect the overall message intended.
Learn About Your Competitors
One thing you need to know about SEO is that it is a very competitive venture. There are only ten slots available on the first page of Google’s search results pages much like other search engines.
This is because there are other businesses like you who are also looking to reach the audience you’re targeting. Therefore, you need to learn about your topmost-ranking competitors to understand what they’re doing and try to do better than them. Examples of tools you can use for this are semrush, ahrefs, etc.
Optimize Your On-Page SEO
One very important aspect of SEO is on-page SEO. On-page SEO refers to all the activities you carry out on your website to improve your ranking on search engines. It’s an overarching name for the combination of technical and content SEO that revolves around optimizing individual pages.
This practice includes content, but also meta-tags, titles, links and anchor text, and more.
You have to strategize about how all those elements work together– and how to make sure they work for people as well as search engines.
Ahrefs is an SEO software suite that contains tools for link building, keyword research, competitor analysis, rank tracking, and site audits. Most of the features inside Ahrefs are designed for marketing professionals.
In short: Ahrefs is an SEO tool designed to help people get higher Google rankings.
Ahrefs is mainly used to analyze a website’s link profile, keyword rankings, and SEO health. You can also use Ahrefs to conduct keyword research for Google, YouTube, and Amazon.
Answer The Public
Answer the public is a tool that searches the internet for the most asked questions about any given topic. It is an easy way to find out what people are asking about a topic you’re interested in.
“Answer The Public” visualizes the search question and suggests autocomplete searches in an image called a search cloud. Categories consist of the 5 Ws, plus ‘how’, ‘can’, ‘are’, ‘which’, and ‘will’.
Google Analytics is a web analytics tool that every serious website owner should have. It allows you to track a vast range of data concerning your site performance, traffic, and even user behavior. It’s a free tool that has the power to transform your online marketing strategy.
You only need a Google account to get started. This is an amazing tool that has many functions, but basically, it gives you a quick and easy way of finding out all the vital metrics regarding your website, such as how many visitors you received over a certain period, how many of those people were unique visitors, and even their geographical distribution.
Rank Math is an SEO plugin that helps you optimize your website.
It does this by analyzing your website and providing recommendations on
how to improve your site’s SEO. Rankmath also helps you easily customize important SEO settings, control which pages are indexable, and how you want your website to appear in search with structured data.
GTmetrix is a website benchmarking. The GTmetrix tool allows users to easily learn how quickly their site is or isn’t performing, where it’s doing well, and where it’s not. With GTmetrix report, you can learn more about the performance of your site through new tabs, visualizations, graphs, and deeper insights. These insights will help you make informed SEO decisions.
SEO is a fast-paced, high-stakes game that brands are forced to engage in if they want to compete in the digital age. While many are tempted to tackle this on their own, there are plenty of reasons why reaching out to an SEO consultant/agency and getting their help may make sense for you.
QCKBOT can be your remote SEO team, getting you the results your business needs. Reach out to us for a free website audit today for insights on how you can stay ahead of the competition.