I am pleased with this question as this CEO should consider a few important points. Let me make a few suggestions.
Hiring an SEO professional to bring your website closer to your potential customers is a smart investment for a small business. Hiring an SEO professional can be a challenge for owners, especially those with no digital marketing experience. Before interviewing potential SEO specialists, do some homework to get a basic understanding of SEO so that you can ask the right questions and hire the right expert for your business.
A website is an important sales and marketing tool for almost any business. It’s a hub for product information, a conversion point for capturing leads, the repository for marketing collateral and company news, and often serves as your prospect’s first impression of your company.
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However, before a prospect can interact with your website, they must first find your website. This discoverability is the culmination of a strong SEO or search engine optimization strategy and behind the scenes SEO expert.
Most business owners are beginners in digital marketing, which makes it difficult to know what you are really buying when you hire an SEO expert.
If you are like most business owners you understand the role of a high level SEO professional but you are not as familiar with the full scope of the tasks or the time required. This makes it much more difficult to securely hire the right SEO expert, and forces the owners to take these professionals at their word.
Before hiring an SEO professional, make sure you have a basic understanding of what it takes to properly optimize a website and what to expect from a reputable professional.
Google values quality content: expect you to create a lot of it. An effective SEO strategy is based on good, quality content. When you hire an SEO professional, expect a lot of discussions about blogging or creating new web pages for your website and adding that new content on a regular basis.
The key here is “quality” content. If an SEO professional suggests adding pages or blogs to your website that aren’t helping your customers in any way, repeating content already on the website, or just written to include keywords, you can do more harm than good to your website’s search Precedence. Google wants to see content that is helpful to the visitor and will reward quality content with higher search rankings.
Learn about the importance of web content and blogging to SEO, as well as the other benefits, by reading this SCORE article, “10 Reasons to Have an Active Business Blog”.
Optimizing a website is as much an art as a science. No two websites are alike, and neither are their SEO strategies. When working with an SEO professional, you should work closely with them as they are constantly reviewing which part of the SEO strategy is proving to be the most effective. Your SEO consultant will likely be doing tests on keywords and not every aspect of the strategy will always work. Optimizing your website with the right keywords, text links, heading structures, and all of the SEO elements that contribute to a high-ranking Google search result is an informed game of trial and error. Once your SEO consultant finds the right approach to SEO, your traffic and conversion results should speak for themselves.
SEO is a long-term commitment: an SEO professional who promises to get your website to the top of Google’s rankings within a few months is showing a big red flag. Optimizing your website effectively takes time and effort. Google prioritizes websites that have proven valuable to web visitors over a period of time. Trying to cheat the system and get a high rank without putting in the work is not the way the game is played.
Unfortunately, there will always be an “expert” in every trade who tries to make compromises and at the same time to promise the world. When it comes to SEO, it is best to do your research and gain a rudimentary understanding of SEO so that you can ask the right questions when you sit down one on one with a potential SEO consultant.
Invest in an SEO professional who wants to get to know your company and customers and work with you to build your online presence and your entire business. Avoid self-appointed experts who promise a silver bullet.
Before hiring an SEO professional, ask your co-workers, co-workers, and mentors whom they trust to manage their website’s SEO. This is the best place to start your search. A trusted business owner or mentor who has worked directly with web and SEO companies in the past, such as a SCORE mentor, can help you find a professional SEO expert to grow your business.
Dean Swanson is a volunteer certified SCORE mentor and past chairman of the SCORE chapter, district director and regional vice president for the Northwest Region.