We’ve said it before but it bears repeating – SEO isn’t just about keywords and backlinks. It’s a pretty complex system that involves several components, none of which can be treated as one-size-fits-all. When you hire an SEO expert, you’re hiring someone who understands that not only is every client different, but every campaign and every component of the client’s SEO strategy needs to be unique.
That said, there are a few key elements to any SEO strategy and one of the questions to ask an SEO company is, how they work with each of these elements.
1. Keyword Research
Yes, we started by saying it’s not all about keywords, but that doesn’t mean keywords aren’t a critical component of your SEO. If you’ve ever wondered, what does an SEO consultant do, this is step one – accurate, thorough and detailed research and understanding of the keywords your potential customers are using to find you. Wondering what keywords are? Really simply put, they are the search terms people type into Google and other search engines – people tend to think along certain lines, and when you hire an SEO expert, you’re hiring someone who knows how to analyze people’s thought patterns and find the right search terms.
Top tip: Make sure to ask if they use LSI keywords as well – these are keyword alternatives that search engines recognize as related to your original, primary keywords.
2. Link Building
One of the most important questions to ask an SEO company is, what techniques they use to create backlinks. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of the difference between white hat and black hat SEO techniques and steer clear of any SEO for hire that uses black hat methods – they are the fastest way to get your website relegated to search engine purgatory and no amount of clever keyword manipulation will drag you out.
3. Content Marketing
Content marketing is one of the biggest buzzwords around, but what is it, really? In a nutshell, it’s a broad-based, all-inclusive strategy that involves generating content that stimulates interest among current and potential clients. Your SEO questionnaire should include some scrutiny on how they handle content – do they simply plug as much volume as possible, or do they focus on creating quality content? Here’s a hint – quality beats quantity hands-down, partly because people want to read, watch and experience quality content, and partly because it’s a super-useful backlink-building technique.
4. Social Media Marketing
It seems like a no-brainer, but nearly half of small businesses don’t use social media marketing as part of their marketing strategy. But what does it have to do with SEO? Simple – social media and content marketing are inextricably linked. A significant amount of your content should be disseminated via social media, and it also helps create an online presence – all of which links back to getting the search engine love.
5. Email Marketing
Surely email and other direct marketing can’t be part of an effective SEO strategy? (You know where this is going, right?) Where poorly targeted email campaigns could land you in the spam folder, well-targeted and planned direct email campaigns can create a lot of engagement with your website, social media and other content. And, no surprise, Google and other search engines are analyzing your response rates, engagement levels and the amount of emails that get sent to spam to decide whether you are legitimate or need to be sent to SEO jail. Any SEO expert worth the title is going to understand this and will at the very least evaluate whether email campaigns should form part of your SEO strategy or not.
SEO is a complex system that involves a thorough understanding of industry and market trends and techniques. When you hire an SEO professional, you need to hire someone who understands and works with these complexities, and does so effectively. Read our blog on SEO and find out more about what your SEO for hire does right and what you need to look out for.
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