An SEO consultant will broadly need to discover the following before you invest further.
What your business does – how it operates and its competitive niche is
Business objectives – what do you want to achieve from SEO and how is this going to be measured
Monthly investment – what is your budget for SEO, this can be a monthly or annual amount
The competition – how many websites are chasing the same keyword results as you
Your current site build, theme and plugins – how is your site put together, is it optimised and does it work well
Site audits – benchmarking the performance of your website today
Domain reports – your domain authority, current rankings, backlinks and so on
It’s crucial to get all of the above done before you do any SEO work or you are not going to be able to get objective data on how well it is performing.
What tools do SEO consultants use?
Part of being a good SEO consultant is having all the tools to hand to be able to action the above list and provide all the appropriate reports.
It’s actually a very good way to sense-check a potential SEO consultant – as them what tools they use – if they use only the same free ones that you probably do, they have not invested in the right kit to do the job properly.
They are so many different tools out there that can provide good reports, but we use premium tools like:
Basically, working with a consultant will save you time and money in the long run.
Most people have barely enough time to do their day jobs, let alone learn a whole new skill set and all the tools associated with it.
As mentioned above, SEO consultancy will also help in the scoping, planning and implementation of your SEO campaigns, whoever is selected to then implement it.
This type of work will set the foundations for your ongoing SEO work and you can then also be sure that everything is planned and implemented correctly rather than being approached in a random manner.
Like any form of marketing, SEO work needs to be done when your company is at its busiest, not when it’s quiet, and this also adds an additional challenge for already stretched staff to try and get things done.
How much should SEO consultancy cost?
What you are going to pay for this is usually based on the complexity of the requirement, the competition and the timeframe.
If you are in a highly competitive niche and want big results fast, it’s going to be more expensive than a less competitive niche site with the work done over a longer time span.
Some companies spend tens of thousands every month on SEO, and this is baked into their budgets, but for most SMEs, this simply isn’t viable, so less than £1000 is more of an accurate figure.
Unlike traditional forms of advertising that were difficult to track and identify ROI, SEO is fully trackable and transparent.
We use tools that track individual keyword positions, and with special calls-to-action or forms on landing pages, it’s possible to track conversions from keyword search to the site landing page to the enquiry coming in.
Where clients phone you up, there are other options to try and track the conversion, but it can be a little more tricky unless you make a point of simply asking.
It’s not just about rankings, SEO should also be about conversion.
If you get loads of traffic, but very few enquiries, you are either getting the wrong sort of traffic or there is something wrong with your offer.
A good SEO will be able to help you look at these aspects of your business, and website and offer to help with conversion rate optimisation which can further increase new business from the same number of visitors to your site.
A client we worked with could not understand why they were getting 1000s of visitors but few sales.
We checked out the drop-off point on the site, which happened to be the checkout page.
The checkout page was the first time the visitor saw, what we advised, was a high delivery charge (sometimes more than the cost of the item itself).
Where possible, the delivery charge was addressed and there were more sales.
This is another good example of where SEO consultancy goes above and beyond what you might think it is and looks at reasons, wherever they are, as to why things are not as good as they should be.
How to choose an SEO consultant?
Don’t fill in forms or sign-up for free trials online, speak to them, and make sure you speak to the people doing the work, not a sales team.
Choose an agency that is appropriate in size for your company and budget. A London-based SEO agency working with huge corporations will require larger budgets whereas an SEO agency outside London may be small and a better fit all around.
You can ask for examples, but to be honest, every SEO campaign is so tailored to each client that a success for one might not mean success for you.
Also, consider what else you may need – does the agency do WordPress development, design work and so on in-house, or are you going to have to go through the selection process loads of times to find different SEO, development, design and branding skillsets?