How to hire an SEO specialist

SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimisation”, the technical process of structuring web content to get the highest possible rank in search results for a given search term.

A successful SEO project can play a large role in getting more visitors (prospects) to your website where, with appropriate and targeted content, those prospects can be converted to leads and eventually clients.

When an SEO consultant promises to get your website into that number one spot, walk away. If you want long-term success there aren’t any quick fix or voodoo tricks to have your site rank #1. All search engines actively defend against blatant manipulation as it undermines their goal of presenting their users with the most relevant result to a search query. In order to do this, search engines make use of Artificial Intelligence - very complex, self-tuning filter algorithms. Self-tuning, also known as deep learning, makes it literally impossible for a programmer to guess the output of his own search algorithm, because the number of factors that are weighed in the ranking is far, far more complex than what the human mind can process. It follows that if the creator cannot manipulate an AI-based algorithm, then the SEO consultant with no inside or special knowledge can sure as little green apples not either.

An SEO project’s potential is only as high as the quality of your business and website, coupled with your commitment to implementing the recommended changes. In other words, to make your content as digestible as possible for a search engine so that your ranking for a search term isn’t impeded by technical issues that are invisible to you and your visitors, but yet very relevant to the machine reading and ranking your site.

While a good SEO can help improve an existing site, a great time to hire is when you're considering a site redesign, or planning to launch a new site. That way, you and your SEO can ensure that your site is designed to be search engine-friendly from the bottom up.

4 tips for choosing an SEO

In most cases, SEOs need four months to a year to help your business first implement improvements and then see a potential benefit.

  1. Be committed to implementing the recommended changes.
  2. Interview your potential SEO and check that they are genuinely interested in and understand your requirements and those of your business.
  3. Check your SEO's business references.
  4. Ask for a technical and search audit. (This is normally a paid service.)

What does Google have to say?

Here is what to expect from your SEO specialist, your SEO should:

  1. Recommend and implement best practices for a search friendly site;
  2. Ensure your online customers are served with a good online experience, regardless of their device (desktop/mobile/tablet).
  3. Corroborate recommendations with documented statements from Google that supports both:
    1. the description of the issue that needs to be improved.
    2. the approach they prescribe to accomplish the task.

Finally, you cannot improve what you cannot measure. Ask your webmaster to create a reporting dashboard (we recommend a combination of Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Data Studio) to help you keep track of your website’s performance in organic search.

If you have an existing website or planning to launch a new website, talk to us. We provide practical help and advice on internet marketing with over 15 years experience in helping small business thrive on the internet.

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