Companies who provide a service or sell a product online have to be able to access a steady customer base, this is referred to as traffic to the site and the more traffic, the more customer engagement which will then result in more sales. It is not just a case of putting up a carefully designed website on the search engines and hoping that people will find you, the chances are that they will not and you certainly would not be able to access a significant traffic stream even if some were to stumble upon your site. Companies are aware of this and look for ways in which they can become more visible. Some will turn to social media and pay for ads and others may turn to Google Ads to pay for their traffic and some use a combination of both and also employ other techniques. This method however means that the company has to pay for ads all of the time to allow a continued traffic stream, so when sales come in, the cost of advertising has to be deducted from their revenue.
Some companies will think longer term and will want to have their website visible on the first page of Search Engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. The process that is used to achieve this goal is known as search engine optimization or SEO. As Google is the larger of the search engines, this is the one that most would focus upon.
Should you hire an SEO marketing expert for your business?
Unfortunately, no one knows how Google works, there is no manual on the subject and Google’s algorithm changes regularly so even if you think that you have an idea as to how Google favours one site over another, algorithm updates and changes mean that your ideas will have to change with each algorithm update. Even the SEO experts do not know how Google works and despite significant effort, by the experts, only some trends are noticeable.
SEO can be considered as an investment for your business. It is usual for companies to set aside a monthly budget for SEO. It is not an overnight process and it can take a number of months to achieve a first page ranking but the results from SEO have the power to provide a massive income return. Unlike paid advertising methods, you do not have to continue to pay for SEO every time you want traffic, as once you have ranked your site, it should remain in position and generate ‘free’ traffic. Maintenance however may be necessary. Companies often turn to paid methods of advertising while their site is ranking in order to generate sales in the interim.
SEO bases itself around ‘keywords’ which are chosen. Keywords are words or phrases that someone would use to search for a particular service or product. An SEO expert would be able to tell you which keywords would be appropriate for you according to the number of searches and your budget. You need the required tools to be able to access this information.
It may be that SEO is not going to work for you, it may not be able to give you the desired returns and an SEO expert would be able to tell you that from looking at your site, the product or service that you offer and the keywords for which you want to rank. It is up to you as a business owner to consider whether the proposed spend in SEO would work better for you compared with the methods of paid advertising.
Once your strategy has been developed and you have decided upon SEO, unless you have learned the process and know what you are doing, it would be wise to consult an expert in the field as many things can go wrong and applied incorrectly, it could result in your site being irrevocably damaged or penalised. An SEO expert is aware of what they can and can’t do and how quickly they can apply certain techniques. It could be that your website would benefit from certain updates.
So yes, it is indeed a good idea to hire an expert to carry out your SEO work but what should you look for in that expert?
SEO is a process which will develop over a number of months and as there are no instant results, it is going to be difficult for you to judge how well your SEO is doing and if you discover later that your expert is not such an expert, by that time you will have spent a considerable sum of money and time on the process. It is essential therefore that you make sure that you are choosing the correct SEO company as it could be a very expensive mistake otherwise.
- Ask around, do you know any business owners who have used SEO, look for recommendations.
- Ask the SEO company to show you evidence of their work, what sites have they ranked? They should have rankings attached to their own sites which they should be able to show you.
- Look for online reviews and look around for some of the forums where people are chatting about their experiences.
It is tempting to go for the most cost effective option but that is not always the best, a cheap price could mean a cheap process and that is not what you want when you have the integrity of your site to consider. Ask about reporting methods, you should not expect to be able to speak with someone daily as if you are speaking to the company regularly, it means that they are spending less time on your campaign, you should however be kept up to date with progress.
Your measure at the end of the campaign should be results in terms of hard cash. How much money are you making per month as a result of the campaign, that will be the indicator as to whether a successful job has been completed.
So, yes for many companies, hiring an SEO Marketing expert can be very worthwhile and can generate significant sales returns