SEO consultants advice businesses on how to improve their search engine performance from an organic perspective.
In this guide, you’ll earn exactly who is an SEO consultant, including:
- Why should you hire an expert
- What do SEO consultants do?
- How much do they cost?
- Emerging trends
- A lot more
Table of Contents
Why should you hire an SEO Consultant?
Because the field of search engine optimisation is always changing and progressing, most business owners don’t have the time or the skills to implement SEO campaigns while running their daily operations.
(Although some CEOs are very skilled at SEO).
Here are some common ways SEO consultants can help your business growth:
- Proven and tested SEO methodologies
- SEO Audits
- SEO Training
- Link-building SEO to increase domain authority
- Content Marketing
- Implementing the SEO strategy effectively
Here is a breakdown of the most common skills and methodologies that SEO consultants should know:
|Approach||Impact Speed||Ease||Cost||Diagnosing SEO Issues||SEO moves the needle|
|Tested SEO Methodologies||4/5||4/5||4/5||2/5||4/5|
|Link building SEO||4/5||1/5||3/5||1/5||4/5|
What skills should an SEO Consultant know?
There is a lot more to SEO than just optimising an article for SEO.
In fact, the best SEO experts are people who are proficient in a wide range of areas of digital marketing and business. This includes core SEO skills (like copy optimisation and title tag) and other marketing and business skills, like writing, web design, branding, people and project management.
That said, here are the key skills for an SEO consultant:
- Understanding of HTML and basic CSS
- Ability to conduct keywords research
- Semantic content optimisation
- Advanced copywriting skills
- Advanced project management skills
- Ability to find, promote and build links to a page
- Advanced communication skills
- Understanding of technical SEO and how it impacts rankings
- Keeping up with SEO trends and new patents and technologies
In the rest of this guide, I’ll dive deeper into each of these. And show you real-life examples of how SEO experts use them to grow traffic to a website.
Understand the basic of an SEO Consultant role
In this section, you’ll learn the essential skills that any legit SEO expert should know and the tasks he/ she should do.
These essentials include managing clients’ expectations, how search engines work and what are the most important Google factors in 2022.
Let’s dive into it.
Manage clients' expectations
Understanding and managing client’s expectations is a key piece of knowledge for any SEO pro.
Clients have their own business goals and SEO can have a strong impact, both positively or negatively.
First of all, SEO experts should understand their clients’ expectations. A survey from SearchEngineLand reveals that clients mostly want to increase traffic (21.66%) and acquire new customers (19.69%) with SEO.
However, 17% of clients want all of the metrics delivered.
In other words, SEO consultants should agree with their clients on the metrics for measuring the campaign success (or failure). That’s what increases trust and builds a relationship between the client and the expert.
When you agree on metrics, both parties are aligned to work on the same goal that matches the client’s key performance indicator.
Here is a breakdown of the most common expectations clients have and what knowledge and deliverable SEO experts should have:
|Task||Clients’ expectation||Metric||Deliverable||Knowledge required|
|SEO Audit||Discover and fix issues||Number of issues and priority score||Implement tech changes and prioritise||Data analysis, how search engines work, UX|
|Backlinks Campaign||Increase the number of backlinks to key pages||Number and quality of backlinks||Backlinks report||Find and acquire backlinks|
|Content Marketing||Content that converts||Number of words and articles||List of articles||Excellent copy writing|
|Keywords Research||Find important keywords||Keywords number, relevance and difficulty scores||Keywords report||Semantics and analysis skills|
How search engines work
Understanding how search engines work is a key piece of knowledge for any SEO professional.
Search engines send out search engine spiders to find pages on the internet.
Next, they crawl each page’s code.
Once the page is crawled, the page is added to the search engine’s index, which is a cached collection of pages.
When someone searches, Google looks for pages in its index that match the person’s query. And they rank those pages based on hundreds of factors in their algorithm.
But how do Google and Bing decide which page should rank on the top spot?
Important search engine factors SEO Consultants should know
Google’s algorithm considers over 200 parameters when determining rankings.
No, an SEO consultant doesn’t have to memorise them all.
In fact, the vast majority of the 200 ranking elements are variations on three criteria: relevance, authority, and quality.
The relevance of a page refers to how well it fits a user’s search.
Let’s imagine you went to Google and typed in “red hats”
Google is scanning its index to find the relevant pages about red hats. And here is what they look at.
Authority is based on trust, in other words how much Google trusts the content.
One of the most important authority signals is links. The more a page has backlinks, the more authority it carries.
The second criterion is quality. This is based on sub-criteria such as site architecture, User Experience, Authorship and the overall site reputation.
How to find an SEO consultant?
Finding, choosing, and employing an SEO consultant–one with whom you can work long-term–is not always the most straightforward task.
Unless you can receive a few good references from your network, you’ll have to start your search from scratch.
Since I’ve been in the SEO industry for over ten years, I thought I’d share some of my insights into the process that I’ve seen my customers and prospects go through, as well as some of my own recommendations.
Ask your network for recommendations
Your inner circle of trust is your network.
Look for at least a few of SEO experts that have worked with other marketing professionals (or business owners) in your network, and achieved good results.
Begin with your social media accounts, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter.
I propose a mix of social media postings asking for recommendations and private conversations to people in your network who have worked with an SEO professional.
Head over to SEO Conferences
This is a great opportunity to meet face to face with your potential SEO consultant.
It’s easier to understand if you can potentially work with this person, if there is a good fit for you, your team and your organisation.
SEO experts talking on a stage in front of other SEO experts are often the best choice, although they are most probably the most expensive ones to hire.
Search for SEO blogs
You have probably a good first impression on an SEO consultant if you search “seo consultant” in your local area and pick the top 3-5 results.
I rank on the top 4 results for the keyword “SEO consultant Portsmouth” and on page 1 for “Freelance SEO Consultant London” UK-wide.
Read the reviews on 3rd party sites
You can read these reviews detailing the type of work done, the results they have achieved and how good (or bad) the communication was.
Here is an example of my profile with ProvenExpert.com.
What to look for when hiring an SEO Consultant
Looking at reviews and skills can help hire the right person, but there are a few more tips for selecting the best SEO expert.
In other words: SEO expert skills are the basic knowledge.
While selecting the best consultant for your business, is a matter of matching your business needs with skills and personality.
Here are a few factors to take into consideration:
- Knowledge of your industry: it’s difficult for you and the SEO expert to succeed without knowing your industry. An SEO expert spends the first month doing thorough industry and user research.
- Leveraging your value proposition: Knowing what makes your business distinctive helps the SEO expert to discern between different keywords, optimise your metadata with CTAs, use your assets, and give recommendations for making your content more appealing and in accordance with your business’s unique offering.
- SEO expert skilled at training: It’s critical that you (and your team) understand the suggestions made by your SEO professional. A professional SEO expert would give links to source documents to back up recommendations and reference case studies to demonstrate why certain approaches perform.
- Honest expectations: there is nothing more frustrating than being sold the moon and receiving nothing. Many businesses just lack the website authority necessary to compete for the most popular keywords. A professional SEO expert will be honest about this and will assist you in identifying less competitive keyword phrases for which your organisation may compete.
- Length of the SEO service: you have heard it probably hundred times. SEO takes time and this is because Google is slow. But this also depends because SEO is very much situational. A big website with an established authority can rank faster than a small, new website with no authority. Competition is also another factor, as well as backlinks profile, tech health, content quality and quantity and speed of implementation.