When done right, SEO is often the most profitable source of leads for businesses that choose to properly invest in it. In fact, research shows that not only does SEO generate more leads than other marketing efforts, it also costs less and converts more than outbound leads from cold calling and direct mail.
However, that’s only true if your SEO consultant knows what they’re doing. This can be hard to judge, because SEO is also a long term strategy, which means it can take up to a year or more to realize that your SEO consultant has no idea what they’re doing and that you’ve just wasted a ton of money! Nevertheless, almost half of business owners sever ties with their current SEO consultant, because they simply didn’t deliver on what they promised.
To save you that massive headache, here is some advice about how to find a good SEO consultant that will generate profitable traffic for your business.
Let’s go over the kinds of characters you’re likely to run into when looking for an SEO consultant, and how you can avoid wasting money on the bad actors.
Level 1: The Charlatan SEO Consultant
This type of SEO consultant is the biggest waste of time and money. They won’t explain anything about their strategy because it’s “proprietary”. You’ll walk away from an interview with them with no idea what they plan to do. They are a kaleidoscope of random buzzwords and jargon, repeating vague statements they read in some free SEO ebook online. They’ll probably try to tempt you with ridiculously low prices (less than US$500 per month).
Although they are usually the cheapest, stay far, far away! Not only will these charlatans not produce results, but they will also implement spammy tactics that could get your site blacklisted by Google, crushing your chances of a great future ranking.
Level 2: The Novice SEO Consultant
Simply put, these guys don’t know what they’re doing. They recommend targeting keywords that are relevant to your business, but the keywords they choose are extremely competitive and not especially valuable.
For example, they would recommend that someone who runs a barbershop in downtown St. Louis target keywords like “haircuts” or “barber”.
This is bad advice for a few reasons:
1. These keywords are extraordinarily competitive and nearly impossible to rank for.
2. They aren’t location-specific, so even if you could rank for them, you’d generate traffic from people all over the US, when you could only service people in St. Louis.
3. They don’t imply buyer intent. Someone searching for “barber” could be looking to learn how to be a barber, barbershop quartets, the composer Samuel Barber, the etymology of the word “barber”, etc. The keywords are not specific enough.
After six months, you will have gone from not ranking at all and getting no traffic, to still not ranking, still not getting any traffic, and having wasted a lot of money.
Level 3: The Ranker
The Ranker is a type of SEO consultant that you need to be especially careful of because they seem deceivingly like experts. They fall somewhere between the Novice and the Expert, and while the Ranker can actually improve your rankings, maybe even drive traffic, this boost in traffic doesn’t generate profit. Rankers likely have good intentions, but there are usually two major flaws in their strategy.
1. Focus on traffic, not conversions: You may very well be able to rank and get traffic from the keywords they recommend, but that traffic isn’t likely to bring users who are ready to spend money on your site.
For example, our client Giant iTab sells and rents giant touchscreen devices to businesses who need them for trade shows. Before they hired us, they were ranking and getting traffic for keywords like “large iPad” and “event technology”. But the traffic they were getting was just not converting.
When they hired us, we switched to keywords like “giant touchscreen rental for tradeshows”. The amount of traffic took a bit of a dip, but the quality of traffic improved exponentially, and they almost instantly started generating profits from their SEO traffic. Why? Because the people who were ready to spend money were specifically searching for those words. Rankers most often miss this attention to detail.
2. Limited expertise: Rankers are pretty good at SEO, but “pretty good” is not good enough when you want to maximize online profits. They can’t advise you on how to increase conversion rates from your SEO traffic on your website, how to create a sales funnel that gets the most from your site’s traffic, or how to create a comprehensive marketing strategy. The bottom line is that they simply don’t have the expertise and experience to make you money.
Level 4: The Expert SEO Consultant
This SEO consultant is as rare as a unicorn. Celebrate when you find one because they will build you a very profitable foundation for your business.
The Expert is just that, an expert consultant with the know-how and experience to design and implement an SEO strategy that is first and foremost focused on conversions. They do thorough keyword research and find keywords that have high buyer intent and are practical to rank for.
This type of SEO consultant will give you a clear vision for your SEO strategy, and set realistic expectations. They won’t try to hustle you or “guarantee” that you will rank on the first page in under a month.
The Expert will provide recommendations on your digital marketing strategy because they understand that SEO doesn’t work in a vacuum. This includes recommendations on your website design and coding, blogging strategy, lead generation, and other advertising channels that will help you leverage the most from your SEO strategy.
It is highly unlikely that they are a solo operator. They work with a team of experts in design, development, and advertising strategy to create a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that will all work together to generate maximum profits from your SEO traffic.
Expert SEO consultants most often charge a premium for their services, but they are worth every penny that they charge. As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for”.
Questions to Ask Before Hiring
Finding a good SEO consultant relies on asking the right questions from the very beginning before you even hire them.
1. Do you have any case studies? (Like these, for example)
2. How long have they been in business?
3. Do they have credible references?
4. Do they have well-developed processes or do they rely on gimmicks and best practices?
5. Are they good at communication?
6. What is their customer support like?
7. Do they provide transparent guidance?
8. Do they focus on conversions and profits, or just traffic?
Hire an Expert SEO Consultant, Not a Time-Waster
Having a high-ranking website is critical to the success of your business, which means finding a good SEO consultant is one of the most important steps you have to take.
JMarketing offers Expert SEO Consultant services that are backed up by years of experience and proven success. Our accomplished team of dedicated specialists will improve your website rankings and grow your profit beyond expectations.
Take the next step and start your journey towards ranking success by clicking on this link. Simply complete the enquiry form and we will get right back to you!