Top 9 Qualities to Look for in an SEO Expert

Your business website may look awesome, packed with premium content and dazzling media. But what if your website is not getting enough visitors to convert into customers? If this is the problem that your company is experiencing, then your website is not doing its job. Maybe it is about time to hire an SEO (search engine optimisation) expert to boost your site’s visibility and increase its revenue.

SEO experts come in all shapes and sizes, whether it’s as an employee, an individual consultant, or an SEO consulting firm. What they all have in common is that an experienced SEO expert will review your website; will ask about your business goals and how your target visitors; and finally will identify strategies to improve your search engine rankings and page views.

Possible remedies an SEO expert might prescribe range from something simple like rewriting your HTML title tags to the more complex structural issues that prevent search engine bots from crawling and indexing your content, and obtaining quality links from relevant, higher ranking domains and external web sites.

1. Years of SEO Experience

With Google placing a strong emphasis on page rankings and domain strength — an explosion of SEO consultants and experts appeared. But that does not mean that these ‘SEO experts’ know what they are doing. With Google’s hundreds of algorithm ranking factors increasing daily, what worked years ago may be damaging in today’s online world. A top SEO expert will know what has changed and they only know this because of the many years of experiencing what works and what does not.

Plus every website should employ varying SEO tactics, simply put what works for one business may not work for another. An SEO expert with several years of experience will be able to examine any website and know this. Furthermore they will know exactly what needs to be done for it to gain more search engine traffic, whilst someone new at utilising SEO will apply the same methodologies to all websites. This will have a limited impact if any, and worse, could damage the website’s rankings.

2. Understanding of different SEO Levels

Search engine optimisation involves three facets:

Technical (the website’s structure, determines how easy or difficult it is for search engines to crawl and index your content).

On-page optimisation (correctly using keywords and HTML tags in ways that aid the increase of search engine traffic to your site).
Off-page optimisation (for example link building).

For a truly successful SEO strategy requires all three elements to be implemented, sure some maybe more prevalent than others. A top SEO expert will know which but should be advising you that it is a combination of the three.

An SEO expert should understand the technical limitations of your company’s website, and be able to articulate to your web developers so that these issues can be minimised. Otherwise if a search engine cannot access all the content on your website, then your other SEO efforts will be in vain.

3. A Record of SEO Success

You have heard the expression “talk is cheap” or “actions speak louder than words” — well listen to them. There is so much online content about how to implement SEO tactics and which ones your business should be using. Newer so called SEO experts will be reading these blog posts and applying them to your business. Not that this is wrong to do, after all this is how SEO experts learn about the changing world of search engine marketing. However before your hire an SEO expert ask to contact their references. You can then gauge whether that expert had a positive impact on a business and whether the client was happy with their contribution.

4. Sassy about Marketing

Technical issues aside, SEO is similar to traditional marketing techniques. The onsite content needs to be written so that the user sees the value of the product or service that you are promoting, and hopefully lead to a sale. Understanding the psychology about marketing and user intent is just as important as repairing the technical issues surrounding your website. Search Engine Marketing is where a business’s website is correctly set up to respond to a visitors search for an answer to their query or problem. If your site does not contain the correct content or if it is not easy to find or navigate to then the visitor will bounce off your site quickly, affecting its page relevance.

5. Understands your Goals

Does your SEO consultant understand what your goals are? Do they appreciate what you are trying to achieve? Do you want the SEO to focus on conversions? (Converting a visitor to your site to a paying customer). Do you want to raise your webpages within search engine results pages (SERPS). What about increasing your domain strength? SEO should be part of your overall digital marketing strategy. The focus of any strategy should be about accomplishing certain goals and being able to measure them, otherwise you do not have a base to determine success.

6. What Tools will they use?

Usually an SEO expert will require to use certain tools to enable them to achieve success with your website. There are several tools that display domain rankings, where to list your website in directories and which keywords rank better than others to determine what content you write. SEMRush is great to monitor how your competitors are doing, Ahrefs is fantastic for checking backlinks, if you are are pursuing a content driven strategy then Moz could be the tool for you, looking to add better quality but low competition keywords? Then Long Tail Pro is awesome.

An SEO expert will know about all of these and will insist on using one of them. What they all have in common is that they cost money — ask your SEO expert will the cost of using them be included in your contract cost or will you have to make an additional purchase.

7. Fitting in With Your Company’s Culture

Not just exclusively with SEO experts but will all employees really. A new employee or contractor interacts with several areas of a business including senior management, IT professionals, marketing gurus, customer service personnel and salespeople. The ability to work well with members of these teams is essential, and that they can communicate within your company’s style of getting things done. Their organisation style, personality and integrity should be explored before hiring and you can do this by discussing with their references.

8. Excellent communication skills.

Regarding communication style, an SEO expert must be able to clearly communicate why a change to your website is needed, and in a manner that is non-confrontational and that everyone understands. They cannot do everything themselves so should be competent in getting their point across whether senior management or a web developer. After all the condition of the present website is due to decisions that have been made already. Simply saying all is wrong is going to irk those who have worked on this process already and possibly lead to a toxic working atmosphere within your teams.

A top SEO expert will know how to work with various types of people and understand how to get tasks done efficiently and effectively. They do after all, want to ensure that your business moves forward from its current state.

9. A Passion and Curiosity to Learn.

Whilst knowledge is important, curiosity is essential too. Search Engine Optimisation is an evolving process and even when an SEO expert is collaborating with you they should be raising newer trends with you, that may differ to what they originally advised to do. For example “I read and learnt yesterday that this web crawler now works this way, so we should discuss amending our strategy”. Great SEO experts find alternatives to work around challenges and roadblocks. Having a passion to learn new techniques and a curiosity to apply them demonstrates a clear understanding of your business and that the SEO expert has your business interests at heart.

Whether you are beginning building your business or you are thinking of a website redesign ensure you hire a suitable SEO expert that will understand your business goals.

David is the Managing Director of Blu Mint Digital; and writes about Digital Marketing and Entrepreneurship. This article he wrote was written for Opus Online.

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