Hiring An SEO Constultant - 10 Reasons Why You Should
It crosses every webmaster's mind anytime they see an ad or an email for search engine marketing. Many small business owners wonder what they're missing by not doing it. So should you hire a consultant? Search engine traffic make up at least 85% of all traffic to a website. So of course, search engine optimization is very important. But what, if any, will be the consequences of doing it yourself? Would it be beneficial to a website owner to hire a professional SEO consultant, or just plod along and hope that they are doing it right? This is a valid dilemma to face, and I will show you why it should be an easy decision. There are ten reasons why hiring them would be to your benefit.
Search engine optimization takes great amounts of time. Research, linking strategies, directory submissions, and page analysis alone are hugely and painstakingly time consuming. Do you, the small business owner, have the time required to give search engine optimization your full attention? Or do you need to be spending your time elsewhere; such as running your business? An SEO consultant has the time to dedicate fully to your project. That's what they do.
2. Writing Copy
Many webmasters, when beginning to design a website, concentrate on design, graphics, and a lot of the fancy code to make a website pretty. Many webmasters write their content copy almost as an afterthought.
What actually generates listings in the search engines is what your website has to say. When a potential visitor is searching the web, they use words to find what they need. So you need words to get your site in those search engines. And this means writing content-rich copy. Your website text should be the most important aspect of your website, and not last on the list. Yes, people are visually stimulated. Search engine spiders are not. In fact, all spiders only take into account the text on your page. A search engine spider cannot read what useful information you may have put into an image or into a video. And relying upon that ALT tag to get those spiders to understand what is in your image is quite an illusion. Lately, some of the spiders are skipping the ALT tags altogether, as a few unethical webmasters and SEO companies have tried to manipulate this area of a webpage with keyword stuffing. (Keyword stuffing is the needless repetition of a keyword or keyword phrase in order to get higher ranking on search engines.) It only takes a few bad apples to ruin the entire barrel. I'm not telling you to completely disregard the ALT tag, but if you rely solely on this to get a search engine spider to understand what your page is about, you will fail.
So if text is so important, why would you place this at the bottom of your priority list? A good SEO consultant has the experience with what content is relevant to your site, and just how to say it. Sometimes, an SEO expert will even outsource this job to a professional writer. This makes complete sense, as this is the most important aspect of any website.
A good SEO consultant knows that there are up to 100 things that a search engine will factor in to determine how useful and important your website is, and thereby ranking it accordingly. You can rely upon your SEO consultant to be familiar with all aspects of these factors. SEO is not rocket science by any means, but careful planning, research and plugging those factors into a page can be a delicate process. If you are unsure about how your efforts will turn out, then you can feel comfortable knowing that your SEO expert knows what they are doing. Do you? SEO consultants can act quickly to the ever-changing world of optimization. They don't rest on their laurels and expect that one avenue of advertising is going to improve your traffic rank. There is no secret formula to magically making your site appear at the top of the search engines. What there is, however, is strategic planning and research, along with tried and true methods of optimization.
4. Long Term Effect
Pay per click (PPC) advertising is extremely popular, as it is relatively flexible within the web site owner's budget. But the minute you stop paying for those clicks is the minute that the traffic stops. PPC makes a great short term solution, or even a supplemental addition to regular traffic, but you can't expect that this will suffice for the long term. This is why search engine optimization is so vital to the life of a website. Sure, you may be paying for that SEO consultant's services now, but once their job is done, you can expect your traffic and conversion rates to continue long after your SEO consultant has gone on their way.
5. Search Engines are Unforgiving
You need to get it right the first time. Search engine optimization, while ever-changing, is not trial and error. The information you find on the internet is not always accurate, and you may take one piece of bad advice and find yourself banned forever. Is this a risk you are willing to take? An SEO expert knows exactly what to do, and what NOT to do. There are a lot of techniques that webmasters used to use that would skyrocket them to the top of the search engines. Now, those same techniques are definite banning offenses in the world of SEO. Your consultant will know the difference. SEO is a puzzle of research, research, and more research. One wrong puzzle piece and the entire picture is in jeopardy.
6. Budget Guidance
A search engine optimization firm can guide you in where your resources should go. Whether you have only a small marketing and advertising budget, or the sky's the limit, your SEO consultant can get you the most bang for your buck. To experiment with your resources on advertising avenues through trial and error is very risky and will be very expensive. Your SEO consultant can save you the headache and heartache of risking your hard earned cash on experimental advertising, as well as hundreds, maybe even thousands, of dollars.
7. Product Knowledge
If one search engine could deliver all the traffic alone to your site, then you wouldn't need an SEO consultant. You wouldn't need to invest time, money or energy in research either. But there are so many search engines out there, and one may be better than another to target traffic to your individual niche. You can rely on your SEO consultant to know where you can receive your qualified traffic.
8. Fresh Perspective
If you've developed your website yourself, or even if you have hired a web designer and developer, chances are that you've been looking at it long enough to have possibly missed a few things. Now, we are certainly not trying to demean your work or that of your developer. Quite to the contrary: you've heard that saying, two heads are better than one? Well 5 heads are better than two, and so one. Each new team member that you bring in to concentrate on their area of expertise can bring enlightenment every time. It's always good to get a fresh perspective, and an SEO consultant can bring that to your site.
9. Effective Keyword Analysis You need to know exactly the right word combinations that will bring qualified visitors to your site. Even with search engines like Goto or Yahoo! Directories, where you can buy your rankings, knowing the right keywords can end up saving hundreds or thousands of dollars in unqualified click through charges. An SEO can find these for you. Gone are the days that you could just put a bunch of words into your meta tags, and a visitor could type that word into the search engine, and your site appears in the listings. Search engine algorithms are far more complex, and you can actually hurt your rank by including the wrong key phrases. 10. Value and ROI (Return On Investment)
Dollar for dollar, search engine optimization is still the most cost effective way to market your website, so your money is well spent with an SEO consultant. Do you pay now for long term effects, or do you pay over time for short term, immediate results. Within a short period of time, you will find that you've eventually spent the same amount of money, but with the short term solutions, like banner advertising, Overture, or Google AdWords, you have to KEEP paying in order to achieve the same results, thus by passing the investment you could have made with an SEO consultant. So in short, search engine optimization pays for itself quickly. An investment into the long reaching effects of search engine optimization will pay you back many times over.
The Bottom Line
For every 100 of your current visitors, 85 of them will find you through search engines. Unless you have lots of time, understand exactly how the search engines work, can write effective copy and key word combinations, can sort through all the misinformation on how to correctly market your site, and can get it all right the first time without spending a dime, then you need an SEO consultant for the long term rewards that search engine optimization can bring you. Your investment in the future of your website will be worth while. You'll be glad you did.
Jennifer E. Sullivan is an Internet Business Consultant who specializes in search engine optimization and web marketing. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Marketing from Kansas University. She has written several web marketing articles, including "Let's Not Forget About the Little Guy", and "Success for the Early Entrepreneur". You can find more information on her services at http://www.firstclass-seo.com. First Class SEO is an Internet Business Consultant Firm, with an extensive 10+ year marketing and sales resume. First Class SEO specializes in Search Engine Optimization and Marketing, with a primary focus cultivating professional relationships especially with small to medium businesses. First Class SEO's number one goal is to help businesses achieve quality rankings in search engines, and high conversion ratios from traffic to sales in the most natural, long lasting way possible by maximizing the benefits of search engine optimization.
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