Here you can read about what SEO and digital marketing consultancy involves, the importance of choosing a good consultant, and some of my thoughts about the industry today and where it’s heading.
If you would prefer to find out more specifics about the services I offer, please contact me with any questions.
A quick question to get started…
How many times per day do you use a search engine, such as Google?
It’s a simple question that you may not have considered, but if you’re anything like me, it could well be in the region of 40-50 daily searches, depending on what your day involves.
When you multiply that by the number of people in your family, group of friends, colleagues in your office, and even strangers around you, the figures soon stack up and it’s no surprise that Google processes more than 3.5 billion searches every single day.
These searches vary greatly in nature and intent, with some helping people to learn or carry out a task, get recommendations or directions, and purchase products or services. If you are a business and want more of these searches to result in people finding your website, you need to have a solid Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy.
So, what does SEO involve?
SEO is the (complex) process of improving a website to ensure that it appears in the organic search engine results, more frequently and higher up the results pages.
Google’s algorithm provides a ranked list of websites for a given search query based on the relevancy and quality of each page. There are hundreds of different factors used by search engines to determine this, and understanding these is the primary role of an SEO consultant.
The resulting SEO strategy should cover both technical and creative elements, to improve the ranking and visibility of your business in search engines, in turn driving relevant traffic to your website.
And when you consider that Google changes its algorithm around 500 – 600 times each year, the fact more people now search on mobile devices than desktop computers, the different countries and languages a business may need to target, and that organic search can be influenced by all other marketing activities, it’s easy to see the importance of finding a good SEO consultant.
Choosing an SEO consultant
The SEO industry still has somewhat of a bad name, with some agencies/consultants over-promising and focusing on “getting you to the top of Google”, while others use outdated or risky techniques to try and manipulate search results. This is the wrong approach and can leave businesses in a much worse position than they started, struggling to justify their investment, and ultimately, apprehensive about SEO all together.
The fast, good and cheap rule is handy when it comes to choosing an SEO company, as some will provide fast and cheap work, but you can’t expect to generate good quality results.
It might be one of the most common phrases in digital marketing, but SEO really is long term, and Google themselves have backed this up with their advice on hiring an SEO consultant.
“In most cases, SEOs need four months to a year to help your business first implement improvements and then see potential benefit.”
Maile Ohye, Google
When focusing on long-term growth, you’ll be able to get good results for a reasonably cheap rate, and if you are looking for fast improvements, there are certain tactics to get good quality results, but you will usually have to pay more for the increased workload and implementation.
I work with a number of UK clients with the latter two options agreed, and want to help more businesses with this same mindset.
SEO present and future
I was fortunate enough to get into the SEO industry as things started to change and companies had to do things the right way, following the fallout from Google’s Panda and Penguin updates in 2011 and 2012.
For me, there’s no white and black hat, spammy link building or keyword stuffing when it comes to SEO, it’s digital marketing. I’ve always believed that it shouldn’t work in isolation as the money that your business is investing in other marketing activities, such as social media, email, PR, print, TV or radio advertising, can directly influence organic search and how people find your website. This is why I ensure that any SEO recommendations and strategies consider my client’s wider marketing plans, both online and offline, and align with them as much as possible.
If your SEO agency or consultant doesn’t have this mindset already, they will need to in the coming years as SEOs and digital marketers become more generalist to understand all aspects of the industry.
There’s also Google’s paid advertising to consider as more adverts now appear at the top of the search results pages, pushing organic listings further down and reducing the chance of people clicking on your website.
Google AdWords allows you to create adverts to appear for specific searches and you pay Google every time a user clicks through to your site, also known as pay-per-click (PPC) marketing. This can drive immediate results, whilst your organic search strategy builds momentum, but you need to know how competitive a search query is and decide how much you’re willing to spend.
It used to be a case of being able to choose SEO or PPC, but now the two go hand in hand and strategies need to be aligned.
As part of my freelance consultancy, I also help businesses with social media strategy, email marketing campaigns, analytics management and CRO recommendations, with the overall aim of improving their online visibility, and in turn, traffic and revenue.
Please get in touch here if you have any questions, require further information or would like me to take a look over your website and current digital strategy to get conversations started.