If your company is considering hiring an SEO consultant, either to assist your in-house SEO team or completely take over the entire search engine optimization effort, there are several mistakes you need to avoid.
Hiring the wrong consultant to take the helm of your search marketing effort can result in a huge mess that is not only difficult to clean up, but expensive as well. A simple Google search will bring up a bunch of consultant options, ranging greatly in skill level, experience and price. Here are five mistakes you need to avoid when hiring an SEO consultant for your company.
1. Hiring a consultant based on keyword ranking promises.
Many SEOs will try to sell you on keyword rankings. They will send you a fancy report every month that shows the position of the keywords, but how important are those rankings if they aren't resulting in leads, sales and revenue for your business?
Image if you were ranking for two keywords, and one was ranking in the top position and the other was ranking at the bottom of page one. The keyword ranking number one only has 320 monthly searches and it was responsible for converting $1,000 in revenue the past month. The other keyword that's at the bottom of page one has a monthly search volume of 12,200 and it was responsible for driving $7,000 in revenue the past month.
Would you rather a ranking report that highlights a number one ranking or do you want to know how much revenue your SEO campaign is generating and what your ROI is every month? Keyword rankings don't matter. Revenue and ROI do. It's important to work with an SEO consultant that understands what numbers truly matter.
2. Going into the relationship with unrealistic expectations.
SEO takes time. Anyone that is telling you he or she will have your website ranking in a matter of days is telling you what you want to hear in order to get you to sign the contract. An experienced SEO consultant will be able to give you an educated guess as to how soon you should expect to see increased traffic. This varies depending on your industry, competition, goals and strategy.
There are SEO services that promise results in a matter of days and some even guarantee number one rankings. Stay far away from these as they will greatly disappoint you, waste your time and money, as well as put your website in danger.
3. Hiring an SEO consultant based on lowest price.
While a $499/month SEO service might sound good to your accounting department, it's going to end up costing you much more money in the long-run. When you really dive into what SEO entails you will understand that search engine optimization for a few hundred dollars a month is a pipe dream.
An experienced SEO consultant can charge thousands of dollars a month, depending on the campaign goals and competition. If you can't afford an experience consultant it would be better to move slowly and attempt to do some of the ground work yourself, rather to hire a cheaper option. Low quality SEO can do severe damage to your website, requiring an extensive clean up effort, costing you more money in the long run than hiring the right SEO consultant from the start would have.
4. Hire an SEO consultant that sells pre-made packages.
There is absolutely no reason why you should be purchasing an SEO package. An effective SEO campaign is 100 percent custom and designed specifically for your website, your competition, your keywords and your campaign objectives. When you begin to search for a consultant you will often find that many will offer different package options, and these cookie-cutter packages are sold to every business.
Do you really think the same SEO strategy that is being applied to a hair salon in Boca Raton is going to be what a car dealership in Miami is going to need? Pre-packaged SEO is dangerous as well as ineffective.
5. Rely only on organic search traffic.
The worst thing you could do is put all of your eggs into one basket and have your company relying 100 percent on organic search traffic. Your traffic numbers could vanish overnight, for a number of reasons. A competitor could outrank you or Google could roll out an algorithm update that impacts your website. No SEO consultant, no matter how good he or she is, can predict what the search engines will do next.
It's important to diversify your online marketing to include several forms of traffic, including paid search, social media, content marketing and display advertising, just to name a few. When you have several streams of traffic you can make an adjustment to increase the traffic from another outlet if a particular traffic source dries up.
Jonathan Long is the Founder & CEO of Market Domination Media®, an online marketing agency that provides SEO training and online marketing consulting. Jonathan also created EBOC (Entrepreneurs & Business Owners Community), a private business forum. Follow him on Twitter.