I help businesses improve their marketing effort through SEO writing and one of the questions I see is, should I hire a SEO consultant?
Nowadays, marketing is easy to start, but getting results like sales and subscriptions is like breaking rocks with plastic spoons.
If you are a small business owner with a small budget, you have a difficult choice to make.
The amount you will spend on SEO ( and marketing generally) varies. The costs depend on a lot of factors such as your niche, target audience, the tools, and competition.
Yet, the investment in Search Engine Marketing or content marketing doesn’t pay off on day one or in one month.
Therefore, you need to really understand what you are getting into.
Take a deep breath. This article will explain all you need to create a Search engine optimization (SEO) strategy to bring more visitors and generate a great return on your investment in 6 – 12 months.
Read diligently. Then, you can decide to hire an SEO consultant or do it yourself.
By the way, I have a suggestion for small business owners who don’t have the financial capacity to invest in SEO. With this plan, you can slash the amount you spend. Of course, it will cost some time and work on your part.
Becoming an authority
Hiring an SEO consultant can create a long-term reward. It is like being the big dog that gets the largest share of meat. The right professional would create a plan for your business or website to command a great percentage of the traffic in your niche or industry. And this can remain that way for a long time, depending on how effective the strategy is.
One way to determine your level of authority is to see people trusting you with certain topics.
Once your name or website keeps appearing in Google suggestions, it means you are an authority. People will consider what you have to say before others. You have become the big guy in that niche, and your SEO strategy is effective. It is one of the main reasons you hire an SEO consultant or invest in Search Engine Marketing. The aim is always long-term and becoming the big guy.
How to Get the Long-term Benefits of SEO
You have a business online. So you start creating content that solves the users’ problems.
On the side, you are looking at the future by noticing the patterns and trends in the industry. Therefore, you ask what would happen in the next two years? What changes should we anticipate? Once you have some answers, you create products, content, case studies, white papers, and tools from your findings.
You might have to do your research or hire professionals to help. Then, analyze your results and create content (or products, free or paid). These will be available forever or for a long time. Let’s say two years later, people in your industry can’t do without your tool or content.
You are consistent. It might 6 months or a year before you see the results you want, but you keep preparing for it by sharing and creating useful content every week.
Can I do that myself, or should I hire a SEO consultant?
I can’t answer on your behalf. I would rather give you all the details so you can answer this question yourself.
How much is an SEO Specialist Salary?
The average salary of a freelance SEO consultant is approximately $5000 per month.
Yes, the importance of SEO is amazing, but can you afford it? The answer is no if you are a small business owner. Or the answer is “maybe” if you have that much to invest, but you don’t trust the consultant.
When you finish reading this article, you should have a plan in place, even if all you have is a third of that price. Just know you will be ready to do some grunt work, and your result won’t be as fast as those who hire a consultant.
Let’s quickly talk about the job responsibilities of a consultant.
What does an SEO consultant do?
An SEO consultant is a professional who helps businesses implement search engine marketing (SEM). His overall aim is to ensure that the business websites get many internet visitors every month. He can also help with how the traffic can be converted to sales.
The work of a consultant can be complicated at times. However, it always begins with you and your business. The professional will try to know what business you run, your industry, how competitive the industry is, how much you want to invest in this, your goals, how fast you want to start seeing results.
Remember I said the aim is long-term. I mean 12- 18 months, but that doesn’t mean you won’t start seeing results in 6 months. And you should be worried about how long the results will last.
What the SEO consultant does include:
- Performing an extensive SEO audit of your website (site architecture, content gap, backlinks etc)
- Carrying out keyword research in your niche
- Creating a content strategy using topic cluster
- Optimizing your pages
- Creating exceptionally useful content for readers
- Creating a backlink building strategy
- Making your content and website user friendly
If you are into content marketing and web design or have sound background knowledge of SEO, you might think, well, I can do this myself.
Yes, you can do this yourself.
The problem is things aren’t as straightforward as they seem. You might hit a roadblock when
- Search engines update how the algorithm works
- Your traffic drops significantly
- You website disappears in search result pages
- You can make mistakes, or some problems emerge, such as keyword cannibalization or irresponsive design.
An experienced freelance SEO consultant knows how to get your website back on track as soon as possible so the traffic and sales don’t drop for too long.
And that brings us to the most question to ask.
Why Should I hire a SEO consultant?
SEO is rewarding, and the dividend can last for as long as your business exists. If you build a lot of traffic, you can convert those to subscribers and create your email list. That list is yours, and you can sell products to them forever.
In the short term, a lot of traffic can translate to many sales.
You want to invest in an SEO consultant for the following reasons:
#1. Create long-term marketing solutions
A professional can observe trends and patterns. Then, when they create content or start working, they can create long-term results. So you can command a great percentage of traffic now and in the coming years. If you build on what the expert has started, you can get the largest traffic share and remain an authority in your niche.
#2. Get lots of traffic in a short-term
A professional will usually get the result faster than you can do. This is because they’ve been doing it for a while, which gives them the expertise. If things don’t work, they can adjust plans faster than you because they know what to do.
#3. Take the burden off your shoulders
You can be good at a lot of things. However, you can’t be good at everything. So SEO consultant does SEO for a living. When you hire one, you give yourself the time to focus on other things in your business while the professional work on SEM.
#4. Learn what they are doing
SEM can be monitored in detail from traffic to views to conversion, unlike TV ads or radio ads which even cost more. Hiring an SEO consultant can serve as a master class in learning SEO. Use tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Consoles to monitor what the professionals are doing. Then learn how to do the same.
Check for things like:
- Backlinks, how and where
- Page design and website responsiveness
- Source of traffic
- Where they are sharing content online
Soon enough, you will have a fair knowledge of how to get more traffic and more sales through SEO.
#5. Get more services than SEM.
Most professionals don’t start with SEO as a service or have other skills that could mean a lot to your business. Some of these skills include:
- Creating Google ads
- Content marketing
- Designing landing pages
- Working on pay per click ads
- Social media marketing
I am a freelance SEO writer, but I started as a storyteller. I tend to think of your website content as a story by giving readers a beginning, middle, and end when reading or engaging with my content. So they are hooked earlier, follow the process, and land in a deep understanding of the solution.
How to Hire an SEO Consultant
Choosing the best SEO consultant is not an easy thing. There are so many agencies and professionals that it is difficult to know who to trust.
These are the questions to ask and steps to take:
- Hire someone who has proof. Reviews, comments, and referrals can serve as proof if they are coming from trusted people. Sadly, proof can be fabricated.
- Ask for recommendations from people you trust.
- Hire an SEO consultant from job boards. If they are getting sales and reviews, it means they are giving results to their clients.
- Ask for their website link. Check the website link with Moz or Ahref. You want to see the number of backlinks they have. Check the page authority of some of their content.
- Ask for the websites of previous clients. Then, you can check for the amount of traffic or backlinks. You must be careful and ask for proof of work. You don’t know if this person achieved those results, except you get a quote from a client endorsing his service.
- Most importantly, check the number of visitors on their website in the past 3 months. Some things such as backlinks, Moz Domain Authority, and Page authority can be achieved through the black hat techniques, but the number of visitors should correspond. If you are gaming the process, you should at least have results to show for it.
- Let them break down their process to you. A professional consultant can’t accurately tell how many visitors you will get. They can’t guarantee you will become number one on the search engine result page after certain months. However, they can describe their process and give you some level of assurance.
- Check job boards. Here you will see what people are saying about the consultant. Choose those who have many reviews. The more, the better. You can hire SEO freelancer on Upwork.
What am I doing wrong in Search Engine Marketing?
Maybe you have started working on your SEO strategy, but you are not getting the results you wanted. This is one of the reasons you should hire an SEO consultant because it is his job to figure out what you are not doing, right?
Most likely, you don’t have a strategy in the first place. You don’t perform keyword research, create a content strategy, or work on your site architecture. You don’t plan on making a topic cluster, and you have a short-term plan, forgetting that Google or Bing will update their algorithm and your competitors are not sleeping.
How to do SEO myself step by step
Yes, you can, and I am about to explain to the best of my ability.
Please answer the following questions:
- What industry are you in?
- Who is your target audience?
- What are the problems they are facing?
I will show you how to answer these questions effectively?
What industry are you in?
Let’s say you are a phone seller. Your industry is the technology > gadgets > phones. This is the time to name your competitors. Look at what they are doing and what’s working for them. The SEO tools like Moz and Ahref can help.
Who is your target audience?
Use as many details as you can come up with:
- Their income
- Their interest
- The location
- Their language
- Most importantly, their goals
- And problems
You can find this on the internet depending on how you go about it.
What are the problems they are facing?
In this case, check r/phones or Reddit and phone-related groups on Quora.
Go to Reddit or quora. Go to the thread or group that is focused on what you do?
Look at the patterns in the questions people are asking online.
You can see the questions and threads. You have to spend days doing this. Pick the threads that have the most discussions and check the terms people use.
Focus on terms or short-tail keywords. Collect as much you can. Collect between 20 to 100.
You can also type terms into the search boxes on social media platforms to bring more short-tail keywords.
Type each of the short-tail keywords in the following places:
- Google search – look at what Google suggests. Write down the long-tail keywords you can find. Then, write the suggestions and FAQs.
- Check the long-tail keywords on tools like Ahref and Moz.
- Use Google keyword planner to collect long-tail keywords
- Type short tail keyword into Keyword.io. Look at the suggestions.
- Check them with SEO tools like Ahref or Moz. You want to know how difficult it is to rank for each long-tail keywords and the volume of search per month.
By now, you have a list of keywords. You should have between 100 to 400 long-tail keywords. The list is a mixture of hot topics, trends, and common controversial topics.
Group the topics into the three stages of marketing
These are the “what is” questions. Example: what is SEO? The topics in this stage tend to enlighten your audience about something they don’t know.
These are common “what should I” questions. The readers tend to consider things. They are close to making a purchase, but they want more information before bringing out their card.
Example: 10 phones with good cameras.
The post you’re reading falls under the consideration stage. The right audience of this post already knows what SEO is all about, but they are considering taking an important step: should I hire a SEO consultant or not?
These are questions that show the reader wants to take action.
Example: Where can I buy a phone near me?
Create a content strategy
Plan your content creation, indicating when, how, and who will write on each topic. Include the keyword to use, what tools or research you need to use, etc. You can use a spreadsheet for this purpose.
Work on your site architecture
This article explains how your website should look like. You can hire a web developer to help you if you don’t know to go about it. The aim is to make it easy for users and crawlers to understand and go around the website.
When writing content, you want to focus on what the readers want to read. Therefore, understand the search intent before you write.
Install tools like Rank Math or Yoast Plugin on your website to guide you in what you need to do. These tools just guide. What they say isn’t entirely the standard for getting ranked. So follow it, but don’t be hard on what you see on the suggestions over the experience you want the reader to have.
Share your content
This is simple, but I want to remind you to avoid cases of duplicate content.
Do not copy and paste the same content on another platform directly. Search Engines might pick and rank one of the two, and it might not be where it first appeared (your website). Instead, share an excerpt or anecdote.
I love how Ahref explains how to build backlinks. You can also do your research and write guest posts for other websites.
Repurpose your contents
Repurpose your blog contents to
You must create videos. People like them because they are faster to consume. Hire a designer if you have to.
Next, create something that adds more value to your buyers. Then give it out for free.
- Video lectures
Repeat the process over and over.
Use tools to observe your progress or what you need to improve. You can use:
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- An SEO tool of your choice: Surfer SEO, Moz, Ahref, etc.
An SEO plan for small business owners without spending a lot of money
As a small business owner, you are busy with little budget. So I suggest you go about SEO strategy this way:
- Find the list of keywords you want to rank for
- Invest in tools like surfer SEO or Yoast
- Create a content strategy on a spreadsheet
- Hire writers that could write around those keywords
- Probably create a template of how you want the content to look like (Yoast or Surfer can be handy here)
- Once you have your articles, use Copyscape to check articles
- Post the contents
- Share the content
- Build the backlinks
The main thing here is that you can outsource the actual writing to other people or content creation. You can still delegate some of these steps to people who can do it.
I can usually help create content strategies, topic clusters, or writing. Use the contact form above if you’re interested.
Increase the amount of targeted traffic in the next 6 months.
Although you aim to build a hub where your audience can find solutions to all their problems, you need to monitor the results regularly and improve what you have.
You want to write unique content at all times and consistently. Always think of the great platform you wish to develop, a home where your audience will find almost all answers to all their questions.
Can I do it yourself, or should I hire a SEO consultant?
By now, after reading this post, only you can answer that.
If you need an SEO writer and want to take your marketing to a greater height, you can always message me.