FREE Strategy Session

Apply today for your complimentary strategy session.

Apply Now

Mesto za lupicu

Choosing the Right SEO Consultant and the Right Set of SEO Services

Over the nearly two decades of its existence in one incarnation or another, SEO has gone through so many changes and has been a subject of so many different controversies, that the general perception of this, we’ll strive to prove, useful activity has been skewed by sensationalism and paranoia from the outside, as well as some bad apples from inside the industry.

In the interest of ensuring that your experience with Search Engine Optimization is a positive one, we have decided to compose a manifesto of sorts detailing what it is, how you can benefit from it, and how not to let false promises manipulate you into hiring an unreliable, unethical, or unprofessional SEO consultant.

What is SEO?

There are numerous definitions of SEO out there, but the truth is, you should only be interested in the one held to be true by the provider of SEO services you are thinking about hiring. For instance, while some will talk a big game, stating how they believe that SEO is a “comprehensive set of inbound marketing services meant to ensure better rankings, site traffic, user engagement and conversions”, in reality, the work they actually do once you make the mistake of hiring them suggests they actually believe SEO is a bit of link building complemented with exquisite report stuffing skills.

Even if you only take a look at reputable providers of SEO services and try to get their opinion on the matter, the answers you’ll get can differ to a great degree. For instance, while everyone will agree that the purpose of SEO is to make your site more visible to search engine crawlers, which is meant to ensure more organic search traffic, some will disagree on whether they should also worry about how many conversions your landing page will bring; how this will reflect on your overall revenue; how steps taken as a part of an overall SEO strategy will impact the perception of your brand and its message, etc.

We’ll let others make their claims and promises, and instead of hiding in vagaries and generalizations, explain what we strive to attain for our clients.

Our Definition

Being in the industry for a while now, we have developed a deep appreciation for the fact that getting a page or a site to the first page of Google results doesn’t necessarily bring prosperity to the lucky client, and while our part of the contract may be fulfilled at that point, there is a lot more to be done if we want to proudly and deservedly flaunt our title of “comprehensive solutions provider”.

That’s why, aside from offering the typical range of SEO services, including but not limited to onsite optimization, link building, influencer outreach, keywords and competition analysis, and so on, we also try to make sure that our work complements the rest of your marketing efforts. This is to say that the content we create and syndicate in your name will follow your desired and already defined brand identity and voice, and that it will be developed as a part of a broader content marketing strategy, not just as an isolated keyword carrier; that we won’t just focus on getting visitors to your site, but also on providing them with an enjoyable experience and a reason to convert or recommend your site to other people; that we’ll target your marketing efforts on people most likely to actually be interested in what you are offering, drastically increasing your ROI and preventing waste; and that we will do everything else that might be required to ensure that your business thrives.

This might sound a bit promotional, but it’s not our fault that our standards are ridiculously high and our love of truth and transparency absolute, after all, you wouldn’t want us to lie to you just for the sake of false modesty, and say that our services are anything less than exceptional, right?

Penguins and Pandas in the Land of False Promises

So, while the question “Whom should I hire to do my SEO?” only has one real answer, i.e. us; if you somehow still need more guidance when it comes to choosing a reliable SEO services provider, we might have to take a different approach, and also answer what kind of agencies you should definitely try to stay clear of.

The best way to recognize deceitful or simply uninformed SEO agencies is to listen to the promises they are making. While SEO is a data driven discipline, it is far from being exact. It’s based on speculations derived from numerous observations, experiments, and only teases of information coming from Google. This means that there are only a few guarantees that you can dare to make in this business, and they mostly concern the bad stuff. In other words, while you can be quite sure that the mass production of suspicious links is guaranteed to grant you an introduction to Google’s Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird headed Cerberus on your way to Google Hell, there are no such guarantees when it comes to reaching page one of search results.

That’s why anyone making similar promises, especially if they also give you a deadline, is either:

a)

intending to deceive you, by promising rankings for long tail keywords which they might actually manage to deliver, but which won’t do you any good as no one is looking for those phrases

b)

dealing with black hat tactics, some of which still sometimes manage to produce quick results, but which are invariably detected and dealt with promptly

c)

have no idea what they’re talking about

So, what can you promise?

The truth is that SEO can be a lengthy process, which can take a while to produce impressive results when it comes to rankings. There are immediate and guaranteed benefits, such as onsite or content optimization, which are guided but not dependent on your competitors or whims of the search engine you are trying to charm; but when it comes to your position in search, it is determined by a huge number of factors, most of which cannot be controlled by an SEO agency, no matter how good.

When looking for a consultant, we recommend going with one:

1

who will never take chances with suspicious links

2

who can, after an initial audit of your website, its content and backlinks, provide you with a detailed overview of the actions they are planning to take and the benefits those actions are supposed to bring

3

who is transparent in reporting, and quick to address your concerns

4

who has conducted successful campaigns for different clients, preferably some in your niche

5

who can set milestones and give a broad timeframe of the campaign rollout

6

who can demonstrate their value and justify their fees through a clear Key Performance Indicators analysis

Do I need SEO?

If you are running a commercially oriented website, yes, you could benefit from at least one of the aspects of SEO. If you are a small, young business, you can benefit from promotion and content development services; if you are a large and well-known corporation, you definitely need to be thinking about onsite optimization, particularly inner linking, canonicalization, information structure and overall site performance; if you think that any part of your online marketing strategy is lacking – social networks management, PPC efforts, building relationships with influencers in the target community, you can consult an SEO agency and have them centralize your online marketing strategy.

Naturally, most businesses out there won’t be able to benefit from each and every particular SEO service offered by an agency. For instance, while every site needs onsite optimization, with some this just means getting the meta elements in order and doing some minor tweaking, while for others, for example large ecommerce sites, this means ‘round the clock adjustments and maintenance.
This is why most agencies who care about the needs of their clients offer fragmented SEO services, which you can combine into packages according to your site’s requirements. Once you start negotiating a contract with an agency, if you are not sure what services you are after, you can decide by starting from the benefits you need. To make it easier for you, we’ve listed some of the most common goals, along with examples of services that can help you achieve them.

BENEFITS

Rankings and Increased
Organic Traffic

Let’s start with the obvious one. With even the most superficial research, you can come across numbers showing that a huge portion of all traffic to different websites comes from organic search; as well as those illustrating the importance of being in the first three results on SERP. If the rest of the site and your visitor conversion funnel are in order, more traffic means more customers, and that tends to be a good thing.

Services: pretty much all of them have organic traffic increase at least as a secondary goal, but if you need specific ones – onsite optimization, link building, influencer outreach, optimization for local search, content development and syndication and social media campaigns are some you might want to look into.

Increased Brand
Recognisability and
Authority

We’ve already mentioned that respectable SEO consultants don’t treat the content they are publishing in your name like its only purpose is to carry keywords. They know it also carries your brand’s message, that it builds the public’s perception of your business, your expertise, and your credibility. It is not enough for people to know your brand name, they need to trust it, to associate it with reliability and resourcefulness. You can’t achieve this without opening a conversation with your audience and colleagues, and that’s exactly what SEO is all about.

Services: Again, most of them, but mostly content development and promotion, influencer outreach, social media activity, competitor analysis and link building.

Site Usability

It’s no secret that page loading speed is one of the major ranking factors, and more importantly, one of the major influences on your visitor retention rates. On its own, it can significantly increase your bounce rates. Now just imagine what happens when loading times are just one of several usability problems with your site. You know how it works, if you don’t offer what people need, in the most convenient package possible, they will easily find it elsewhere. That’s why SEO is about users at least as much as it is about crawlers, if not more so (of course, what suits the former is approved of by the latter).

Services: Onsite optimization, information architecture, competitor research.

Targeted Marketing

If you’ve made a smart choice when choosing your SEO agency, you should be able to expect them to direct their efforts towards those segments of the global audience that you are most interested in. This usually means people with the greatest potential to become customers somewhere down the line. This way you’ll waste less money and energy on trying to promote your brand to people who are simply not likely to ever become interested.

Services: Link building, social network activity, influencer outreach, content development and promotion, lead generation, PPC campaign management, competitor and market research.

Cost-effective

When provided by a professional agency, SEO services are one of the most cost-effective methods of getting the word about your brand around. In part, this is thanks to the great flexibility of campaigns and strategies. In other words, you can only ask for the services that you can afford, or the ones that you absolutely need at the moment, and delay the more extensive campaigns for once you have the means of implementing them. This is why, if you carefully identify the areas which need improvement the most, you can get amazing results with a negligible investment.

Services: Link building, influencer outreach, social media promotion, onsite optimization, UX improvements, optimization for mobile search.

Edge over Competition

You know how any given market usually sets itself into a delicate balance. The slightest changes can cause major disruptions, and while existing in such a turbulent system can be nerve-racking at times, it can also provide amazing opportunities, as long as you know how to ride the waves. One of the ways to gain a significant advantage over your competitors is to make sure that you are investing more in SEO than they are.

Services: Competitor research, market research, keyword research, all promotional methods – social, influencers, blogging; conversion rate optimization, onsite optimization, UX optimization, local SEO, public relations, and practically every other SEO service.

Buying Cycle
Improvements

If you are more or less satisfied with the number of visitor you are getting, but not with their readiness to convert, again, SEO might be just what you need. While some will deny responsibility for this part of site optimization, more versatile companies will see Conversion Rate Optimization as an obligatory part of their offer. Simply put, the former believe that their only responsibility is bringing visitors to your website, while the latter also care about whether the increased traffic actually has any tangible value, like increased revenues or consumer engagement.

Services: Onsite optimization, landing page optimization, email campaigns, content development.

A Bag of Nice Surprises

All of the steps within a carefully planned and executed strategy have their exact purpose, however, some of them have secondary beneficial effects as well. For instance, an SEO agency can create a particular link in order to boost your image with the search engine, but that link might also benefit you by directing a huge amount of traffic to your site. They might sort your onsite, which will, in turn, also resonate with users. Publish an article which will attract the attention of a major influencer, etc. The point is, a well conducted SEO strategy opens you up to a number of benefits that you weren’t after specifically, but which can nevertheless immensely help your promotional efforts.

Services: Each and every one.

BENEFITS

ikonoca

Rankings and Increased
Organic Traffic

Let’s start with the obvious one. With even the most superficial research, you can come across numbers showing that a huge portion of all traffic to different websites comes from organic search; as well as those illustrating the importance of being in the first three results on SERP. If the rest of the site and your visitor conversion funnel are in order, more traffic means more customers, and that tends to be a good thing.

Services: pretty much all of them have organic traffic increase at least as a secondary goal, but if you need specific ones – onsite optimization, link building, influencer outreach, optimization for local search, content development and syndication and social media campaigns are some you might want to look into.

ikonoca

Increased Brand Recognisability
and Authority

We’ve already mentioned that respectable SEO consultants don’t treat the content they are publishing in your name like its only purpose is to carry keywords. They know it also carries your brand’s message, that it builds the public’s perception of your business, your expertise, and your credibility. It is not enough for people to know your brand name, they need to trust it, to associate it with reliability and resourcefulness. You can’t achieve this without opening a conversation with your audience and colleagues, and that’s exactly what SEO is all about.

Services: Again, most of them, but mostly content development and promotion, influencer outreach, social media activity, competitor analysis and link building.

icon

Site Usability

It’s no secret that page loading speed is one of the major ranking factors, and more importantly, one of the major influences on your visitor retention rates. On its own, it can significantly increase your bounce rates. Now just imagine what happens when loading times are just one of several usability problems with your site. You know how it works, if you don’t offer what people need, in the most convenient package possible, they will easily find it elsewhere. That’s why SEO is about users at least as much as it is about crawlers, if not more so (of course, what suits the former is approved of by the latter).

Services: Onsite optimization, information architecture, competitor research.

icon

Targeted Marketing

If you’ve made a smart choice when choosing your SEO agency, you should be able to expect them to direct their efforts towards those segments of the global audience that you are most interested in. This usually means people with the greatest potential to become customers somewhere down the line. This way you’ll waste less money and energy on trying to promote your brand to people who are simply not likely to ever become interested.

Services: Link building, social network activity, influencer outreach, content development and promotion, lead generation, PPC campaign management, competitor and market research.

icon

Cost-effective

When provided by a professional agency, SEO services are one of the most cost-effective methods of getting the word about your brand around. In part, this is thanks to the great flexibility of campaigns and strategies. In other words, you can only ask for the services that you can afford, or the ones that you absolutely need at the moment, and delay the more extensive campaigns for once you have the means of implementing them. This is why, if you carefully identify the areas which need improvement the most, you can get amazing results with a negligible investment.

Services: Link building, influencer outreach, social media promotion, onsite optimization, UX improvements, optimization for mobile search.

icon

Edge over Competition

You know how any given market usually sets itself into a delicate balance. The slightest changes can cause major disruptions, and while existing in such a turbulent system can be nerve-racking at times, it can also provide amazing opportunities, as long as you know how to ride the waves. One of the ways to gain a significant advantage over your competitors is to make sure that you are investing more in SEO than they are.

Services: Competitor research, market research, keyword research, all promotional methods – social, influencers, blogging; conversion rate optimization, onsite optimization, UX optimization, local SEO, public relations, and practically every other SEO service.

icon

Buying Cycle Improvements

If you are more or less satisfied with the number of visitor you are getting, but not with their readiness to convert, again, SEO might be just what you need. While some will deny responsibility for this part of site optimization, more versatile companies will see Conversion Rate Optimization as an obligatory part of their offer. Simply put, the former believe that their only responsibility is bringing visitors to your website, while the latter also care about whether the increased traffic actually has any tangible value, like increased revenues or consumer engagement.

Services: Onsite optimization, landing page optimization, email campaigns, content development.

icon

A Bag of Nice Surprises

All of the steps within a carefully planned and executed strategy have their exact purpose, however, some of them have secondary beneficial effects as well. For instance, an SEO agency can create a particular link in order to boost your image with the search engine, but that link might also benefit you by directing a huge amount of traffic to your site. They might sort your onsite, which will, in turn, also resonate with users. Publish an article which will attract the attention of a major influencer, etc. The point is, a well conducted SEO strategy opens you up to a number of benefits that you weren’t after specifically, but which can nevertheless immensely help your promotional efforts.

Services: Each and every one.

Final Verdict

Regardless of how informed or careful you are when choosing an SEO consultant, it’s only after you’ve seen them work that you can really know if they are the right fit for you. If they are transparent in their reporting, you can easily decide if you like what you’re getting, or if you should insist on some changes.
At this point, we’d like to remind you, the customer, what we’ve been trying to keep our colleagues aware of – SEO is not just about the rankings. If you are starting off with a new agency, and your rankings are not skyrocketing after a couple of months, that shouldn’t be cause for alarm. First of all, unless in the most ideal of cases, it takes quite a bit of time for drastic rankings changes; and secondly, there may be numerous other benefits that you might be receiving from your new cooperation, that might not be as obvious as a change in SERP positions. In the interest of objectively assessing your SEO consultants, compose a list of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that you consider important, see if the agency you’ve hired is capable of improving them and whether it’s realistic to expect improvements in that area in the first place, and continue estimating the work they are doing for you based on that set of standards.

Naturally, if you would rather avoid the whole conundrum, and go with someone proven to be reliable, you can simply hire us and relax.

REQUEST A CONFIDENTIAL CALL

Get in contact to reserve a confidential site assessment with one of our experts.

Mez Homayunfard

Managing Director

"Get in contact to reserve a confidential site assessment with one of our experts."

Fill in the form below and we will contact you shortly