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Freelance SEO consultant: What does he do and how do you choose him?

What does an SEO consultant do?

The terms of “SEO consultant”, “SEO Expert” or “SEO specialist” designate a person specializing in optimizing and promoting a site in search engine pages, with the key purpose of positioning the site as best in the first page of results and improve traffic.

In general, the work of an SEO consultant consists of:

  • Recommendations on technical aspects that prevent the correct indexing of site pages or that impede the site’s evolution in search engine results pages.
  • Optimizing Site Pages: Optimizing Meta tags, optimizing source code, optimizing text, optimizing images, video, optimizing internal linking, optimizing URLs, site structure…
  • Deploy a Link building strategy (links from other sites to your website/backlinks)

Objectives of an SEO consultant

Follow 5 basic Benefits:

  • Correct indexing of web pages
  • Improving and streamlining the visitor’s interaction with the website
  • The best positioning of the site on keywords that bring traffic from organic (natural) results from the Google results page
  • Attracting visitors targeted
  • Increased organic traffic (originated from search engines)

SEO Consultant vs. SEM Consultant

The terms of SEO consultant/SEO Expert and SEM consultant Birmingham are often used as synonymous terms.

There is a significant difference between them. SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is a wider domain where are included SEO, PPC, Social Media Marketing…

One can also speak of Search Engine Marketing Management which includes both SEO and PPC, but which is focus much more on ROI (return on investment).

What tasks do not go into the duties of an SEO Consultant?

The SEO consultant benefits from the know-how and will give you theoretical and practical guides to implement for the site to be as well indexed and positioned in search engine pages.

The SEO consultant is not a programmer, so do not enter into his duties on-site implementation (creation of new pages, implementation of redirects and any other actions related to modifying the source code or functionality of the site).

Of course, there are also programmers who have SEO knowledge or there are SEO consultants who also have programming skills, but this is usually negotiated separately. Although I can help with on-site optimisation.

The SEO consultant is not a Marketing consultant.

He ranks your website, brings you targeted traffic on the site, gives you usability and design tips so that visitors can browse the website better and easily find the information they want, tell you how to show a text that sells, but do not confuse online marketing with the traditional one.

There are many aspects in common between the two, but also differences.

Of course, most consultants in Search Engine Optimisation also have knowledge of marketing, but you must be aware that there are two different trades.

SEO Consultant is not a copywriter.

It should handle the optimisation of the texts created by the copywriter or to propose to the copywriter various topics of articles, according to users ‘ searches.

Of course, there can be people specialising in both trades.

The SEO consultant increases the number of visitors to the website, but converting visitors into clients is the strategies of a consultant in optimizing the conversion rate.

A larger number of visitors to the website does not guarantee you a larger number of customers.

There may be countless reasons why users leave the site without making a conversion (product order, offer request, newsletter subscription): descriptions of products or services that do not attract users or who do not offer sufficient information, pictures of poor quality, lack of confidence, prices higher than the competition… etc.

How do you distinguish a professional SEO Consultant by an amateur?

Experience makes the difference! The experience translates into the field, through the complexity and diversity of the managed projects.

Attention, it is very easy to boast with X years of experience in SEO, with examples of sites optimized successfully; Ask for proof and references!

From the perspective of the experience in the field, we can talk about junior, senior or Expert  SEO Consultant.

An SEO expert does not have to be a web designer or programmer, but it is essential that he knows several aspects/methods related to Web design and web development for efficient optimization of sites.

One example, to better understand what I mean: all platforms boast that they are SEO friendly, but all have loads of aspects to be improved.

The SEO consultant must be able to identify the technical aspects.

Thus, the basic knowledge of HTML, CSS or JavaScript can bring added value to his work.

Many clients ask “Can you get my website first on Google for the X keyword?”. Only amateur SEO consultants will answer “yes”.

Even if that keyword isn’t competitive, you can’t commit to such a promise.

SEO consultants do not have a special relationship with Google.

Professional SEO Consultants will give you examples of successfully promoted sites, will show you details about the evolution of those websites, will tell you what you expect from a specific keyword important to your business.

Before choosing an SEO consultant, here are some questions you can ask:

  • What experience do you have in this field? What projects were you involved in?
  • Can you give me examples of some success stories?
  • What experience do you have in developing and optimizing international sites?
  • Do you comply with Google webmaster guidelines?
  • What are the most important SEO techniques you have?
  • Will you provide detailed information about your recommendations? What about the reasons that they rely on?

What services can you offer as a Consultant in SEO?

The components of an SEO campaign consist of several essential points that can be realized separately or can be fully integrated into the contract:

  • Keyword strategy
  • Technical Audit
  • On-page/on-site optimizations
  • SEO copyrighting
  • Link Building
  • SEO Consultancy before site creation
  • Site migration consultancy on another platform
  • Online competition Analysis
  • Adwords or Social Media ads get into the competencies of an Online Marketing Consultant.

When to get the services of an SEO Consultant?

The best time is when you decide you want to create a website or online store. You will benefit from the tips in choosing the platform, customizing it, website architecture… etc.

If the site is launched, regardless of its age, it is good to optimize it. There’s always room for better.

The sooner you call the services of a consultant, the more time and money you save and take advantage of the benefits of SEO strategies (visibility, popularity, conversions).

How do we choose professional SEO services?

Professional SEO services

Going back to more serious business, let’s see how you can structure SEO services.

OnPage Optimization Services
With an increasing impact, the OnPage optimization component began to become increasingly important.

For a few years now, the focus is not on keywords, but on the subject of content and what it offers as a utility.

Search by keyword reflects materialized intentions in specific topics. Google has started to return results that respond or cover such topics.

This content should hold a specific vocabulary, be structured properly and have a well-set technical part.

The optimisation technique part specifies much more clearly the type of pages, which must be indexed and what not,  some problems with optimising and why they should be solved.

Technical optimisation of the site
Especially the part of crawling and indexing, what we are indexing and how, how we help the crawlers to understand more easily the site and its content, how we favour more profitable indexing of pages, etc.

Also, to be taken into account robots. txt, redirections, 404 pages (or 410), the lack of meta names specifying indexing (rel canonical, Noindex/follow, NOINDEX/nofollow, previous/next for pagination) or speed performance.

It also comes in mobile optimisation, especially on the performance of times for loading speed. Last but not least, the SSL, HTTPS and specific migration, site architecture or internal optimization.

Optimizing the content
It becomes more important the specific vocabulary, structured so that visitors can understand it and, more and more importantly, promote themselves on social networks.

Obviously, when we talk about the content we don’t just refer to the texts, here’s all the material that forms that article, video clips, images, referred to authority sites.

Usually, agencies offer minimal changes, not even basic, limited to the level of knowledge that an agency has.

Offpage Optimization Services
Once Offpage was limited to “link building” as the main source of support to search engines.

With the release of new algorithms that changed the way to position sites in search, link building turned into “communication”.

Communication in order to consolidate the brand, to promote the products but also to obtain a natural way of quality links.

There are content creation strategies that attract this promotion on quality sites, thus obtaining brand mentions and links. Promotion strategies should include and not be limited to SEO campaigns.

Supporting sites through external links
Link building, in the previous form, is especially focused on the volume of backlinks and less on quality.

The overall trend was for pages to receive many external links to pages so that they would be ranked in searches.

Meanwhile, Google has started to devalue pages that have poor quality, which constantly sells links or that are not relevant to the pages to which they send these links.

Promoting content on social networks
Usually, agencies offer likes, hits, links on advertorials and some content to the package.

Although not all content has a chance to receive signals from the social media area, more and more content is created and promoted as “viral”.

This happens because some agencies do not have a strategy for creating and promoting content in the Social media area.

SEO audits, punctual evaluations
Another type of service, which can be purchased from an SEO agency or from an SEO consultant, is the auditing the level of optimisation for search engines.

SEO audits are aimed at general performance evaluations, discovering issues, general recommendations, all of which may be transformed into further performance improvement actions.

When you feel that things do not happen as it should happen, you can appeal to the assessment made by a consultant specializing in optimising sites that give you a second independent opinion on the success of the agency’s optimisation, all in the form of an SEO audit.

SEO audits are used especially for general optimization assessments, ideas and recommendations that would complement the already existing activity.

You can complete and improve the already existing strategy, correct any erroneous decisions or correctly evaluate existing ones.

What type of SEO prices apply to your business?
There should be a correlation between the prices of the SEO services and the benefits of the service itself.

This article shows ~350 Agencies, Consultants, and Freelancers Reveal How Much SEO Costs in 2018

Prices for package and SEO subscriptions
Price packages are somewhat the most popular among agencies, pay little (usually) for a limited set of services, a good part of them are non SEO. In general, packages put price especially on technical support services, monthly SEO monitoring reports, setups and SEO management campaigns.

Especially applicable to small sites or startups. Often, with time, the need grows, so the packages will change.

Subscriptions go especially for periods of time, in which there is a minimum recommended number of months for the SEO campaign.

Customised pricing for SEO services
Preferably for sites that already have SEO campaigns made, but who would like to improve SEO performance.

Prices should be adjusted according to the objectives set, effort to improve performance, site history (various penalties), the proposed SEO strategy.

Price for fulfilling objectives
Although itself is not an effective way to pay some SEO services, some clients want to fulfil clear, chosen objectives: percentage growth of organic traffic, the growth of hits on searches, climbing on better positions for some searches, optimizing content after a specific set of keywords and depends on the customer’s level of SEO knowledge and how he sees the organic growth of traffic, plus the budget allocated to the SEO campaign.

Number sales
Another type of remuneration for the services offered can account for the sales number generated by the organic traffic, a predetermined percentage is the SEO agency or the consultant.

Integrated in the client’s online promotion strategy this way of remuneration can be convenient for both parties… to a point.

Prices per hour
Especially applicable to SEO consultants, but not only, but payment per hour also is a method of paying punctually and beforehand knew the services offered. Sometimes it may seem like an advantage but the problem occurs when the price is set per hour and the number of hours allocated. Not recommended for the SEO area where the need to optimise the site is high.

Final conclusion
Whether it’s an online store or a blog, publishing site or any type of website an SEO promotion strategy should not directly relate to the price but to the services offered, the objectives set and how they are fulfilled.

The position in Google of a keyword is not the most important thing that can be obtained from an SEO agency.

More important are the optimisation strategies, the correct implementation of on-page changes, the recovery of opportunities for searches, the creation of relevant content, the performance of loading speed on both mobile and desktop, the natural growth of the volume of organic traffic defines the success of the obtained results.

“SEO optimisation” is a continuous long-term process, the SEO specialist aiming at the natural growth of organic traffic, brand awareness of the site but also the growth of financial performances in the online environment.