Picture this: You’ve been trying to find a Search Engine Consultant who truly speaks your language for so long now that you’re just about ready to give up.
After all, every time you go to a new search specialist with high hopes of rapid results and remarkable R.O.I., you find yourself coming back with little more than disappointment and frustration.
Don’t worry. You’re not alone.
Scores of business owners find themselves running into the proverbial brickwall when trying to find the right support with the Search Engine Optimisation and Search Marketing campaigns, often believing that if they shell out enough cash, top SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rankings should be a given.
Where are these businesses going wrong?
What’s the missing ingredient to finally getting the results you need from a search consultancy and how can you get it?
Today, we’re going to address both of these questions as we look at the main reasons your previous SEO consultants haven’t worked out, and what you can do to ensure your next one does.
The Missing Ingredient
What if I told you that the’s one simple thing you can do right now to improve the way you work with search specialists?
There is, and here’s how it works:
They say that knowledge is power, and when it comes to negotiating with a Search Engine Consultant, that’s certainly true.
The more you know about search, the way search engines determine SERP rankings, and the way search companies work to influence those rankings, the more you’ll be able to set realistic, achievable goals that you and your consultant can work together to achieve.
What Do You Need to Know to Improve the Results You Get From Your Search Consultancy?
Of course, it’s all well and good with me telling you to increase what you know about search, but let’s face it:
We’re talking about such a huge subject here that you could spend all day researching everything from Rankbrain to paid search and still find yourself no closer to getting the results you need from your consultancy.
Next, we’ll look at the three key things you really need to know.
1: What Are Your Concrete Actionable Business Goals?
The more you know about what you actually want to achieve, the easier it’s going to be for your search consultancy to help you achieve it.
Look at your business and your website and ask yourself as any questions as you need to in order to determine:
- Where you are (size of your business, traffic levels, etc)
- Where you ultimately want to be.
The more answers you can come up with, the better you’ll be able to answer one critical question:
What do I actually want to achieve with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?
The answer to this question should not be vague or unclear in any way.
For example, ‘getting to the top of Google’ might sound like the ultimate goal, but if you don’t know the keywords and phrases that you want to reach the top of Google for, your consultant can do very little for you.
Sure, they might, for example, ensure you rank highly for a certain keyword, but if nobody is searching for that keyword, then nobody is going to visit your website and make a purchase, thus you’ve essentially wasted your investment.
Instead, think about which search queries are actually going to produce profit for your business, and work from there.
What it boils down to is this:
When you have a clear, concrete goal (rather than a vague idea about 'getting on Google'), you are much better equipped to tell a consultant exactly what you want and they, in turn, are much better equipped to deliver it.
Likewise, when you know what you want, you know how valuable that is to your business and how much you’re prepared to pay for that result.
This can be a big help when it comes to agreeing on a price with your Search Engine Consultant.
2: How Search Works
Again, SEO and SEM (Search Engine Optimisation) are such vast subjects that it would likely take you years to develop an expert knowledge of every single aspect of them, but that’s not what we’re aiming for here.
Instead, we’re aiming for a good understanding of the differences between black hat and white hat SEO, of how long it typically takes to start seeing results from your search efforts, and how to best prepare your vital website content to achieve greater congruence with Google’s search algorithms.
Why Learn About Search?
Look, I get it:
The reason you’re thinking of working with a search consultant in the first place is so that you don’t have to learn all this stuff, right?
But here’s the thing:
Knowledge is power, remember?
When you have at least a basic knowledge of how search works, you arm yourself with the power to know which SEO specialists are being honest and upfront with you, and which ones are simply out to wrangle money out of you.
This is important too, because there are those search companies who will make promises that they simply can’t keep, charge you up front for work they simply can’t deliver, or, worse yet, use black hat (unethical) tactics that actually cause more harm to your SERP ranking than good.
With a little knowledge, you’ll be able to avoid these companies, and understand that when a company makes realistic promises about search results taking time to improve and about the kind of ethical tactics they’ll use to achieve results, you’re dealing with a firm you can trust.
Speaking of all things relating to ethics and trust that brings us on to the third and final thing you really need to know to improve the results you get from your search consultant.
3: Whether a Search Consultancy is Ethical
Nobody wants to be associated with a company who use unethical tactics to influence results.
In the world of search, being associated with an unethical ‘black hat’ company does more than just damage your reputation – it could also see your website penalised by major search engines and ranked lower in search results.
So, how do you know whether or not you’re working with an ethical search company?
Here’s a few pointers:
Black Hat vs. White Hat Agencies
Whilst some black hat companies will take advantage of a client’s lack of search know-how in order to charge extortionate prices for work that may actually get them penalized by Google rather than promoted, an ethical, white hat company puts your interests first, charges fairly, and makes realistic promises about what can, and can’t be achieved.
An ethical search engine consultant will not sell upfront just to get your money, but will instead help you to determine the best approach for your campaign and work with you to achieve long-term success.
An ethical search engine consultant will draft a strategy tailored specifically to your business. They will only do this after taking the time to fully understand your business methodology, and will always discuss the strategy with you before finalizing it.
Keeping You Informed
An ethical search engine consultant will always explain to you how search marketing trends and visitor behavior influence your campaign, and how keyword response criteria plays a vital role in ensuring the results you need.
An ethical search engine consultant will encourage you to make improvements in your web assets (website pages) and explain how this can further improve your search results.
An ethical search engine consultant will draft a detailed proposal describing services, strategies, figures, methods, explanations, approach, results.
An ethical search engine consultant will be consistent in and comprehensive when reporting results, and will and make recommendations on approaches to search marketing from 360-degree perspective.
Ultimately, arming yourself with even a little knowledge in these three areas can go a long way in improving the results you see from working with a search consultant.
When you achieve those results, I’d love to hear from you about your experience.
If you’re unhappy with your existing search consultants, why not get in touch and leave me a comment. I’d be glad to make alternative suggestions and provide tips on how to better improve your site and your search results.
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