SEO is an entire market in and of itself, and if you lack SEO knowledge you will need to find an expert. Keep in mind, though, that not all SEO’s were created equally. Some SEO’s seem to throw a variety of common techniques and practices at the wall, just hoping something sticks. Others actually have proven experience helping their clients capture masses of free, organic traffic. Arguably, SEO is more of an art than a science, and you will need to find an SEO that meets certain criteria to get the best ROI on your investment. The following are qualities and conditions you should consider before moving forward.
The first thing you want to look for in an SEO expert that will help your business succeed is experience. This one should be a no-brainer, because experience is often the first thing people consider in any given field. You need to know how long your SEO has been working in this field and if you forget to ask, you might find yourself full of regrets as you hand a green SEO newbie or unqualified college student the reigns to your online marketing campaign.
- Ethical Practices
Ethics and business go hand-in-hand. How many disastrous scenarios have we heard about regarding businesses that tried to cut corners, lie, cheat, or steal? In the end, they always fail and get caught. Strong morals and ethics is the foundation that all successful businesses are built upon. Without strong ethics, even the mightiest corporations will crumble to dust in the blink of an eye, and SEO businesses are no exception.
In the past few years, Google has made a point of identifying websites that engage in unethical practices to work the system for better rankings. They brought the hammer down on websites that spammed links, created worthless content as a means to boost ranking signals, or cheated the Google algorithm with techniques like cloaking (lying to the search engine bots about the content on your site). To find the best SEO, make sure you ask them if they use these techniques.
- Their Views on Content Marketing
You will doubtlessly want to find an SEO with solid opinions about content marketing. For many websites, content is everything. There is an old adage that internet marketers like to say that still holds true even after the latest Google algorithm updates. “Content is king,” and low quality content or content not targeting your audience isn’t going to do you much good in the long run.
Additionally, consider that without quality content, few websites will create backlinks to your site. Many of the previously accepted link building techniques are now deprecated due to Google updates. The whole reason Google implemented these changes was to clean up the internet by reducing the visibility and relevancy of websites with poor content. And it would seem that they succeeded in their endeavors.
- A Complete, Well Rounded Knowledge of the Field
There are countless aspects of SEO, and finding someone with a comprehensive knowledge of SEO is paramount to your business’s success. You need someone who sees the big picture to ensure that everything is being done to effectively drive traffic to your site. Some professionals are very pigeon-holed in their approach to search engine optimization. They believe that if they specialize in one certain aspect of SEO, that they can increase their skills and value to their customers. That simply isn’t true. For a start, you will want someone who knows the ins and outs of website design, keyword research, content marketing, Facebook advertising, and how to audit your site to gain a picture of your current situation.
- Communication Skills
As with other areas of business, communication is key. Although, good communication skills seem like they are in short supply, especially within the technical community. Sometimes it is challenging to explain technical processes and translate complex jargon to a nontechnical person. If you want to reap benefits from your investment in SEO, you will need to find someone who can keep you updated and informed. Opportunities come and go, new trends are constantly emerging, and technology will never cease evolving. For these reasons, your SEO needs to constantly communicate in simple English with you in a timely manner to provide you updates on the fly.
Project management and collaboration platforms, such as BaseCamp, aid communication among any number of parties. If your SEO isn’t using advanced tools to manage one-on-one or group communications, you may want to reconsider. There are simply too many benefits from advancements in collaboration technologies to not use them.
- A Thirst and Ability to Learn New Concepts
If you are planning on building a long term relationship with the right SEO, they will need to be able to pick up new concepts quickly. Internet technologies change in the blink of an eye, and new exciting opportunities are constantly surfacing. That’s just the nature of the Internet. Your SEO will need to keep a sharp mind to adapt to the latest and greatest trends. The ability to learn on the fly is a character trait your SEO must have.
Finding an SEO with these skills isn’t easy, but they do exist. If you are currently working with someone who lacks any of these traits, it may be time to reconsider your options. The success of online businesses relies heavily on quality SEO expertise.