SEO specialist – SEO Expert
How a SEO Specialist can help you grow your business
Think you need a SEO Specialist? You own a business and you want customers. Customers are people who are looking for various products and services. How are they looking for your product or service? What words are they using to search? What can you, as a business owner, do to take advantage of these searches? What’s the best strategy to follow so you can get the results you want, when you want them? These are all questions a SEO specialist can help you answer. And once they do, it will help you increase traffic to your website and, in turn, conversions.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Well, I could answer all these questions without having to pay someone. I’ll do a bit of research and figure it out.” I admire your enthusiasm if that’s the case. Needless to say, I encourage you to do your own research and get a grasp of what this SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is. However, you’ll quickly see that it can get really complicated, very quickly.
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What a SEO Specialist should know
It doesn’t only have to do with the writing, but also with the design and the linking. SEO specialists must be able to tell you how best to set up your website so that it’s SEO-friendly. Furthermore, they must tell you how to effectively link one page to another so that it helps your SEO strategy. That’s not all…but the very basics.
Keep in mind, search engine algorithms change constantly, and so an SEO specialist must keep up with these developments in order to effectively do his/her job. Also, new ways of doing SEO pop-up regularly and a SEO specialist must be aware of them. It’s the only way they’ll be able to test and see what works for each individual business.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is the process you use to optimize your online content so that it becomes visible in search engines’ unpaid results. How do you optimize your content? By doing extensive keyword research to find out how people are searching for your product/service, and including that keyword on a particular page.
Now, ‘include that keyword’ doesn’t mean that you put that keyword 50 times on a page. That’s called ‘keyword stuffing’ and it’s a big no no and Google penalises sites that stuff their pages with keywords.
What you should do when you’re writing content, is to use that keyword naturally in the content of the page. Naturally, isn’t in every sentence, but rather only about 2% of your text in each page.
Neil Patel, one of the top SEO specialists, in his blog post “SEO Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide“, gives a very good overview on what SEO is and how it works.
Help your SEO Specialist by knowing and understanding your target audience
Whether you have an in house SEO specialist or you outsource your SEO, you have to be able to provide the individual or agency with details about your customer. Who is your customer and potential customer? What problems do they encounter and how does your product/service help them? How do they solve these problems now? These questions and many more make up a customer persona. With this information, SEO specialists will be able to conduct extensive research and provide you with quality insights and strategies that will help grow your business.
If you don’t have a detailed customer persona, you have to provide your SEO specialist with time to complete one for you. This is essential. Time is necessary to gather important information. Consequently, that means they will be asking you a lot of questions. Some questions they may and should ask:
- Who are your current clients?
- Can your current client base be segmented into groups?
- Which segment do you want to more of? Why?
- What problems are they experiencing (that your product/service can solve)?
- How are they solving the problem now?
- Where are they online?
- How do they search for a solution?
Whether your SEO specialist is in-house or through an agency, both you and they have to know what their goals and responsibilities are to avoid disappointment by either side. Set KPIs and time-frames from the very beginning of the partnership. Be prepared to answer lots of questions. Ensure you get monthly reports on progress and results, and don’t forget to iterate according to the data. Say your opinion, but allow them to do their job even if you don’t understand what they’re saying. They are the SEO experts after all.
Keyword research is not optional
One of the most important parts of being an SEO specialist is to be able to do extensive keyword research to find how people are searching for your product or service. Think about how you do a Google search. Do you write one word in a search engine or multiple words? Or a question?
There are two different types of keywords long tail keywords and short tail keywords. Long tail keywords are short phrases around 3-5 words, whereas short tail keywords are up to 2 words long. The former tend to have lower search volumes, however are far more detailed and targeted, therefore conversion rates are much higher.
Let’s look at an example. If you search for ‘digital marketing for small business’, you’ll get a slew of articles that discuss all the aspects of digital marketing (website, SEO, influencer marketing, social media, etc). But the results on the first page will give you general information on these different parts of digital marketing.
Whereas, if you search for ‘SEO for small businesses’, the articles you’ll find will only discuss search engine optimization and the various aspects of that. It’s a more targeted search, therefore the results are more targeted to what you’re looking for. Now, you can go one step further and search for ‘local SEO for small businesses’ and find only information for local SEO.
SEO specialists should be able to give you a list of relevant keywords, both long and short tail, that are relevant to your business. From there, whether you have an in-house SEO specialist or working with an agency, they should provide you with a plan on how to use these keywords effectively.
SEO Specialists can advise you on SEO-friendly design and development
A web designer can help you create a beautiful website. A web developer can help you develop that beautiful website. An SEO specialist must be able to tell you whether the beautiful website was developed well-enough so that search engines can efficiently crawl each page, effectively interpret the content and index it in their database.
Therefore, it’s important for an SEO specialist to work closely with a web designer/developer from the very beginning of the development process, so that nothing is built incorrectly or ineffectively. This is the reason why many SEO specialists have also become experts in website design & development.
This is extremely important. Search engines crawl websites so that they can serve the right results to the right people. Therefore, the content on a website should meet the needs of both your customers and search engines so that you reach the top of search results. The right results means that they are the most relevant and valuable to those who are searching for a particular keyword or phrase.
The more an SEO specialist is integrated in the web design process, the better the indexing and ranking on the first page of search results. That’s your goal with SEO, after all – to get the right content in front of the right people so that you get more relevant traffic to your website. More relevant traffic means higher conversions, which means more sales. An SEO specialist should drive sales and help you achieve business goals.
Boost your SEO efforts by being active on relevant social media channels
The basis of any digital marketing effort is to build trust, and that doesn’t happen overnight. An important way to do this is through your brand’s social media presence. By interacting with customers, experts in your industry, and sharing and commenting on relevant content, you build trust. As a result, the possibility of your content being shared when you post or promote it will increase. And this will positively impact your SEO performance. Search engines love to see engagement and interaction with audiences through means other than a website.
While social activity isn’t enough to keep an article ranking well, if it gets shared, you’ll get exposure. If you get comments and engage with your audience, you’ll gain trust. This all helps with your SEO efforts and your overall brand awareness.
And when you do start ranking, it will encourage others to link back to your article, therefore helping you rank better and adding authority to your article. Google will see these links and increase your ranking as it distinguishes you as an ‘expert’ on the particular topic.
An SEO specialist will be able to help you get started with social media. Through the information they gather from the customer persona(s) and the keyword research, SEO specialists can provide you with important feedback on possible ways to engage your future customers.
Black Hat vs White Hat vs Grey Hat
Just like in any profession, there are those who actually care about what they do and there are those who are in it for a quick buck. SEO Specialists who care, are called White Hat SEOs, while the quick buckers are called Black Hat SEOs; and as you may have imagined, the Grey Hat SEOs are those who do a little bit of both.
Black Hat means that the marketer is only concentrating on what search engines want, completely ignoring what the target audience wants. Remember how at the beginning of this post I discussed how important it is to know your target audience? Well, black hat SEOs don’t really care about that. They care only about making money fast and not about long term results and the effects of their actions.
As an example, on thing Black Hat SEOs do is create content that are stuffed with keywords, without caring about the content being concise and easy to read…by humans. Stuffing content with keywords means search engines will crawl the page and read the keywords. Unfortunately, the problem here is that your page won’t rank like this. And if it does, it’s only temporary. Not only is it temporary, but you’ll also get penalised by search engines, and that’s difficult to recover from.
On the other hand, White Hat SEO means that the marketer concentrates on creating content that has its primary goal of being enjoyed by humans. They care about the target audience. These SEO specialists research the target audience and know what that audience wants, so they create content accordingly. White Hats create a well-designed website that is easy to navigate and help the user reach the end goal.
Optimize, Optimize and, oh did I mention OPTIMIZE?
SEO isn’t just a one-time thing, but rather ongoing. Since results take time to appear and search engines want dynamic content that is regularly updated, it’s important that your SEO specialist takes the time every month to update the content. This is an absolute MUST.
Every SEO specialist must be given the opportunity to iterate and optimise content according to the results of their actions. Google Analytics and tools like Hot Jar, are a SEO specialist’s best friend. Using them, SEO specialists can draw conclusions that will provide you and your business valuable feedback to help you grow your business.
Let me explain
For example, you have an e-commerce website, lots of traffic, but users abandon the checkout process. WHY? SEO specialists’ best friend (Google Analytics) gives you various pieces of information from which you can draw conclusions. It could be because they have to sign up before completing checkout or because there are too many steps in the process or something else. Your SEO specialist can then suggest ways to improve the process.
Next step? Make a change, see the results, draw conclusions, and test again. Optimize, optimize, optimize! Once you’ve done this a couple of times, everything should be streamlined well-enough for you to be able to make accurate projections.