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Top 5 Tips on Buying SEO Expertise for your Website

UK business is increasingly turning to SEO experts to help promote their website with improved rankings on searching engines such as Google, getting themselves ahead of their competition in search engine results.  Often seen as a ‘black art’, the complexity and in-depth nature of SEO leads many business owners and traditional marketers to seek out an SEO expert to lead them through this digital marketing minefield.

So often though businesses find themselves paying out thousands of pounds for expert SEO advice or services and yet their website dwells on page 7 of Google – they’re out of pocket and still their competitors are creaming off potential internet customers.

With so many businesses offering SEO services in the UK how do you choose the right one for you?

HERE ARE MY TOP 5 TIPS FOR BUYING SEO EXPERTISE FOR YOUR WEBSITE.

TIP 1: Understanding SEO

Firstly, understand what it is you’re buying.

The Basics:  SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation.  It is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engine’s natural or unpaid search results.  Google is the most widely used search engine, and it is against this that most measure and strive to attain optimisation of their website.

A little more:  When you type a query into the query bar on the Google search engine Google applies their unique algorithm to your search query to deliver you the most appropriate results to you.

And finally: The complexity of the Google algorithim you and I could not begin to comprehend and it is perpetually being developed and tweaked for two key reasons: –

      • To ensure you continue to receive the most relevant search results when you use Google
      • To prevent SEO experts and businesses from gaming their system and to reward organic achievements

Most internet users don’t go beyond the first two pages of Google search engine results to find what they’re looking for.  If your competitors are on pages 1 or 2, and you’re not, they’ll be getting that enquiry/order first.

TIP 2: Services you should expect

The quotes you receive for SEO services will vary but there are though four key areas your SEO expert should look at for you:

1)       Technical
2)       Navigation/Usability
3)       Content
4)       Link Building

Technical: This involves reviewing and updating the set-up of your website and ensuring it complies with all the basic standards Google requires, this should include but will perhaps not be limited to:

      • user-friendly URLs
      • H1 & H2 tags, image alt tags, title tags
      • sitemap.xml and robots.txt files
      • site speed
      • site-wide links
      • 301 & 301 redirects
      • meta descriptions

Navigation: When ranking websites Google also checks to ensure the website is optimised for the user, this means checking all your images are viewable, the videos display correctly, the website works in different browser types, all links are clickable and that your website doesn’t feature too much unnecessary flash or javascript.

Content: Content is King!  Above everything else that Google looks at, content is paramount.  Not just any content though.  Your SEO expert should be able to review each page of your website and make recommendations to ensure: –

      • there is no duplicated content, but that it is fresh and unique
      • the copy is correctly spelt, with good grammar and punctuation
      • the copy is not keyword stuffed but has an appropriate use of keywords throughout

Your SEO expert should work with you to identify what keywords/keyword phrases you want to be found under to ensure this is accurately reflected in the website copy.

Link Building: Building links to other websites and placing your website in context is important, however links should not be excessive, they should be natural.  The aim with your website should be to create domain authority, what is meant by this is proving your credibility as a (for example) handbag retail store by the website linking in and out to appropriate social media sites, blogs on handbag fashion, guest blogs on other retail or fashion accessory forums, PR mentions, industry infographics and whitepapers as well as directory sites.  By linking to other sites your website is being consistently verified by other websites as an authority on all things handbag related.

TIP 3: Things to look out for

When comparing your quotes there are a few things to look out for: –

Over promising: Be aware of anyone who promises to get you ranking in the top 3 search results, or at the top of search results – an SEO expert doesn’t have control over the results from the Google search engine or any other search engine.

Link building: Google expects your website to link to others to create domain authority and prove your credibility within your industry but it will penalise websites it feels have excessive links, paid for links and reciprocal links.

Short term wins: SEO is a long-term gain.  A good SEO expert should be able to begin to deliver results within a month, but depending on how competitive your industry and market is will depend on how much work is needed to propel your website up the rankings.

English language experts: It may be cheaper to buy SEO services from outside of the UK but you should ensure that your SEO expert is able to read through your website copy and make clear recommendations on spelling, grammar and punctuation updates that are required as well as content based recommendations to improve your SEO.

Out of date techniques:  There are a lot of SEO techniques which have been blacklisted by Google as they have been determined as ways of gaming the system.  Your SEO expert should only engage white-hat methods and definitely shouldn’t offer any of the following out-of-date techniques: –

      • Link schemes
      • Hidden text behind images and background
      • Keyword stuffing
      • Blog spinning
      • Article submissions
      • Duplicate sites (this doesn’t double your ranking)
      • Spammy blog comments
      • Linking to Google for strength purposes
      • Doorway pages

TIP 4: Measure your success

Discuss and agree with your expert key performance indicators that will help you track progress.

      • Agree your starting point
      • Agree interim success points and timelines
      • Agree the ultimate goal, i.e. ahead of X competitor or page 1 of Google rankings for X keyword phrase.
      • Agree review periods – do you need a report on actions and results every 2, 4 or 6 weeks etc…

TIP 5: How much you should be paying

Rates will vary, you could be paying £15/hour for a small independent or in the region of £75+/hour for a large-scale agency.  It is important to remember you won’t achieve and maintain all your goals in just one month, be prepared to invest in 3-months+ and set a monthly budget that fits with your overall marketing spend.  If your monthly budget is £300, find out how many hours your SEO expert will be working on your website for that budget each month and how many months they expect to take to reach your goals.

Hopefully this will have given you some guidelines to consider when buying SEO services for your website and make you more comfortable about the investment you are making and what results you should expect to see in return, putting you in control.

If you have any recommendations on what to look out for when buying SEO services please share for our readers in the comments section.  Thank you.

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