Do I Need An SEO Company For My UK Business… And How Do I Choose A Good One?
Do I really need to hire an SEO expert?
With so many blogs, videos, e-books and tools online, you might ask yourself: do I need to hire someone to take care of SEO for my website? For someone who has never called in an SEO expert, it may appear to be a costly addition to your marketing budget.
Can’t I just do it myself? It’s a question we often hear. The short answer is: yes. You can, of course, take advantage of the myriad of free resources available with a quick search on Google.
But we have a question for you: have you got the time to devote to doing your website’s SEO—effectively?
SEO is a full-time job. Google is constantly changing its algorithms and practices, and has many ranking factors that are taken into account when it displays results for searches. A good SEO agency spends a significant amount of their working (and non-working!) hours reading up on these practices, talking to other professionals in the industry and even attending SEO conferences a few times in the year.
Malcolm Gladwell once said that it takes 10,000 to become an expert in a any field. Perhaps those 10,000 hours are better spent on running your business then on learning a new skill like SEO.
By doing your own SEO, you must be prepared for taking time out of your already busy work schedule and spending it learning a craft that can be quite complex. You may be successful for an amount of time and think, Great, that’s done, now I can get back to more important matters!
However, bear in mind that SEO is not a one-time task. Your website needs to be maintained on a regular basis so that it is always ranking optimally in search engines and clients are “walking in the door”. Can you devote the time to attending to these clients as well as keeping your site up-to-date?
We’ve said it before but it bears repeating—SEO is not a race, it’s a marathon. To build a site that is fully compliant and optimised for search engines, there are several ranking factors that boost your site’s ranking. Besides improving the tags, descriptions and content of your website (“on-page optimisation”), other factors such as old code, out-of-date plugins and poor integration can also negatively impact rankings.
Optimising your code, building backlinks, establishing a reputation and using other tools are all part of the longer, “behind-the-scenes” work of SEO. Not only do experts have a deep understanding of their craft, they can devote 100% of their time to getting results for your website.
When you decide to use SEO services
So, you’ve decided to bite the bullet and hire an expert to help with your website’s SEO? There are a few things to get together before meeting, and really deciding whether or not you trust the SEO service.
- Goals. Specific, measurable goals such as “I want to boost sign-ups or free trials”, should be favoured over general goals like “More traffic to my website”.
- Budget. Shop around and see the going rates for SEO agencies so you know the price range you can expect before you meet.
- Questions. Come prepared and know exactly what you expect from your SEO agency. You should look not only for expertise, but also for trust.
A few questions to start off with when looking for an SEO agency:
- What is your experience in my industry?
SEO is a complex field. An expert with experience will be able assess a website and know what needs to be completed for it to gain more search engine traffic. Someone who is new to SEO may try the same tactic over and over again without seeing real results.
- What are your most important SEO techniques?
Whilst you may not be overly familiar with various SEO techniques, it’s always good to pose this question to your potential agency to ‘test the water’. The answer to this question will give you a feel of how the company operates, and whether or not it sounds as if they partake in any ‘untoward’ SEO tactics.
- How will you communicate with me?
Find out what their process is for communicating with the client. You should receive a report at least once a month that outlines the progress the agency has made, problems they have run into, etc.
Red flags to watch out for:
- Guaranteed position. Anyone that offers a #1 spot on Google should immediately throw up a red flag. There are many tactics that can gain you more traffic and rank you higher, but anyone that guarantees a position is lying and should not be trusted.
- Low prices. This may be tempting because SEO can be expensive. However, anyone that uses tactics such as “40 links for £40” should be considered spam.
- Blackhat SEO. This may be harder to discover, but if any of the following tactics are mentioned, beware as they are now allowed under search engine guidelines:
- Keyword stuffing, doorway pages, invisible pages, paid links, duplicate content, spam comments.
If you’ve decided that it’s time to call in some help for your SEO, we’d be happy to talk about your website and what we can do to improve it’s ranking. Sharpe Digital is a leading SEO agency, based in London.