Launching your dream startup requires a lot of practical steps. You need to be planning for the future. There's no room for improvisation. It puts the future of your business, client relationships, and revenue in jeopardy.
Another crucial tip for running a business is hiring the right people, and that is essential with a search engine optimization (SEO) specialist.
But why hire an SEO specialist? Under the broad digital marketing umbrella, SEO and its various practices can effectively grow your brand online. SEO efforts help in any social medium, creating vast exposure to your website.
Once you contact an SEO specialist, it's important to test the waters (and a specialist's knowledge) by asking these ten simple questions about SEO.
What is Our Overall SEO Strategy?
This is a given, but make sure they have a strategy and aren't just ‘winging it.'
When you hire an SEO specialist, you need to ensure that they have a few strategies to help your business succeed.
Don't be afraid to ask them straight out what their overarching SEO strategy is. A good rule of thumb is to avoid taking on anyone who isn't prepared to divulge their different SEO methods. This should be an open and honest dialogue between professionals.
Learn what their SEO off and on-page strategies consist of and how they aim to pump up the exposure for your brand.
Keep in mind that off-page SEO can be a massive boost to brand visibility. These are strategies on other social mediums to raise brand awareness and link to your website.
How can your business hope to succeed if the SEO expert has no idea how to improve your search engine optimization efforts?
What Keywords Are We Targeting?
Research, research, research. You'll see pretty quickly that research is the backbone of every SEO decision.
Asking an SEO specialist which keywords need targeting is a fast way to see if any are off base. You need to ensure that an SEO specialist has done their due diligence, researching your business and industry-relevant keywords.
If they're missing the essence of your business in the keyword research phase, that's not a good sign.
Any SEO specialist worth their salt will have extensive research into your business, industry, and target audience.
For example, if you run a coffee shop, you might want to focus on local SEO, keywords that relate to both coffee and your brick and mortar location. Ideally, the SEO strategy should pull in local search results and clientele.
Why Did We Choose Those Keywords?
Now that you have a list of keywords to focus on, why did your prospective SEO specialist choose those keywords?
This is a great way to get insight into their strategy, like keyword difficulty (KD) or volume. It's not a good sign if your SEO strategy works on keywords with high KD and low search volume.
Listen to the SEO specialist's reasoning; they may have exciting strategies you may not have thought up yourself.
What Are Our Short-Term Goals?
What can we measure to know we’re on the right track in the beginning?
SEO takes time, so for the time being, creating some realistic short-term goals is a fantastic way to see which way the wind is blowing in your industry.
These short-term goals help SEO experts and business owners see what topics Internet users are interested in, which type of content pulls in viewers, and what digital marketing techniques help boost visibility. This is an excellent foundation to further build long-term SEO goals upon.
What Are Our Long-Term Goals?
What actual SEO metrics are our goals?
Again, this hinges on an SEO expert's understanding and knowledge of the industry and search engine optimization.
After feeling things out with your previous short-term goals, creating a practical outline of your goals by the end of Q4 is a sound practice. Do you want your company's website to appear in searches with a specific phrase? Do you want X amount of web traffic by a certain date?
Hashing out these details with an SEO specialist is crucial for long-term success.
How Often Should I Expect SEO Updates?
SEO isn't a 'one and done' situation and often needs regular updates. Improving your SEO is one surefire way to keep a brand relevant online.
Of course, this depends on how intensive the work is. If you only needed a slight boost, it may not be as in-depth. But they mustn’t abandon you for six months.
What Industry Trends Should I Look Out For?
This is a big one.
And again, it's all about research. As much as SEO is about plugging in the right words, it's mostly research.
An SEO expert should understand industry trends and how they could affect how we see volume from SEO.
An SEO specialist with a good eye for industry trends is a great asset. Good SEO experts can spot both outdated and emerging trends to help with your business.
Why is there a considerable dip in traffic this month? It may be due to drastically changing trends in your niche.
Are We Working On All Parts of SEO?
There are a few main aspects of SEO to focus on, namely on-page, off-page, and technical.
When we think of search engine optimization, this is what first comes to mind. On-page SEO is all about optimizing your business's website for search engines like Google and Bing.
An SEO specialist with in-depth knowledge will employ several digital marketing techniques and content strategies to ensure your page makes a splash in your industry.
Off-page SEO, you can probably guess, is all about how you and your SEO specialist capitalize on promoting your company and business for search engines off of your homepage.
Some great ways to improve off-page SEO are link building, internal linking to your site, interlinking landing pages, and categorizing your silo pages. A lot of SEO housekeeping hat can actually make a massive difference to Google's search algorithm.
Technical SEO is concerned with making sure your site is optimized for actual search engines.
This consists of how fast a website loads, UX/UI, accessibility, site structure, and indexation.
How Should I Inform You About Any Updates I Make?
As we've explored before, big changes can affect SEO. Something as simple as changing one iota of a URL to a high-performing page can throw things out of whack.
It's always important to get in contact with your SEO specialist about any changes in strategies. But specialists also need to be willing to have that back and forth relationship.
It's a two-way street. You want good communication, especially when a critical business strategy is underway.
How Soon Can I Expect SEO Results?
Overall, SEO takes time, and it could range from four to six months, but there's no solid, reliable time frame.
It can be a slow burn, especially if you're a new business with little to no backlinks. It depends on your industry, brand size, SEO quality, and much more.
Wrapping Up With SEO Specialists
Hopefully, after asking these ten vital questions, you'll have a better idea of your SEO specialist's expertise, strategies, and attention to detail.
The future of your business, its web traffic, and brand visibility all depend on solid SEO efforts. As such, don't get caught out in the rain with an inexperienced SEO specialist.