Choosing your search engine marketer


There are many key factors you should take into consideration when choosing your search engine marketer. Like almost any industry, there are good and bad players, some who are surprisingly cheap, others who are over the top with pricing and some who are just outright cowboys.


A great SEO consultant has a curious mix of talents


It’s often perceived that search engine marketing is simply a matter of placing keywords in a website and writing up some Google  ads – but nothing could be further from the truth.

Search Engine marketing is a curious mixture of data analysis, technical work, content creation, testing, creativity, educated guesses and more testing.

It’s therefore important the SEO consultant you are engaging has his or her head around all these facets of online business. If they don’t then you are simply paying someone who is not up to scratch, billing you for work you could easily do yourself.


Key things to look out for


Avoid consultants with a poor grasp of the English language:


It’s not surprising written language is one of the most powerful drivers of SEO. Creating content that people want to read is one thing but making it visible for search engines is another. Your content must be structured in a way that ticks both readability and search boxes.

On this point, I believe the best digital marketers write punchy, succinct ads along with content that immediately gets their message across. Think about a great Tweet you’ve read. It may be less than a few hundred characters but the language used cuts right through to the reader. That’s the type of creative content you need across all your digital touch-points and not poorly structured, mistake-ridden nonsense.


Avoid consultants who are too cheap:


In my early days of business I was fortunate enough to be guided by some great mentors. I remember one such mentor offering me some simple advice in a thick Scottish accent. His advice was, ” You don’t get nought for nought son”.


If your SEO consultant is too cheap then he is either not going to invest his time in the real grunt work that needs to be done or he’s sub-contracting work out to an overseas operation. Either way you’re going to lose out with an ineffective campaign or results that either don’t show up in reports or show up temporarily only to vanish shortly thereafter.


Avoid inexperienced consultants: 


Experience counts for so much in the digital world and the great consultants have backgrounds in more than just Adwords. In my case I have built countless websites from the old days of writing html code in text editors and uploading via dial-up, to building online stores, debugging databases, building email lists and so on. Added to that is my own business experience which my clients have found invaluable in their decision making process. I know what works and what doesn’t and I’ll always offer advice from the standpoint of what’s best for your business – not what’s best for Google.


Avoid consultants who make silly guarantees: 


As the old saying goes, if it’s too good to be true then it probably is.

So why on Earth do people continue to fall for the “First Page on Google Guarantee”? 

It should be clear to anyone that if you want to be placed on page one you simply have to pay for it. I can do that for you, your cheap SEO consultant can do that for you and, more importantly, even you can do that for you!

However the first page guarantee is really a trap for the naive. I could explain in at least half a dozen ways why being on the first page is important for your business but I could also explain to you in even more ways why you need to have a strategy in place BEFORE you start doing that.

Be wary, not having your digital ducks all lined up in a row before you hit number 1 on the results page is one of the fastest ways to do your dough on the internet. Don’t fall for it.


 Avoid website audits that haven’t been explained to you: 


You’ll notice on my site I offer free website audits. If you do decided to create an audit you’ll notice that dozens, if not hundreds, of errors will be flagged. Unfortunately unethical Search Engine Marketers will use these often trivial errors as a ploy to get you in. So make sure your site audit is explained to you in a way that you can understand.

A good Search Engine Marketer will be able to point out the stuff that’s having an impact on your site performance, User Experience or conversion rate. while an El Cheapo SEO on the other hand will have you wondering how the heck you ever managed to attract one visitor to your site in the first place.


Avoid SEO consultants with no technical knowledge: 


I touched on it earlier in this article when I mentioned experience but technical knowledge is critical in getting the best results. Think about how your own experience and technical knowledge in your industry can help you look at a product, a project or a service and instantly recognise what’s right or wrong with it. The same applies with SEO.

I can tell you almost instantly what is wrong or what is working on a site from a technical standpoint because I have a deep understanding of how that site has been built and how the sum of all it’s parts hold it together to provide the world with the finished product. I can also very quickly look at the hidden code on your site to give me an idea of whether or not it’s been optimised (I’ve caught out many an SEO agency before with this one).

Therefore an SEO consultant must have the technical know-how to backup the creative side of what they’re doing. Without it, they could be flying blind and simply guessing about optimisation solutions – all at your expense. Reduce the guesswork by dealing with someone who has the technical knowledge – it will save you money and hassles in the long run.


Like to know more or get started?


I hope you’ve found this little guide helpful (and it hasn’t scared you off SEO altogether). If you’d like to know more about my SEO service then why not give me a call or  email or complete the online form on this page.

I promise you it will be worth your while.

Thanks for reading

Lee McCarthy

Xflow Marketing & Consulting – Perth