If you're a business owner or anyone who's seeking to generate profit via an online presence, search engine optimization is something that you must consider carefully. The fact that you may not know exactly how to prepare and launch any type of SEO campaign should not stand in your way. It's possible to find the right SEO consultant to provide structure to that campaign.
In order to understand how your SEO consultant in Toronto will provide value, it pays to have an idea of what SEO consulting is, what the consultant will do, and how that differs from seeking help from one of the SEO services around town. Here are some basics that will help you get started.
What is Meant by SEO Consulting?
The function of a Toronto SEO consultant is to analyze, qualify, and ultimately provide advice that's intended to improve your online presence. This involves reviewing every possible avenue for building and enhancing that presence. Among the areas that the consultant will review and evaluate are:
- Your company website
- Technical SEO stuff via Google Console and third-party tools
- Your blog
- Your social media accounts and postings
- Landing pages
- Google My Business page
- Keyword selection and usage
- Your link building strategy
- The traffic resulting from your efforts
- Search engine rankings
During the course of the review, your consultant SEO will critique what's already in place. That process involves identifying what's already working well for you, what's not working, and what elements could be added to boost your online reputation and performance.
What's the result of the consultant's activities? You now have a road map, complete with prioritized action items, that's designed to help your business enjoy a stronger and more positive presence online.
Keep in mind that what the consultant develops is not some cookie-cutter plan. The goal is to create a customized SEO strategy that takes into account the type of audience you're seeking, especially consumers who are most likely to purchase the goods or services that you purchase. Depending on whether you operate in a local setting or seek customers from around the world, the recommendations of the consultant may be different.
Is SEO Consulting the Same as SEO Services?
You may hear the terms SEO consultant and SEO service used interchangeably in Canada and the United States. The fact is that each of these SEO approaches are different. Depending on what you are attempting to accomplish, it's likely that you will need some support from each of these, but at different times.
Think of it this way. That local SEO consultant is focused on helping you develop a plan of action with an ultimate goal of raising awareness and improving your search engine rankings. The work of the consultant includes recommending solutions that have to do with your business in particular. When the consultant has completed the project, you have a clear picture of what needs to be done.
By contrast, the SEO service takes on the task of making each action item in that plan come to life. If the consultant has recommended specific updates or overhauls to your company website, the service can help you make those changes.
What are Some of the Differences Between SEO Consultancy and SEO Services?
With a website SEO consultant, you can expect a thorough evaluation of what you already have in place. In the event that you're just starting out, the consultant will spend time with you and develop a plan designed to reach your target audience. As part of that process, the consultant will determine what sort of online tools will be most effective in your case.
During the process of the SEO consultant services, it may be determined that your website needs only a little work so that the pages load faster and the tags are more relatable to the images and content. The consultant may also determine that you need to create a social media presence and use it to inform, entertain, and educate people about what your business has to offer. Those social media accounts can also be used to redirect readers to specific landing pages on your website.
With a specific plan of action in place, the SEO service begins the task of methodically implementing each of these changes. In the scenario above, the updates to the website are completed first. From there, your social media accounts are set up. The choice of which social media sites to use is determined by the recommendations made by the consultant. Once those are up, a schedule is set up to release posts on a regular basis. Some of those posts will include links designed to allow readers an opportunity to learn more about your business by visiting the company website.
Think of the relationship in this manner: the consultant is the one who creates the plan for search engine optimization. The agency or service takes that plan and builds your online presence. It's somewhat like an architect who comes in and redesigns your building and then arranges for a contractor and construction company to come in and make all the changes.
Is There a Need For Both?
There is definitely a place for consultants and SEO services in the greater scheme of things. To what degree you will need help from each one depends a lot on what you already know how to do on your own and what actually needs improving.
If you have a good idea of what to ask SEO consultants on the front end, and also have personnel who can manage the improvements that the consultant recommends, you may not need to go to a service in order to improve your online presence. It's possible to handle the changes in house, then have the consultant review those. If they are working and the consultant finds the data indicates increased traffic and higher search engine rankings, congratulations! You can continue to manage things in house and enjoy the fruits of your labors.
In this scenario, you may want to retain a full time SEO consultant who can continue to help you navigate the waters of the ever-changing worlds of SEO. Owing to changes in consumer tastes and the updates that the major search engines make, the exact approaches that you use this year may not be as effective next year. The right consultant will help to keep you ahead of the pack in terms of adjusting to those shifts.
What Does the Typical SEO Consultant Do?
Whether you're utilizing a small business SEO consultant or one that's focused on providing support to clients with an international presence, there are some core tasks that those SEO consulting experts will take on. The range of tasks will vary based on the type of business you operate, whether you're going for a local or global audience, and what approaches work best in your industry. You can expect the consultant to perform the following at a minimum:
- Analyze the configuration or each page on your website and blog.
- Assess the amount of traffic those pages produce on a weekly and monthly basis.
- Evaluate your social media pages and how you use those accounts.
- Determine if you're making the best possible use of keywords and what's known as long-tail keywords within your content.
- Critique and if necessary recommend changes to meta-tags associated with each page. The tags used for images and charts are also scrutinized.
- Prepare a detailed plan of action that identifies what needs to remain the same, what needs to be added, and what needs to change.
How long will this type of evaluation require? It will vary from client to client. In some cases, the process may only take a day or two. With more complex projects, the consultant may require days or weeks to complete this basic cycle.
Are There Specific Skills That the SEO Consultant Must Possess?
In order to become an expert SEO consultant, several qualities must be present. The future consultant must have a passion for SEO. That passion has to be bolstered with a working knowledge of what the major search engines look for when ranking pages. There must also be a devotion to details. While clients may share a number of traits, each one will also be different from the rest. Without close attention to little details, the consultant cannot identify the most effective ways to differentiate the client in a competitive marketplace.
There are training programs that make it possible to become a Google SEO consultant. While resources from Google may be used in the training, be aware that Google proper does not issue much in the way of certifications. A consultant may rightly claim to have proof of completing certain studies offered by Google, but that's as far as it goes.
Flexibility is also important to any SEO consultant. The world of SEO is in constant flux. If you become so locked in to one set of strategies, keeping ahead of those changes will become impossible. It will also limit the range of customers that you can support.
Remember that local SEO consultant services will also require understanding the culture and other facets of the area where your client base is found. This is one more example of how attention to details will impact how the consultant develops your SEO strategy.
How Do I Prepare For a Career in SEO Consultancy?
Are you asking yourself what it would take to become a SEO consultant? Study is key to your success. You must understand what the major search engines look for when evaluating every facet of a client's online presence. Start with Google, since it's far and away the most popular search engine. That being said, don't neglect the other major players. In certain parts of the world, Google is not the dominant engine. If you're consulting with an international client, that fact must be kept in mind.
Learn by going over case studies as well as current requirements and best practices of the major search engines. Do find courses that will help you understand how to take care of your clients. Spending time on simulations that help you practice what you've learned will also hone those skills and help you build confidence in your ability to help clients.
The work of the SEO consultant has the potential to be rewarding on several levels. Like most professions, not everyone is suited for this type of career. If you believe that it's a good fit for you, begin your preparation now. You may find that this type of consultant work provides a sense of fulfillment that you would never enjoy with a different path.