Tuesday, 10 December 2013

What To Ask An SEO Consultant Before Hiring Them

If you’ve decided to outsource your SEO to improve your company’s online presence then it’s vital you hire the right person. If you don’t take your time choosing them then you could well end up with someone who doesn’t have enough expertise or just isn’t right for your business. If this happens you are essentially throwing away the money you spend on them. 

On the other hand, if you get it right then a good SEO consultant can greatly enhance your visibility and increase your customer base. 

With that in mind, here are just some of the questions you could ask a potential consultant to find out whether or not they’re what you’re looking for:

How Long Have You Been In Business?: SEO started in a rudimentary form in the 1990s when it was more of a niche specialisation. Nowadays you are likely to be able to choose from hundreds of firms. To whittle them down, therefore, it’s a good idea to find one with a good few years of experience behind them.

How Would You Improve My Company’s Online Presence?: This is a vital question to ask and the way that the SEO consultant answers it should go some way to telling you whether they are worth hiring or not. When you ask this question, rather than going into an incomprehensible spiel about their own methods and how they work, they should pay attention to what makes your company unique. They should be asking you what you want to achieve and then discussing ways they might help you achieve this which are appropriate to your own business sector and customer base. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ with SEO, and a good consultant should know this.

What Previous Results Have You Had?: Any consultant you talk to should be more than happy to provide you with details of previous satisfied clients so you can contact them if you wish to ask about the service they received. Conversely, it can also be a good sign if they are willing to talk about projects that did not go so well, and what they learned from this.

What Guarantees Can You Give?: This is something of a trick question, but it’s worth asking if you’re unsure. Remember that there can be no guarantees with SEO, so anyone who claims that they can get your website No.1 Google rankings or something equally unrealistic is lying to you to get your money. What they should be doing is suggesting and implementing ways to help you get the best from the Internet and showing you how to proceed in the future. 

How Do You Charge?: You need to be sure about this before you sign up to anything. Some SEOs will charge a flat fee for their services and others will charge per hour or per individual project. As long as you have agreed in writing exactly what you are paying and compared this with what other SEOs are offering you should be ok. Never go into this kind of business relationship without signing a fixed contract or you may find yourself being charged extra for ‘additional’ services.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Your Web Marketing Blueprint – Ticking the Right Boxes

Get it right and web marketing can bring any business the kind of success no other marketing method in the world comes close to. Today’s daily web traffic on a global scale is largely impossible to measure accurately – suffice to say it is gigantic and continues to grow by the day. And when you consider that tens of millions of these web surfers are looking to spend some sum of cash on something somewhere, you begin to realise the potential the right marketing strategies can have for you and your business.

Of course, getting it right isn’t an easy business in the first place – quite to the contrary in fact. There’s a good reason why the biggest brands on Earth spend millions on their web marketing efforts every year – hitting the nail on the head making sure it stays hit is a rather deep and intricate task.

But it’s not impossible and nor does it have to be out of the reach for any business. The secret? Well, it’s all about acknowledging all of the boxes that need to be ticked in order for a campaign to stand any real chance of success – something of a blueprint to follow along the way.

So with getting this elusive ‘it’ right in mind, here’s a quick introduction to said blueprint and the boxes you’ll need to tick if you want your campaign to succeed:

A Solid Plan

Right off the bat, a marketing plan with no solid plan in place is like a journey with no destination or directions…you’ll never get there. With planning comes structure and measurable goals you can actually reach – it’s effectively like giving yourself the recipe for success you can then follow one step at a time. With no plan in place, you’re pretty much opting for pot-luck and chances are it will never roll your way.

Optimisation for Search Engines

It has never been more important to stand out at least modestly prominently with the major search engine. If you can’t be found on Google, Bing and others of a similar calibre, you will miss out on about 90% of the web traffic out there…which is a lot. So whether you take care of things yourself or outsource to a third-part, you need strong and ongoing optimisation efforts in place to prevent your site being passed-over altogether.

Rediscover Email

If you quit email marketing some time ago because it didn’t work for you, quite frankly this means it’s you that got it wrong. In the right hand and with enough effort, a targeted email marketing campaign can be hugely effective on both existing and new customers alike. It takes time and effort to get right, but nobody ever said marketing online was going to be an easy ride.

Analysis and Action

Again you can do this yourself or bring in the pros, but whichever approach you take, it remains 100% vital to your success. It is only by conducting or commissioning full web performance analysis that you are able to identify what is and isn’t working, in order to give you the building blocks for your marketing campaign.

Spread the Word

If you think what you have to say is worth sharing, then share it. If you wait for folk to come to your site to read the good words, you’re selling yourself immensely short. So, make the effort to use social media, forums, newsgroups, blogs and so on to get your message out into the open and hook their interest outside your home turf.


And finally, there is really nothing in the world worse than a social media page, blog, forum or discussion group of any kind that’s 100% devoid of contribution by those that are supposed to know the industry or niche best…as in YOU! It is unfair and unwise to expect healthy debate, discussion and sharing to be prompted if you yourself aren’t willing to get fully involved in it yourself and perhaps steer the conversation in your own favour. From responding to comments to kicking-off discussions and right through to supporting the messages your rivals put out, interaction means everything and one-way communication channels have no place in your strategy.