You need your business website to deliver more new customers. For that, you need effective search engine optimization (SEO). When does it make sense to hire an SEO consultant to do this for you?
Done right, your website can be your best salesman. It can generate new business 24/7, will rarely complain about the long hours, and will never consider leaving you for another company.
But your website’s sales success depends entirely upon what you put into it.
An 80’s Flashback
Do you remember Radio Shack’s TRS-80 micro-computer, affectionately referred to as the “Trash-80”? That was my family’s first computer. If memory serves, we had the Model II. As a middle-schooler, this ancient beast was my introduction to the marvels of computer programming. Its “Typing Tutor” plugin cartridge taught me how to type. I published my first “blog” on this little machine (if you count “Hello World!”). The rest is history.
I bring up this trip down memory lane because of a hand-written note that my oft-frustrated mom taped to the computer. It read:
I really hate this damn machine.
I wish that they would sell it.
It never does quite what I want,
But only what I tell it.
Truer words were never spoken. And, tragically, they apply equally well to your 2013 business website. If your website is like most, it’s not doing what you want. It’s only doing what you tell it to do. And, you probably have no idea what you should tell it to do, or even how to tell it.
Enter the SEO Consultant
This is where a good SEO consultant can turn a floundering website into a top-notch salesman. Such a specialist can do all the things that you’ve never learned (or wanted to learn) how to do:
1. Narrow your offering to a niche you can dominate and narrow your target customers to those you can best engage and convert. You cannot win online as a generalist (unless you’re Amazon or Yahoo, in which case, thank you for reading my blog, but you’re in the wrong place :-)).
2. Perform effective keyword research (learn more here) to find the search terms that will bring in your ideal customers through Google. These SEO keywords need to drive sufficient traffic, apply to “buyers” rather than “browsers”, be highly relevant to your site and to your ideal customers, and have levels of Google competition that you can beat.
3. Plan the SEO keyword mapping strategy (learn more here) for your web site, determining how best to target specific keywords to your home page, landing pages, category pages, product pages, etc.
4. Create landing pages (learn more here) that focus on your top customer segments, speaking their language, addressing their pain points and desires, and converting them into customers.
5. SEO-optimize your website (learn more here), especially your home page and your landing pages, to organically attract the ideal customer to each page.
6. Help you plan a successful long-term content creation strategy (blogs, podcasts, videos, e-books, curated content…) that naturally increases your website authority and traffic by attracting readers and links.
7. Plan and manage an effective Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign based on your strategic keywords, to augment your organic SEO campaign.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? There’s only one catch. Good SEO consultants aren’t cheap. And cheap SEO services should be avoided at all costs.
(Most cheap SEO services use inane, outdated “black hat” shortcut tactics that no longer work with Google and can even get you penalized. You should only consider cheap SEO services if you’re also considering buying a TRS-80 for your website development.)
So, when is it worth investing in a good SEO consultant? Ask yourself:
- Are you interested to learn the latest SEO techniques and tools and to gain experience through essential trial and error?
- Do you have enough technical savvy to learn this field proficiently?
- Do you have enough marketing savvy to create content that effectively engages and converts your target customer segments?
- Do you have the time to spend 100+ hours learning and implementing the above at a sufficient level for your website?
If you answered “No” to any of the above questions, then it makes sense to consider hiring an SEO consultant. Then the only remaining question is, “Can you afford to hire an SEO consultant?”
Well, Can You Afford It?
Business growth requires investment. Gaining new customers requires effective marketing and sales. So if you’re serious about growing your business through new customer acquisition online, the question really becomes, “Can you afford NOT to hire an SEO consultant?”
Lest you think I’m making a hard sell (I am, after all, an expensive SEO consultant), I am happy to admit that there are effective Do-It-Yourself business owners out there. I blog primarily to help such DIYers save time and get effective SEO results on their own. And I truly believe that those with the interest, ability and time can achieve 80%+ of the results that I would achieve for them. I don’t use magic — just experience. And if you’re one of these DIYers I salute you and will continue to support you!
But do you feel that your business will be more successful if you instead focus your time and efforts on the rest of it? Then go find a good SEO consultant you can trust and let him turn your website into your best salesman.