You’ve heard a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) consultant can do wonderful things for your company’s Web site, so you’ve gone ahead and hired one. Congratulations! But now what? What can you expect from your SEO consultant? What will he or she do for your business? What can he or she do for your business? Some of the benefits an SEO consultant can provide may surprise you.
Hopefully, your new SEO consultant has already given you a proposal regarding what he or she plans to do for your business. Most likely, this proposal provides an overview of how the SEO consultant plans to improve your Web site so that you convert more visitors to paying customers. However, this consultant may not have elaborated on what more he or she can do. SEO consultants can also increase your company’s brand awareness, start viral marketing campaigns and help with online reputation management issues.
Imagine you are planning a trip to visit out-of-town relatives. Since you have not seen them in quite some time, you plan to bring a bottle of wine for dinner. While pondering your plans, you remember that the last time you visited there was a small wine shop nearby that you enjoyed. Unfortunately, you can’t quite remember the shop’s full name, address or phone number. You do, however, remember that the owner’s name was Bob, the shop was on Wilhelm Road and you purchased some French wine the last time you visited. Since you plan to surprise your relatives with the wine, you do not want to contact them to learn the shop’s name. Though, if Bob the wine shop owner has hired an SEO firm, you are not out of luck as you should be able to find the business’ contact information by plugging the information you do know into a search engine. The same also holds true for your business. Not only will an SEO consultant be able to improve the conversion rates of your Web site visitors, but he or she will also be able to help attract repeat customers that may not fully remember your business’ name, address, etc.
Viral marketing is another way in which SEO can help your business and its branding. The Budweiser frog commercials were a prime example of viral marketing on TV. Everyone was talking about the commercials when they first aired and, as such, Budweiser received more for their advertising dollars. The same outcome can be achieved online, especially for businesses operating in niche markets. A highquality video, audio file, article or page of content can spread throughout the Internet very quickly. Your SEO consultant may or may not suggest a viral marketing campaign depending on your budget and marketing goals. Though, if viral marketing interests you, you will want to further discuss this tool with your consultant. He or she will be able to inform you as to what type of viral marketing will work best for your product or service.
Media marketing is another way your SEO consultant can help increase your company’s brand awareness on the Internet. Imagine you are a home remodeling contractor and you have recently had a series of new videos created on your Web site showcasing your company’s work. The next step is to ensure the right people view your new videos. Typically, your SEO consultant will present your new videos to the target Web audience that is most likely to convert to customers. For example, your consultant may create or join a Facebook group that discusses home remodeling trends. The group’s members would be those interested in flipping houses or homeowners that have bitten off more than they could chew. This group is the perfect audience for your new videos. Additionally, if your videos are popular among this group, members will begin to share them with other industry professionals and post them on various sites such as www.youtube.com or www.metacafe.com.
Next come tools I like to refer to as “standard” SEO. Standard SEO includes both Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising and organic search marketing. SEO firms employ individuals specializing in PPC advertising campaigns and others specializing in organic search results. Typically, PPC advertising and the improvement of organic search results are the activities SEO consultants are contracted to pursue.
PPC advertising is the advertising you notice when you perform a search utilizing any of the search engines. It generally appears at the top, bottom and right of your search results. With PPC advertising, the appearance of ads is linked to specific keywords that are searched. Therefore, to obtain desired keywords, you must bid upon them. Your SEO consultant will research your industry and choose the most beneficial keywords for your ad campaign based on your business and your budget. He or she will also tailor your ads to meet the specifications defined by the search engines. One of the benefits of PPC advertising is results are provided faster then organic search marketing. Once keywords are chosen, ads are written and prices are set and your ads are displayed for the searching world to see.
Though the results from organic search marketing can take longer to see, this form of marketing can prove to be more cost effective over the long term. Your SEO consultant will choose the appropriate keywords and modify the content of your site to help your pages appear based on those keywords. He or she will also work behind the scenes building links and promoting your site across the Internet. When your site has been deemed valuable by the search engines, it will appear in the search results for a specific search term.
Regardless of how well you run your business, you will encounter an unsatisfied customer at some point in time. It is important to always try and address any issues your customers may have. Unfortunately, however, dissatisfied customers do not always apprise you of their concerns before venting on the Internet. SEO can preemptively help in situations where customers decide to vent online instead of addressing the issue with your company’s management. You may not even realize you have an online reputation management problem unless you conduct a specific search. However, your potential customers are sure to discover the issue once they search for your company. Some SEO consultants specialize in assisting with this issue, but even if your SEO consultant does not focus on this area in particular, he or she will be able to provide some residual reputation management benefits.
The benefits of residual reputation management can be seen when the SEO consultant builds links to your Web site. During the link building process, the consultant will most likely create profiles on social networking Web sites such as Facebook, in addition to discussing your company on other information sharing sites. Once these Web pages are established on the Internet, they may appear when your company name is searched just as negative reviews or discussions about your company also appear. The goal of reputation management is to have enough positive results appear so that the negative results do not significantly impact your business. Luckily, your company will have the upper hand since it is the consultant’s job to make the appropriate pages appear in the search engines. If customer complaints are few and far between, SEO can help mitigate the damage until you are aware there is an issue; then, you can address that issue with your customer. If the complaints are malicious and deliberate, such as false complaints from a competitor, you will need to hire a professional specializing in this area to help resolve the issue.
SEO consultants can help your business in ways that may not be readily apparent. An SEO consultant can help build brand awareness through viral marketing or social media promotion. He or she can also increase your Web site’s conversion rate through PPC marketing and improve your organic search rankings. Finally, when you have an issue with an unhappy customer or malicious competitor, an SEO consultant can help to mitigate some of the damage they cause. These are just a few of the services an SEO consultant can provide. If you have a specific goal regarding your Web site, you will most likely benefit from speaking with an SEO consultant. You may be surprised at the tools and solutions the consultant presents!