Some companies are always looking for SEO shortcuts. One of the more popular shortcuts: hiring an SEO consultant. Now, we offer SEO consulting services, so we definitely see value in consulting, but consulting alone will do nothing to improve your organic search visibility — and might even hurt it.
Consulting is not a substitute for an ongoing SEO campaign. Rather, it is a way to improve the tactics of existing campaigns or create a new and better campaign strategy.
Here is why you cannot substitute one-and-done consulting for sustained SEO campaigns:
- Google looks for sustained progress in a company’s on-site and off-site content. In fact, Google crawlers may interpret a flurry of activity followed by inaction as a negative ranking signal. So, if a consultant tells you your site lacks inbound links and you dash off 20 off-site articles the following week for any publisher that will take them, it won’t help you nearly as much as publishing five high-quality off-site articles each month, every month for a year.
- Even if your consultant’s on-site recommendations are spot-on, "fixing and forgetting” your website is a recipe for SEO disaster. Why? Because one, two, three months down the road, your website will have new SEO problems that need fixing. Links will break. Website functionality will get out of whack, causing slow page loading or form submissions to go awry. Issues like these not only damage SEO, they drive visitors away from your website and cause leads to dry up.
- Your competitive environment is always changing. Your organic visibility on Google depends not just on what you do, but also on what your competitors do. Thus, a consultant’s assessment of your SEO needs may be spot-on today, but miles off in a month. What if your biggest competitor doubles its SEO budget or devises an entirely new keyword strategy? What if a new competitor with deep pockets invades the market? Whatever strategy your consultant recommended will be off target.
- Google changes the rules. Today’s acceptable SEO techniques could be off limits tomorrow. Many well-intentioned companies have gotten themselves in serious trouble with Google by blithely continuing with SEO practices that were good five years ago but dreadful today — for instance, piling up useless online press releases, using spammy anchor text and getting listed in low-quality directories. Your SEO strategy and tactics should be assessed once or twice a year at minimum to ensure they are aligned with Google and industry best practices.
Choose Wisely: Your Organic Life Depends on It
Now, all of these pitfalls occur even if we assume your consultant knows its stuff. But what if the consultant you hire gives you the wrong recommendations?
Short answer: take the pitfalls described above and make them 10 times worse. If you do hire an SEO consultant to review your situation, vet the company carefully.
Interested in learning more about SEO consulting options that will help your business? Please contact us — we’re eager to talk about your objectives and challenges.