While some basic SEO tasks can be undertaken in-house with the help of some online resources, the best way to maximize your results is to hire an SEO specialist.
But what do these professionals offer that you can’t do yourself?
And what do they actually do that makes hiring them a worthwhile investment?
Their primary goal is, of course, to increase their clients’ visibility in search results for queries related to their industry, products, and services.
But to accomplish this goal, there are a few key steps an SEO specialist will take.
1. Site assessment
The first step in the SEO process is a complete assessment.
Whether a site has ever been optimized before or not, they’ll evaluate all of the factors impacting its rankings, as well as where it stands in the results pages for the company’s most important target keywords.
They’ll also look for any major issues impacting user experience, like page load times, navigation setup, and site structure.
Finally, most SEO professionals will also take a client’s competitors into consideration during their site assessment. They’ll identify other sites targeting similar keywords and the same audience, then evaluate what they’re doing well.
All of this information will help them determine what changes need to be made. Then, they can prioritize these changes based on which will have the biggest impact.
2. Ongoing optimization and testing
After their assessment, an SEO will get to work on the priorities they’ve identified. They’ll do keyword research, optimize pages for the keywords they select, and fix any usability issues.
This initial optimization process alone often takes a few months — but it’s important to recognize that it doesn’t stop there.
That’s because SEO is a long-term strategy.
For example, just take a look at the following graph of Kinsta’s year-over-year traffic.
While they saw some marginal gains in 2015 and 2016, their traffic started to really take off in 2017. And those results were entirely due to their ongoing SEO strategy.
That’s why when you hire an SEO specialist, they’ll identify new opportunities to improve your site on a regular basis.
They’ll optimize your on-page factors, look for ways to earn new links for your site, and continuously test the changes they’re making.
An experienced SEO professional will also make it a priority to keep up with industry changes so that they can make sure your site stays ahead of algorithm updates and up-to-date with the tactics other marketers are finding effective.
3. Reporting and analysis
Finally, an SEO specialist will regularly monitor and analyze their results.
From a client standpoint, this helps you make sure that you know exactly what kinds of results you’re getting for your investment.
But beyond that, regularly checking in on key metrics like traffic and conversions helps them get a clearer understanding of what’s working — and what isn’t — so that they can continuously improve their strategy.
3 Myths About SEO
There’s a wealth of information available online about SEO.
Unfortunately, not all of that information is entirely accurate.
So as you learn more about this important marketing tactic, there are a few common myths you should be aware of — so that you can stay away from any SEO “professionals” perpetuating them.
Myth 1: Keyword optimization is the most important part of SEO
The idea that keywords are the most important part of SEO isn’t an outright lie — but it’s certainly outdated.
Ever since the rollout of Hummingbird in 2013, Google has increasingly prioritized user intent over the exact keywords they use.
tent behind them over using the same exact phrase repeatedly on your page.
Myth 2: Optimizing a site is quick and easy
If you come across anyone promising SEO results within a matter of weeks, run.
Many of us might wish that this were possible, but that’s simply not the case. In fact, it generally takes four to six months for an SEO strategy to start showing results.
So while the idea of fast and easy results might be tempting, don’t fall for it. Find an SEO professional that offers a clear outline of their strategy and a realistic timeline for results, and you’ll be more satisfied with the outcome.
Myth 3: You should focus on keywords with high search volume
Many site owners new to SEO make the mistake of focusing their efforts on keywords with extremely high search volume.
After all, wouldn’t it be awesome to rank on the first page for a keyword that gets searched tens of thousands of times per month?
But for most sites, that’s simply not a realistic goal.
Considering how difficult it is to rank for these keywords, focusing a strategy on them is unlikely to produce any significant rankings — or traffic — at all.
Instead, it’s much more effective to focus on longer, less competitive keywords.
And in case you think that these keywords aren’t worth your time, just consider that long-tail keywords account for 70% of searches.
That means that today, you don’t need to focus as much on specific words and phrases.
To be clear, keywords are still an important part of SEO, and keyword research can help guide your strategy.
But as you incorporate them, make sure to do so naturally, and write your content in a way that prioritizes addressing the in