Search engine optimization consultants and marketers usually have to tread a fine line between their client’s goals and what are actually realistic expectations. For any search engine marketing consultant, managing client expectations can become too big a part of the process. They may explain what is possible before being retained, but the client still may not understand or modify their expectations. Most are mistakenly fixated on top positions! They are after instant gratification, rather than long term results.
Often, clients expect search engine optimization consultants to obtain and maintain top positions without changing their content, page layout or site architecture.
In essence they feel that a little tweaking in the meta tags, titles or developing “doorway pages” (which aren’t even linked to from any other pages on the site) will give them the results they want. They expect top positions at any cost. They don’t really understand some of the things they expect marketers to do are “inappropriate”. Some don’t even care that some techniques may get them de-indexed.
If you have read Search Engine Optimization required skills, you know this is just tying the optimization consultants hands. You are taking away many of the tools and skills a good search engine optimization consultant has at their disposal. You should also know that the best strategy is to retain the consultant from the start of site development, when many of the tools/skills they have are most needed, rather than waiting until the site is completed.
What should you expect from a search engine optimization consultant?
You should expect the following from your SEO consultant or Agency:
- All the items below should be done in a way that reflects well on your site and does not risk penalties or de-indexing of the site by search engines.
- The optimization consultant should develop a keywords list for the site, using resources that provide information on what search queries are used most often by users, not simply the keywords you have requested, since it’s likely that yours aren’t the terms used most.
- Make adjustments to titles and meta tags using the keywords list and targeting the right pages for optimization of specific terms (general site analysis).
- Optimization of all known HTML elements using keywords which add relevancy to a page.
- Recommendations for appropriate social media platforms on which your site should be represented.
- Researching of niche-specific directories specific to your topics.
- Tracking of site’s status on search engines. Were all pages indexed?
- Your search engine marketer should be making suggestions for new content which can be more readily optimized for your most important terms in the keywords list.
- The consultant should be making recommendations for adjustments to existing content to enhance relevance for your targeted search phrases and keywords.
- Most sites at some point are redesigned. Your search engine consultant should have made suggestions for a more search engine friendly design, if necessary.
- A knowledgeable search engine marketer will provide a list of prospective outreach opportunities for engagement/links.
Many SEOs will tell you that it takes up to six months to really affect rankings. That was true 10 years ago for all sites, but, currently even a new site should see crawling/indexing activity within a few weeks of launch because the rate of discovery of new pages and content has been accelerated with the use of sitemaps, CMS pinging services and the search consoles and webmaster tools supplied by the major search engines.
Older sites should see results much faster especially if an SEO had worked on it in the past. The number and types of links to the site will have the most influence on rankings. Link building is the most time consuming and budget hungry activity. However, they will also be the biggest booster of relevancy and rankings.
Your SEO should know in the first month whether you need to build links at a fast pace (likely requiring more budget) or re-write/tweaking to improve the on-page optimization and less aggressive link campaign
SEO should also be looking for low hanging fruit (for pages that rank well but have low click through rates) in webmaster tools and Search Console. These are pages that with a tweak of title and/or better call to action in the meta description should improve click throughs which should show results as soon as the page is indexed (usually within a few days).
For an older site with poor rankings but good architecture and below average links to the site your SEO should provide a list of “target pages” that are closest to ranking so that you can leverage what the previous SEO has already done. The SEO then adds internal and external links to the “target pages” and adjusts content and optimizes the copy. This should show results within a few months of launch of the site.
As you can see from the list above, you should expect a well thought-out and thorough implementation of a search engine marketing campaign.
In time, this should result in the proper indexing of your site by all indexing search engines, listings on all major niche-directories, inbound links from sites that will add more relevancy than simple meta tag and copy optimization and more traffic from sites catering to targeted users who are more likely to purchase or revisit/bookmark your site.
There is a saying – “the cream always rises to the top”. With time, a good search engine marketing campaign adds a leavening agent and ensures positions are easily maintained once you are at the top. Sustainable rankings should be your goal!