Why You Should Hire 1 of These 5 Organic SEO Consultants: 9 Benefits & 7 Key Things I Do to Dramatically Grow Your Business
If you want to incorporate SEO strategies into your business, you’ll have a crucial choice to make.
Should you hire an organic SEO consultant or an SEO marketing agency?
It’s a critical decision that everyone new to the SEO world has to make. You want quality organic SEO services, but what’s the best way to get them? Should you consult with a tried and true expert or hire a full-service agency?
I’m here to convince you why hiring an organic SEO consultant is far superior to working with an agency. But stay with me…I used to work for a sharp marketing agency, Imaginasium, and they fill a space when your needs are greater than just SEO.
Along the way, I’ll explain the challenges involved in working with SEO agencies and why it’s best to hire a consultant. I’ll also clue you in on the benefits of working with a consultant and answer some FAQs.
Let’s dive in to discover how an organic SEO consultant can dramatically grow your business.
Table of Contents
7 Key Things an SEO Consultant (Should Be) Responsible for…
You may be wondering what an SEO consultant does and how we differ from agencies. It’s our goal to audit your site’s current pages so we can improve those existing assets (phase 1), then build on that more solid foundation with new assets…product/service or content article pages (phase 2).
This leads us to 7 essential focus areas that your SEO consultant should consider working on (if they are relevant to your unique situation). They can include:
1. Existing Content Audit (With Focus on “Quick Wins”)
First, we’ll do an in-depth audit of your current content. You may have heard that content is king in SEO. It’s true that your content is invaluable to your SEO traffic and performance.
That’s why a thorough audit of your content is always the first step. That way, we can determine the areas that need the most work. During a content audit, I’ll look at:
- Duplicate content (an SEO no-no)
- Thin content (another SEO no-no)
- Ways your url folder/directory structure may be holding your SEO back
- Content that is in “striking distance” of a lot more SEO traffic
- The top-ranking keywords your competitors are driving traffic from
- Templates to make implementation of ‘quick wins’ easy
These are just a few of the factors that go into a content audit.
A favorite strategy of mine during this stage is to look for ‘Quick Wins’ to implement.
A ‘quick win’ is a simple strategy you can use to see immediate results. I often recommend what I call the ‘one-two punch’ of SEO.
It involves optimizing your current pages with keywords you are in “striking distance” for and using high authority internal pages to link to those newly optimized pages. In combination, you can doubly increase the odds for a quick boost to your SEO rankings. SEO can indeed take a while to see results, but I always start my consulting with quick wins like this.
A content audit involves an in-depth look at your current SEO traffic and rankings. That is the starting point your consultant will use to build on at first. You’ll get the chance to view how you currently stand in the rankings so you can form an action plan to rise higher.
2. Technical Site Audit: Fixing Issues Google Sees When Crawling a Site
The next step is to perform a technical audit of your business. During this stage, we’ll look for:
- Broken internal/external links
- Pages with duplicate metadata (Titles & Descriptions)
- Incorrect pages in the sitemap
- Pages missing an H1
- Images that don’t have “Alt Tag” attribute
- Too much text in the title tag
- Duplicate H1 and Title tag
- Page speed issues
- Among others
A technical audit takes a look at the technical side of your webpage. Rather than judging the content on your page, this step is all about functionality.
This report identifies “behind the scenes” technical issues that Google sees when they crawl the site; they consider these “hidden” errors, many of which count against the SEO potential of their site. While the user doesn’t “see” most of the issues, they are ultimately affected by them.
Knowing which of these technical audit items on the list will give us the most dramatic results is key to prioritizing fixes.
3. Site Migration Strategy: Reduce Risk of Traffic Drop During Switchover
Okay, so once the audits are done, don’t forget to implement and publish those changes. An area that may or may not apply to your situation is website migration.
This occurs whenever you merge one or more websites and/or subdomains to another or from one existing site to a new site.
A strategy is necessary here. You don’t want to lose the combined SEO traffic of your existing pages across however many sites are being migrated. A trained consultant will know how to make all these new changes without sacrificing your current traffic.
Bear in mind; a temporary drop in SEO traffic is next to inevitable here. Changing your website is a form of major surgery, and it needs time to recover. But with the right strategy we can limit the severity and duration of that drop and rebound.
Luckily, we’ve got several key tricks up our sleeve to help reduce that risk. Once the recovery period is over, your SEO rankings will begin to rise.
4. Keyword Research: Identify Phrases Popular with Prospects & Customers
What would an SEO strategy be without keyword research? This task is one of the most crucial to finding success with organic SEO services. As you might imagine, there is A LOT that goes into keyword research.
It goes a lot deeper than simply finding the keywords for your business that are most popular.
Instead, your consultant will need to find keywords that you stand a chance at ranking for first.
You see, there’s a ton of competition out there to outrank others for the hottest keywords. It’s not always about ranking for the #1 keyword, but ranking as high as you can for specific ones. Keywords are constantly changing and evolving, too. It takes an organic SEO consultant with a keen eye to stay on top of your keywords.
Here are 4 areas to consider before choosing a target SEO keyword for your article or product/service pages:
- Most organic traffic potential (aka search volume or “popularity”)
- Not too competitive to rank for
- Correct search intent (content vs. product/service)
- Enough link targets that running backlink email outreach makes sense
5. Content Editorial Calendar: Plan Out Topics & Dates to Publish New Pages
Next, your consultant needs to create a content calendar based on your keyword research. What’s that? It’s a calendar containing all your planned blog posts and pages to be created in future months.
To keep gaining traffic, you need to post relevant content for your industry/area of expertise.
That might mean creating content on your website for a number of months, then pausing. It’s all about quality over quantity. Blog articles are one of the easiest ways to achieve this. Each blog should contain informative information and a call to action, moving them along in the customer journey (subscribe to email and get an ebook, contact us form, etc.).
The more educational you can be with your content, the better. A great way to boost SEO traffic is to provide relevant content that customers are searching for often. Answering questions and solving problems (NOT selling) should be your goal for your blog posts.
6. Build Quality Backlinks: Jumpstart New & Existing Pages in Google Rankings
Link building is an essential task that often goes overlooked by agencies. Backlinks are a crucial aspect of any SEO strategy.
While there are other backlink strategies I use (depending on the situation), I almost always start with the Skyscraper technique because it is one of the best to jumpstart rankings.
This generally involves creating new content articles and garnering some of your competitor’s backlinks.
An example would go like this:
- You review the top 10 articles (for your target SEO keyword) that have a lot of quality backlinks
- You write an article that is more comprehensive, informative, and useful
- You reach out to the websites that are linking to the original piece and then ask them to link to yours in addition to the one they already did
That is an incredibly effective link-building technique. When done correctly, you can grow your organic traffic in a short time. And keep in mind that we aren’t looking for tons of links for each article, just a handful of quality ones.
7. Tracking/Reporting: Reviewing Data To Make Course Corrections (If Needed)
The final task an international SEO consultant is responsible for is tracking and iterating. That means we keep an eye on your progress at all times.
We typically track items in this order that they start to happen:
- Quality links
A reliable SEO consultant will keep a close eye on things for you. They should remain nimble in their work to adjust and adapt with new strategies if needed.
9 Benefits Of An SEO Consultant Vs. An SEO Agency
Okay, so now let’s dive into a direct comparison between a consultant and an agency. There are many reasons why consultants are superior to agencies, but I’m going to focus on the top 9 which are:
1. A Direct and Personal Approach
A huge drawback of using an SEO agency is that you don’t always get a direct approach. Instead, lots of marketing strategists, account managers, and project managers will work with you.
That can lead to confusion, miscommunication, and slowdown, especially since this SEO stuff is much more technical and complicated than it used to be. It’s hard to get things done when multiple people are working with you.
Compare that to working with an organic SEO consultant.
We’re the only person that you have to deal with, leading to a direct approach.
Since you’re our singular focus, you’ll enjoy personalized service. We will always know how things are going, and you can get things done a lot quicker.
And you will always get it straight from the horse’s mouth, with no accidental filtering or delays.
2. No Red Tape
So you’re working with an agency, and you’ve got a great idea for a plan. The only problem is that you’re held up by so much organizational red tape that it takes weeks or months to accomplish anything. There are regulations, policies, organizational communication, and forms that can slow your progress.
Luckily, SEO consultants don’t have to deal with any of this. Since we’re on our own, we don’t have that larger corporate structure to impede our work. As a result, our services are direct and straight to the point. There’s minimal paperwork, policies, or stress standing in your way.
3. Unprecedented Expertise
For SEO consultants to work as a singular entity, they need to be extremely sharp. Often, they have deep and broad experience working for agencies (and their many varied clients) and left to pursue their own independent journey. As a client, you’ll enjoy superior results working with a seasoned consultant who has likely worked with many clients in varied industries and situations.
They’ll also have more time to dive deeper into your strategy. Since your organic SEO services won’t be split between team members, your consultant can focus on it all.
There’s nothing better than a robust, singular vision for an SEO strategy.
Teams can muddy the waters with ideas that aren’t competing or lack the best strategy. If you don’t want to waste time, your best bet is to hire an SEO consultant.
4. Personal Responsibility
SEO consultants have a real incentive to work harder and make fewer mistakes. Why’s that? Because we’re 100% responsible for our work. If something goes wrong, we’re the only ones to blame.
Compare that to a team, where everyone can point fingers at someone else.
With an SEO consultant, what you see is what you get. There’s no fall guy to point our fingers at when things go wrong. That’s why we’ll go above and beyond to ensure that your organic SEO services are perfect.
5. Proven SEO Success
When you read the testimonials of an SEO consultant, you’re getting a direct review of their talents.
The same isn’t always true for SEO agency testimonials.
- Sure, they may be glowing, but who was responsible for success?
- Are the team members that did the best work still at the company?
- Do you know that you’ll work with the best agents?
As you can see, there can be uncertainty involved in working with an agency.
Even with a five-star review, there’s no way of knowing who did what. Or if that work actually resulted in the positive results they got. With a technical SEO consultant, our reviews are a direct reflection of our personal skills, knowledge, and customer service.
6. A Singular Focus: One Ring To Rule Them All
SEO agencies are famous for doing far more than organic SEO services. Many larger agencies are full-service digital marketing firms, and these firms do have their place if you want to work on several things at once. But if they say that they’re an SEO agency, is most of their focus elsewhere?
If you want someone entirely dedicated to your SEO, you need a consultant.
At an agency, they provide services such as email marketing, social media, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and more. If you’re looking for complete SEO services and nothing more, you don’t need the extra fluff.
And with each of these marketing channels becoming specialties in their own right, it is tougher for an agency to be true experts in multiple channels.
7. Superior Results…And Not Just Traffic, But Leads & Sales Too
SEO consultants will focus on not just rankings and traffic, but ensuring the strategy that they recommend at the beginning of the engagement is focused on quality traffic that will yield leads and sales.
Don’t you want an SEO consultant that will deliver business results (sales, ROI, etc.)?
8. Clear & Direct Communication
Let’s say that you’re working with an SEO agency and have an essential and specific SEO question.
You call your agency only to speak to someone you’ve never met before.
They take your info and pass it along to someone else, but you’re left wondering if that game of telephone will translate the message back and forth correctly..
Sounds like a headache, huh?
Well, you can avoid all that by hiring a consultant instead. We’re your only contact, so we’re the only person you’ll ever need to contact. We’ll also know everything about SEO, as well as all the work we’ve done ourselves.
9. Higher Levels of Efficiency & Faster Production
The final benefit of hiring an organic SEO consultant is how much faster we can create the strategy and be your guide in the implementation stage. No more waiting months for action.
The Top 5 SEO Consultants…You Can’t Afford to Ignore
Now that you know why hiring a consultant is best, let’s look at some of the top 5 SEO consultants. Besides myself, these are all fantastic consultants that do superior work. The other 4 are ones that I’ve either worked with, seen their work, or know clients who have worked with them around today. They know their SEO stuff AND they are people of solid integrity, character, confident yet humble, and a joy to work with.
I’m a highly successful SEO consultant from Green Bay, Wisconsin. As the founder of Why Stuff Sucks®, I have published several books under the brand. I’m an investor, entrepreneur, author, keynote speaker, SEO consultant, and technology leader. I have over 2 decades of marketing experience with agency and brand-side SEO, inbound, and content marketing.
Beyond that, I also have an extensive background in business operations management with responsibility for revenues and profits. I boast a proven track record of increasing online sales, leads, and profits for a wide range of industries. I like to take an educational, consultative role with my clients. As a result, I’m incredibly easy to work with, and I have a large amount of passion evidenced in sharing why we recommend certain strategies and how we implement them (not just the what).
To show that a content article can generate sales, look no further than an article I created for InitiativeOne that got picked up on Entrepreneur.com and went on to generate a $400,000 contract. That’s simply one example of my ability to generate revenues through my SEO consulting.
Here are some other examples of my work and case study data:
- B2B case study (InitiativeOne)
- B2B/B2C case study (Mr. Rekey: Locksmith)
- B2C case study (CSS Industries
- 3 Benefits & 5 Steps For Best Performing Evergreen Content (blog article I wrote, also has case study data from my client work)
Clients I’ve Done SEO Work for:
Other 3rd Party Platforms That’ve Vetted my SEO Work:
CEO at Mr. Rekey
“So easy to work with! Very open to other ideas. You can sense the depth of his experience when discussing strategies. Great relationship builder as well. Highly recommend this guy!! “
Director of Digital Marketing/Ecommerce at CSS Industries
“Miles’s patience, expert knowledge, in-depth presentations, and guidance were most appreciated. I highly recommend him. “
177% Conversion Growth for a National Food Brand
SEO-focused content strategy for food recipes which integrated with influencer marketing, SEM, & email lead gen campaigns, resulted in 177% conversion growth YoY. Transformed from a traditional regional retail brand to a digitally-savvy nationwide eCommerce player.
Robbie Richards is the creator of the SEO Playbook training course, and more importantly is a personal friend. He’s also a marketing director, speaker, and blogger. He does SEO consulting for SaaS companies through Virayo. Finding the combination of a helluva SEO consultant who’s also genuinely humble and kind-hearted is one in a million!
3. Tom Dehnel
Tom Dehnel is a freelance SEO consultant that does fantastic work. He specializes in SEO optimization for business growth. He has experience in B2B, Fintech, SaaS, and many more. Tom is available for both short and long-term projects. Tom knows his SEO $h!t (has high expectations of himself and others around him) and still maintains his down-to-earth vibe.
He’s the Gordon Ramsey of SEO…
4. Mike Khorev
Khorev has built a strong reputation for being able to grow organic traffic. He specializes in SEO and inbound marketing. He has experience with SaaS and tech companies. I will never forget Mike’s assistance in my journey from agency to independent consultant as well as some tips I’ve picked up from him along the way.
You may notice a theme here, all of these blokes are generous and humble in spite of their knowledge and success. I love to align myself with others like this.
5. Brian Dean
Brian is the founder of Backlinko, a blog for everything related to SEO. His blog is wildly successful, with shoutouts from Forbes and The Huffington Post. Brian provides candid SEO advice that will help you see actionable results.
And his site is one that accelerated my understanding of SEO when I was learning the ropes many years back.
FAQs About Organic SEO Consultants
There are lots of questions about what we consultants do. The 3 questions that I hear asked the most are:
1. How Can I Avoid Getting Sold SEO Snake Oil
Ask for and examine their client case study data…and ignore everything else they tell you. It’s really that simple and similar to the adage I tell my teenage daughter about dating. “See what they do and ignore everything they say (unless it aligns with their actions).”
2. How Do I Pick the Best One?
Price is only one piece of the puzzle. It’s more about who you could see yourself working with the most. For organic SEO services, a personal fit is ideal for a consultant. You want to find one that understands your business and knows what makes you tick. I’d love to work with you myself, but there may be valid reasons why we aren’t a fit.
My promise to you is that I won’t just take your money; I have and will in the future turn down prospects who want to hire me (before we even get started working together), especially when the money they want to pay me is a big number.
It…has…to…be…a…good…fit! And if not, I will refer you to someone that I know is reputable; I kinda already did by including those other 4 dudes to my list.
3. How Much Does it Cost?
The cost will vary significantly based on your needs and more importantly how aggressive your company’s revenue goals are. The process of making sure we are a fit for each other is all about budget/goals alignment. This establishes expectations (on both my side and yours) about what we can expect to get from our SEO work (in addition to what other parts of your marketing mix will deliver additional revenues: Google Ads, FB ads, social, email, etc.).
I can project a lower monthly amount for our work, but that will only help us target a lesser amount of the revenue goal. Or I could project a higher monthly fee and that would allow us to target a higher revenue goal.
And if we don’t have budget/goals alignment, then we can’t work together because I don’t take on work I know will not meet your expectations.
If I did, I’d be telling a white lie…and as Seth Godin once said “All Marketers Are Liars”. 😉