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Are you looking to take your digital marketing to the next level?
Do you want more people to visit your website?
Is your target to increase the amount of inbound sales leads you receive?
If the answer to these three questions is yes, you may want to consider hiring an SEO specialist.
This blog post will explain the skills and attributes the best specialists will have, as well as some red flags to avoid.
What is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimisation, is anything carried out to improve where your website ranks in search engines like Google and Bing.
It pays to be as high in the search engines as possible. 68% of website clicks come from the first five results in Google! More website clicks means more enquiries, more publicity and more sales!
SEO encompasses a lot of things, but you can primarily split it into two different camps, on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO includes things you can control on your own website. This includes meta descriptions and titles, the structure of your content and the use of keywords.
Conversely, off-page SEO includes things that happen away from your website that you cannot necessarily control. This includes backlinks from other sites, social media shares and your domain authority.
A good SEO specialist will use both on-page and off-page SEO to grow your website.
What to look for in an SEO specialist
Whether you decide to hire a freelancer, bring in an agency or hire an in-house member of staff, your SEO specialist needs to know several things. These include:
How to use white hat SEO techniques
White hat SEO is when you improve your position in the search engines, all while maintaining the integrity of your website.
Search engines have a lot of rules your specialist needs to follow to avoid penalties. An exceptional SEO specialist will ensure your site stays safe and compliant with these guidelines.
Knowing how all the SEO skills come together
As we mentioned before, SEO consists of a lot of different things, and the perfect SEO specialist will know how they all come together.
For example, when creating a new web page, they need to know how headers, metadata, alt text and keywords come together to create a well-optimised page.
Someone who can write
Content writing is a big part of SEO, and you will need to hire someone who can write entertaining blog posts, informative product pages and enticing meta descriptions.
They need to be able to weave the right keywords into their content to rank as highly as possible in the search engines, but also ensure content is written for people, not machines.
Being able to keep up to date with the latest developments
SEO changes all of the time, and your candidate must be well-read when it comes to optimisation.
For example, Google updates its search algorithms frequently, so it is vital to know what the updates entail and whether they will have an impact on your site.
What to avoid when it comes to an SEO specialist
If your prospective SEO specialist mentions or does the following things, alarm bells should be ringing!
The use of black hat techniques
The opposite of white hat, black hat techniques will boost your website in the search engines quickly, but at a cost.
Black hat SEO uses practices that are frowned upon by the search engines. These include using hidden text and links on webpages, paying for links, using irrelevant keywords and spamming comments on blog posts.
If the search engines find out you are using black hat techniques, the penalties can be high.
The search engines can demote your website in their rankings or in the worst-case scenario, remove your site entirely. This will result in a reduction in visits and potentially a drop in profits too.
Out of interest, a good SEO specialist will know what black hat SEO is and what it entails, so they can avoid using it!
An unwillingness to grow and evolve
You may spy an SEO specialist with 15 years of experience, but if they are still using the same techniques from then, it’s not a good sign.
SEO guidance changes all the time, so you need someone willing to keep up to date.
Summary: What to look out for
The perfect specialist will know how to utilise legitimate SEO techniques, and how they all come together to provide one unified marketing strategy for your needs.
An SEO specialist can be a great addition to your team, and will do amazing work to ensure your website and your business grows and grows!