In a nutshell, an SEO consultant provides expert support for businesses with an online presence, advising them on how to devise and implement search engine optimisation strategies that will make them more visible and successful online. This support will include a range of techniques that help make the site more attractive to search engines, so that pages rank higher on Google searches, and more targeted traffic arrives at the site. Ultimately, the goal is to increase revenue from online sales or enquiries – a process that requires long-term commitment to SEO best practice.
What do SEO Consultants Do?
SEO consultants focus their day to day activities on two key areas: on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO involves optimizing individual pages of your website in order to rank higher and secure more relevant traffic in search engines. On-page refers not only to the content (text / images / video) found on each page, but to the HTML source code of the page.
A skilled and experienced SEO consultant should be able to advise you on all aspects of on-page SEO, including things like:
- Title tags
- Meta tags
- Description tags
- Keyword density
- Latent semantic indexing
Rather than dealing with individual site pages, off-site SEO focuses on using techniques that will improve your website’s position in the search engine results page. This is likely to involve long-term strategies like link building, social media, and content marketing, which involves the creation and sharing of online material such as videos, blogs, and social media posts to stimulate interest in your brand’s products or services, and drive highly motivated traffic to your site.
They should also be able to help you create quality content for each page of your site, structure your site well, and ensure that it loads as quickly as possible and is mobile friendly – all important aspects of SEO.
How Much Does an SEO Consultant Cost?
Fees for SEO consultancy vary, with the price you pay being affected by a number of factors, including the scope of the services you need, the size of your business, and whether you choose to work with an individual SEO consultant, or with an SEO consulting agency.
As a general rule, prices for quality SEO consultancy start from £1000 per month, depending on your company’s individual needs.
SEO Consultant UK Hourly Rates (By Experience)
|Cost Per Hour||Experience||General Quality||Suitability|
|£10-£20||1-2 Years||Low||One Man Bands / Local Business|
|£20-£30||3-5 Years||Medium/Good||One Man Bands / Local Business|
|£30 – £50||5-7 Years||Good||Small Business|
|£50-£80||7-15 Years||Very Good||Medium / Large Business|
|£80-£120||15+ Years||Exceptional||Medium / Large Business|
|£120+||15+ Years||Exceptional||Corporate Business|
SEO Consultant UK Monthly Rates (Retainer)
|Average Monthly Retainer||Experience||General Quality||Suitability|
|£100-£500||1-3 Years||Low||One Man Bands / Local Business|
|£500-£1000||3-5 Years||Low / Average||Small Businesses|
|£1000-£3000||5-10 Years||Good||Small / Medium Business|
|£3000-£5000||5-10 Years||Good / Very Good||Medium / Large Business|
|£5000 – £10000||15+ Years||Good / Exceptional||Large Business|
|£10000+||15+ Years||Exceptional||Corporate Business|
Average UK SEO Consultant Retainers by Business Size
|Average Monthly Retainer||Business Size||Consultant Hours (avg)||% UK Businesses|
|£100 – £1000||One Man Bands / Small Business||10-20 Hours||10-20%|
|£1000 – £2000||Small Business||10-30 Hours||25-30%|
|£2000 – £3000||Small/Medium Business||20-30 Hours||15-25%|
|£3000 – £5000||Medium Business||30-50 Hours||10%|
|£5000 – £10000||Large Business||Limited/No Time Constraints||15%|
|£10000+||Corporate Business||No Time Constraints||5-10%|
How Long Will I Need To Work With An SEO?
Successful search engine optimization doesn’t happen overnight – it’s a long-term commitment that requires consistent and thoughtful action to achieve results.
Any consultant or company that promises you a page one Google ranking within a matter of weeks is not to be trusted. Skilled SEO is a process that requires patience, so expect to commit to working with your chosen consultant for a period of several months, if not longer.
Typical SEO Projects should run over a 12-24 month timeframe with demonstrated results being visible within the first 12 months & progressive results in the year that follows.
How long you’ll need to work with an SEO is entirely dependent on the consultants experience & available SEO budget.
Many business owners have a basic understanding of SEO best practices, and want to put these into practice, but find their time taken up with the day to day running of their businesses. Truly successful SEO also delves deeper into the process, and many of us don’t have the understanding, talent, or resources needed to achieve impressive and lasting results.
If you’ve been trying to manage SEO in house, and haven’t managed to get the results you need, a freelance SEO consultant would be an ideal addition to your team, helping you climb the search engine results page more quickly and efficiently, saving you both time and money that’s usually lost to trial and error.
Experienced SEO consultants have a range of tried and tested SEO techniques that are proven to help your business become more visible online. From the beginning, they can help you understand what is working well, and what needs to be improved, and can help you devise and implement an SEO strategy with targeted results that can be measured over a set period – with absolutely no guesswork involved.
What SEO Consultants Should Be Doing
There are lots of things an SEO consultant should do when optimising a website – namely being honest with a client and managing expectations – as, in general SEO is a time consuming process that involves a lot of testing, micromanagement and usually the support of web developers, content writers and digital PR consultants.
Things SEO Consultants SHOULD DO:
- Optimising your website so that it has a good technical compliance – making it easier for search engines like Google (Googlebot) to crawl and index. This generally means eliminating broken pages, temporary redirection, canonicalisation / cannibalisation issues, blocked resources etc.
- Improving website content so that it’s good for the end-user – this is sometimes referred to as search intent – you’ll want your content to be aimed at your target audience and produced in such a way that it proves useful to them.
- Making your website faster – sometimes referred to as pagespeed insights or core web vitals. Websites and pages within them should load quickly on desktop and mobile devices. An SEO consultant may require the support of a developer to achieve this.
- Improving internal linking – making it easier for users to navigate to other relevant pages on your website.
- Improving structured data – sometimes referred to as SCHEMA. Structured data helps search engines and web crawlers to better understand, categorise and understand the relationship between data.
- Building brand trust & domain authority – sometimes referred to as link building or digital PR. An SEO consultant SHOULD be helping to build domain authority and trust through link earning, link building and digital PR.
What SEO Consultants Shouldn’t Be Doing
Unfortunately in the SEO world, there will be SEO consultants who may take short cuts, or, to save money may use SEO techniques that violate Google Webmaster Guidelines. It’s not uncommon for SEO specialists to use techniques that could be classed as grey hat or even black hat – these can increase the risk of a Google Penalty – which, can damage rankings and cause a loss of traffic.
Things SEO Consultants SHOULDN’T DO:
- Buy Poor Quality Links including Spun Guest Posts, WEB2 links or Tiered Link Building – this is seen as an attempt to artificially inflate rankings by using poor quality / irrelevant links.
- Stuff keywords into content – stuffing keywords into content can make it read and look spammy, stuffing in lots of keywords will damage the quality & will likely turn off end users & search engines.
- Focus on keyword densities – there is no such model, good content relies on matching search intent with information that users need depending on their intent. Adding keywords so that they meet a density is NOT an advocated SEO process.
- Hiding text – a legacy technique that some people still use. This effectively means hiding text by making it the same colour as the background.
- CTR Manipulation / Click manipulation – this can involve buying traffic / clicks to make the website look more credible and to enhance CTR. Again, an old school practice that’s a waste of time.
What are the benefits of hiring an SEO Consultant?
Hiring an SEO consultant offers the benefit of a more dedicated resource – meaning your business and website are likely to get more attention over using an agency. The other benefits include saving money, getting more agile responses and getting a higher level of general experience. Hiring an SEO consultant can save your business time and money – get analysis and recommendations faster, avoid agency staff turn-over and deal with someone dedicated who can get to better understand your business, marketing and ultimately deliver a better quality of service.
How do I find a Good SEO Consultant?
Finding a good SEO consultant is difficult – usually, you’ll want to find a specialist who ranks well for keywords you search for in relation to the service – as that’s usually a sign that they have the ability to rank their own website. You can also find good SEO consultants by researching social media groups, evaluating top organic results and asking for references.
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