SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), is the process of increasing a website’s visibility on Search Engines such as Google, Bing, etc thereby driving organic traffic. SEO is a time taking process and usually involves various techniques such as writing blogs, generating backlinks, optimizing the website, etc.
Example - You search for “Best app developers near me” on Google. You are most likely to click one of the first few results, and this drives organic traffic to the websites. This process of ranking a website on top for certain keywords, or a combination of searches is SEO - Search Engine Optimisation, and an SEO-Expert is someone who can help a business achieve this goal.
SEO Experts, often called SEO Specialists are individuals, or brands who can help a website rank on search engines like Google, Bing, etc when a user is searching for terms that are related to the brand.
Let’s take an example - Mr. Manohar sells gifts online and wants to now be visible when people search for gifts on Google. For this task, he can hire an SEO professional who will help Mr. Manohar reach this goal using different methods like optimizing his website, creating a sitemap, integrating it with marketing analytics, etc
In short, a professional SEO expert is someone who can understand the business requirements, do the required keyword research, setting up blogs, and all the execution that it takes to help the business reach its desired goals.
There are billions of websites on the internet with a huge amount of data in the form of text, images, videos, and audio. Now, this overload of information creates a problem of accessibility.
Let’s suppose you are searching for “Logo designers near me”, you’d not want to see results with logo designers who don’t even live in your country. This implies that when we look for something on the internet we need to see something very relevant, and this is where Search Engines like Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo come into the picture.
A Search Engine has complex algorithms that index these web-pages based on multiple ranking factors such as - Speed, Content relevancy, Security, Authenticity, Authority, Crawlability, etc
For a website to rank at the top of search results, they need to work on many different aspects such as content creation, content distribution, internal linking, external linking, optimizations, etc which is a time taking process that may take months before the results appear. Therefore it’s best to hire SEO Specialists to get this done.
The time taken For SEO to generate results would depend on many factors, majorly the amount of competition for the keywords. For instance, if you want to rank for a keyword that is not very competitive, then you may rank faster than someone who’s looking to rank for highly competitive keywords such as “Website Developers” or “Shopify Developers”.
Typically it takes 3-6 months for the efforts to start being visible, and years for the website to build authority in the desired niche, but with continuous work.
Multiple ranking factors are known to the freelance SEO experts, and many are closely guarded by Search Engine companies to prevent misuse of algorithms. We are listing down some of the known factors that affect SEO -
Crawlability - Search Engines crawl websites to understand the content, structure, and markup of the website. But if the crawler isn’t able to properly pick up information then even if the website has a goldmine of content, it wouldn’t matter.
Mobile Friendliness - Another major ranking factor is how friendly is the website to Mobile, and other devices? If the user has to scroll horizontally and vertically, the website in consideration will never be ranked no matter how good the content is.
PageSpeed - Nobody likes waiting, and if Google senses drop-offs due to speed, it will be flagged, and chances of ranking are difficult. Frameworks like React and Angular are designed for this very aspect of optimizing for speed.
Security - Installing SSL certificates alone might not be enough. It’s crucial for the website to be secure, and not compromise on the user’s privacy or security.
Authority - Google loves authority, and to build authority multiple factors are taken into account such as number of backlinks, age of the domain, quality of traffic, retention of traffic, repeat traffic, etc
Quality & Relevance of Content - If a user searches for “Apple” they will be shown the page of the computer maker, and not the fruit because Google identifies the intent of the user before they show them the results. So a website talking about apples may not come at the top. But if someone searches for “fresh apples”, in such cases the search engine will recommend websites that sell apples.
Therefore Relevance of content is one of the top governing factors that affect SEO.
SEO is a vast field of work that requires a blend of multiple skills to achieve the desired results, and for this, there are an array of services that can be offered by SEO professionals.
SEO Audit - Before engaging in SEO, website owners need to do a website audit for SEO to identify vulnerabilities and opportunities
Keyword Research - Once the SEO audit has been achieved, it’s important to identify keywords that are relevant to the business. An SEO expert freelancer can research based on their understanding of the business use-case in consideration.
Create Content Strategy/Blogs - Once the relevant keywords have been identified, an SEO expert can draft a content strategy that can be followed to create high-quality content that can potentially help your website rank higher. This involves writing high-quality blogs that provide value to the reader.
Setup Analytics - Good marketing involves measuring the efforts. There are multiple tools used by SEO experts to measure traffic behavior and trends. Google search console and Google Analytics are the “must-have” tools.
Internal linking, Optimising Content - A SEO professional can also optimize the already existing content for SEO which includes editing keywords, adding alt attributes, etc.
External Links - To build authority a website must have backlinks from relevant websites, and to do this one has to write guest blogs, or provide information so valuable that other websites are willing to embed it on their websites.
Examples of such content pieces include Infographics, detailed reports, whitepapers, case studies, etc. A freelance SEO professional may help you devise the strategy for this, but one may need to hire external experts to create such content.
Voice SEO - With the emergence of voice technologies such as Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and many more, the number of voice apps, and searches are increasing rapidly. Therefore many freelance SEO specialists can help a brand create its presence through voice.
Local SEO - Businesses such as cafes, doctors, real-estate require relevant traffic from a locality rather than global traffic, and in such instances, an SEO professional can help an individual or a business rank locally.
Create a Sitemap - Google requires sites to have a sitemap that makes it easy to crawl and navigate. An SEO professional can update the Sitemap or create a new one.
Fixing bugs and errors - There are times when your web pages will show errors, and debug them the expertise of a freelance SEO expert is needed.
The cost of hiring an SEO professional freelancer will depend heavily on the scope of work. The cost of hiring a writer who can write SEO-friendly blogs will be less than hiring an SEO expert freelancer who can pick up end-to-end execution from strategy to execution.
Due to the extensive scope of work, a lot of SEO professionals, and agencies charge hourly. But the major Factors affecting SEO costs are as follows -
Expertise and Experience of the SEO Expert - The world of SEO is diverse, and if one is looking for someone to manage the SEO for a website that has 100,000 pages then they need an SEO specialist who can run internal audits, recommend suggestions for improvement, whereas someone looking to hire for a B2B company with 10-12 pages wouldn’t need a seasoned expert, rather someone with a wider variety of knowledge about Digital Marketing.
Competition - If the desired keywords are very competitive, then the efforts needed to rank the desired keywords may be very high, and thus higher costs.
Scope of work - What form of services do you seek? Is it on-page SEO, off-page SEO, technical SEO, or a combination of two or more? The costs are heavily dependent on the scope of work.
Cost of tools, software, plugins, etc - There are times when the SEO expert freelancer will need to use paid tools to strategize and execute, and some of these tools can be paid such as Yoast SEO, Ahrefs, etc. Therefore one needs to account for the cost of these tools too.
Time took - Even if the scope of work can be limited, but if the time taken to work on a project is high, the costs can rise. In repetitive tasks, it’s wise to let the SEO expert outsource the recurring tasks so that they can focus on the higher-impact work.
Technical SEO - The technical side of SEO is something that requires the person to have technical knowledge. Technical SEO includes creating a sitemap, running robots.txt files, optimizing site architecture for SEO, link re-directions, fixing crawl errors, etc
On-Page SEO - As the name suggests this bit of SEO includes efforts directly on the webpage. This includes writing content, creating internal links, optimizing existing content, fixing image/media attributes, creating/modifying meta tags, etc
Off-Page SEO - After the content on the website has been created and optimized it becomes important to put efforts into creating an authority for the website. Off-page SEO involves generating backlinks through guest blogs, the creation of shareable images/media that can be embedded into blogs by other websites, and more.
An SEO strategy is a time taking process that takes weeks, and months of continuous efforts to drive results. Therefore it’s extremely important to ensure to ask questions before hiring a freelance SEO expert.
About their Expertise & Portfolio - One should check for the expertise of the freelancer before hiring them, and it’s also important to get it validated by their past clients.
About the industries or categories, they have worked in - An SEO expert with years of experience in the field of beauty products might not be able to add much value to a technology company that specializes in app development. Therefore it's important to look for industry expertise in an SEO expert.
What is the SEO strategy? - The client may not have a very good understanding of SEO, but they do have a great idea of their business. One should check for the strategy, and see how it syncs with their business plan, and goals.
What are the Metrics they will measure? - Since the process of SEO can take time, it’s difficult to measure the input. Therefore one should ask their experts about the metrics they will measure. Few things to track are - Blogs written, Backlinks generated, etc.
Access to reports and dashboards - An SEO expert freelancer may use tools such as Google Search Console, Ahrefs, etc, that provide for extensive reports of the SEO performance, and therefore one should ask their expert about the access to the reports that enable them to get an insight into the business.
About hiring external experts - Good extensive SEO requires the use of the expertise of many people, and in such cases, one should ask the SEO expert if they have access to such people who can be added to the team in case the need arises?
Support - What if something comes up after you have parted ways with the freelancer? Will they extend support to fix bugs or errors after the completion of the project? A good freelancer should provide ample support after the work is done.
What are the additional costs? - A lot of SEO efforts might require spending money, and in such cases, it's important to have an idea of all expected expenses beforehand.
SEO is one of the most important marketing techniques for your online business. A higher ranked website will lead to higher trust as compared to the one which ranks a little lower. Goes without saying that a higher ranked website will drive more traffic, more conversion, and more leads for your business.
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