SEO basics

What Does an SEO Consultant Do?

A search engine optimization (SEO) consultant’s job is to help your business to be found by your customers online. Learn more about what they do and what you should look for when hiring one.

Key Takeaways

  • The role of an SEO consultant is to help businesses be found by their target audience online.

  • SEO consultants are responsible for attracting and converting potential customers, maintaining competitiveness in the online marketplace, and making actionable business decisions based on data.

  • Essential skills for an SEO consultant include staying up-to-date with the evolving SEO industry, conducting keyword research, optimizing website content, resolving technical hindrances, and analyzing data to provide actionable recommendations.

  • The benefits of working with an SEO consultant include increased brand awareness, business growth, remaining competitive in the online marketplace, and staying relevant online.

  • SEO consultants perform industry research, keyword research, on-page and off-page optimization, resolve technical errors, and analyze data.

  • Important skills for SEO consultants include prioritizing experience over best practices, providing proven results, seeing the big picture, creating custom strategies, and explaining the value of SEO to clients.

  • Finding the right SEO consultant or agency takes thoughtful consideration and should not be rushed. Talk to a few SEO businesses to see which one makes the most sense for you.

What is an SEO consultant?

An SEO consultant is a professional with a highly-specialized set of skills whose goal is to attract and convert. They help businesses improve their website’s visibility and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it is a complex and ever-changing field.

When most people think about SEO, they typically think only about Google, but it doesn’t just end there; it’s important to know that wherever there is a search box, there’s SEO, and a skilled SEO consultant can help in each of these areas.

A branded MediaSesh slide with boxes outlining where SEO can exist. An expanded image description is below.
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The title reads “Wherever there’s a search box, there’s SEO. Here’s a sample of what we do”
Below are 12 boxes with various icons with words that read: Amazon strategy, keyword research, mobile SEO, content optimizations, Google Analytics, internal site search, technical audit, local optimization, SEO training, social optimization, link building and earning, and conversion optimization.

Many growing businesses have spent A LOT of money to create an awesome product that is supported by a stellar website loaded with rich content, but what’s the point of doing all that if no one can even find it?

Attracting targeted audiences from search engines and getting them to turn into customers takes a lot of planning, strategy, creativity, and execution. This is where SEO can help, but what are the responsibilities of an SEO consultant and what should you consider when choosing one?

What are the benefits of an SEO consultant?

There are many benefits to working with an SEO consultant, including the following:

  1. Help get you found by your customers.
    SEO can help improve your brand awareness by making your website more visible in search engines. When people see your website in search results, they are more likely to remember your brand and consider doing business with you in the future.

    As I mentioned above, one of my favorite sayings is what’s the point of spending time, resources, and money on great content and a great website if no one can find you? It’s similar to if a tree falls in a forest.

    A thinking face emoji with text that reads, "If a website isn't ranking prominently in Google... does it even exist?"

  2. Help you grow your business.
    One of my “whys” for working in SEO is that I get to help quality businesses grow, spread their message to the masses, and hire more people. This is why I only work with businesses that bring me joy and are mission-driven.

    SEO consultants can help to grow your business when they improve your website’s ranking in search engines, which can lead to increased website traffic. Increased website traffic can lead to more leads and sales. More leads and sales lead to amplifying your vision and the great message you worked hard to create.

  3. Help you remain competitive in the online marketplace.
    If you’re not using SEO, well then that’s one less business your competitors need to worry about.

    Think of Google as a plot of land, where you can only build a certain amount of houses on that land. The more homes you own, the more wealth you can create. Same for SEO, the more search engine real estate you own, the more opportunities you have for building wealth.

  4. Help you remain relevant online.
    Ever hear the saying out of sight, out of mind? If you’re not ranking prominently for important targeted keywords, then your customers won’t even consider you. They might not know to consider you since they don’t know what they don’t know.

    You can also think of this as a magazine. The person that’s on the cover has more visibility and is more relevant than someone on page 98.

  5. Help you improve marketing efficiency.
    SEO and PPC go great together. The data available to these specialties can help the other in order to make the most of marketing dollars with integrated marketing strategies.

    An example of this is when I can view the type of keywords that have generated the most revenue for PPC and see how to layer that information into my optimization strategies. It can also help to see which keywords we should add to improve the Quality Score and CPCs.

  6. Help you make actionable next-step business decisions.
    SEO and analytics go hand-in-hand. An SEO consultant will look to see what’s working and what’s not working so they can tweak their strategies.

    Monthly reporting is included in every one of my SEO consulting packages because I need to show clients the value of my work and what I think we should do next based on the data. More times than not, it should always be about the data!

What is an SEO consultant’s job description?

There are so many different kinds of search engine optimization consultants where some specialize in a few different parts of SEO, while others try to specialize in one. And that’s ok! There is so much ground to cover in our growing industry.

It’s sometimes about pairing up business owners with the right SEO agency or marketing team. Regardless, there are usually a few skills in the job description that they share, which are as follows:

  1. Industry Research
    SEO has evolved and will continue to evolve in the future. An SEO specialist will keep up to date on research and learn about the latest trends in the industry.

    NOT A DAY goes by when I don’t hear about a new update from Google and need to consider how it will impact my clients and their online visibility.

  2. Keyword Research
    This is the foundation of SEO and content marketing. Selecting the right target keywords could be the difference between getting found on search engines and not getting found.

    Every consultant will have a slightly different approach to evaluating keywords to improve rankings, which is fine. What’s important here is that you hire an SEO consultant that has a solid keyword strategy and can properly explain why they selected the keywords they selected.

  3. On-Page Optimization 
    After the keyword research is done, an SEO consultant or digital marketing manager should know how to apply those essential keywords to the various pages of your website.

    One thing I also consider when optimizing content is incorporating entity-related search queries. These are additional keyword variations that help search engines better understand the terms and concepts of your pages.

  4. Off-Page Optimization
    This is also known as link building and earning. Having inbound links from other websites back to yours is a signal to search engines that your website is so valuable that others are willing to link back to it.

    The problem with link building is that it is infested with spammy tactics that create poor online experiences. It’s one of the methods that has given the SEO industry a bad name, but quality SEO consultants steer clear of this type of approach.

    Many moons ago, prior to working in SEO, I worked in public relations for a couple of years. It has been one method of naturally generating links from reputable online sources by creating meaningful relationships with editors. There are other methods; this is my personal favorite.

  5. Resolve Technical Errors
    An SEO consultant should know how to conduct a technical SEO audit and work closely with website developers to resolve those errors.

    This is an essential aspect of SEO since it helps search engines access and index the pages of your website. You can have the greatest content in the world, but you risk not being found in search engines if search crawlers can’t access it. 

  6. Analyze Data 
    SEO is not a set-it-and-forget-it type of internet marketing strategy.

    Sometimes, my SEO strategy recommendations don’t move the needle, but make sure you work with an SEO expert that knows how to look at platforms such as Google Analytics, interpret web analytics data, and provide actionable next-step decisions to help increase organic traffic.

    It’s about testing to see what’s working and not working for each business.

What skills should an SEO consultant have?

In addition to the day-to-day tasks outlined in the job description section, a quality search engine optimization consultant will also have these skills:

  1. They prioritize experience over best practices
    Early in my SEO career, I would say “We should do XX because it’s a best practice.” With more time and experience, I’ve learned to say “We should do XX because it’s worked based on my previous tests” or “We should do YY because the data suggests we try it.”

    The more years an SEO professional has in the industry, the more experience they have. This is usually the case, of course not always, but chances are they’ve seen a lot over the years and have the case studies to prove it.

  2. They have proven results 
    An SEO consultant should be able to provide qualitative and quantitative case studies and how they’ve helped businesses like yours in the past. They should have proof that they are results-driven and can help increase ROI. And don’t be afraid to ask for references!

  3. Ability to see the big picture 
    SEO campaigns are often long-term. A good search engine optimization advisor should be able to see the big picture when making recommendations for campaigns and be able to communicate the value of their work in a clear and concise way.

    They should also be able to understand how their work impacts and can be interwoven into other marketing strategies, such as public relations, social media, website development, etc.

  4. Create custom strategies 
    While some businesses may have similar SEO needs, it’s not a one size fits all plan. Your business is unique and requires custom strategies to move the needle.

    This is different than the templated approaches that exist. Sometimes those templated approaches work and sometimes they don’t. That’s why you may hear both success stories and horror stories.

  5. Explain the value 
    Many businesses know that search engine optimization is essential for business growth, but they don’t know what is involved or how to explain it to leadership, and that’s ok. An SEO consultant will know how to explain SEO to clients in order to illustrate its value.

Sometimes I like to joke that SEO reminds me of the stock market: Everyone’s an expert when it’s going great. But what about when it’s not going great? The best SEOs I know have experienced volatility and gnarly times. It’s not always easy, but a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor. All this is to say that finding a quality SEO consultant is important and I’ll explain that more next.

How can you find a good SEO consultant?

Now that you know more about the goals, skills, and job descriptions of an SEO consultant, the next step is to learn how to find one. This step takes thoughtful consideration and should never be rushed. This topic is so important that I dedicated an entire article to it titled how to find a good SEO consultant.

The article helps to break down the following:

  • Considerations to help kick-start your search to hire an SEO consultant.
  • Qualifying questions to ask an SEO consultant to see if they’re the right fit.
  • How to get a handle if an SEO consultant has quality traits.

The reason it’s critical to find a quality SEO consultant is partly that the barrier to entry into SEO is quite low, but that person shares ownership in possibly some people’s largest asset: their business! That’s a big reason to work with an SEO that leads with honesty, integrity, and accountability.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, a quality SEO consultant does a lot. They not only help to optimize web pages; they help to optimize experiences and help to optimize decisions.

When hiring an SEO consultant, I highly recommend you talk to a few different ones to see which one works the best for you, including me!

I practice what I preach. You may have even found this article in Google to learn more about what an SEO consultant does. I have over 14 years of SEO knowledge and experience. I have seen and done a lot over the years.

Let’s get a free 20-minute consulting call in the books. If you have a question about investing in your business through top-notch SEO consulting and strategy services, please reach out. I’d love to hear from you. 

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