FEAT: Consultant SEO Paris: Joanna Vaiou
Hi there, this is Joanna, SEO Consultant at www.JoannaVaiou.com, I come from Athens, Greece and help international businesses gain control over how their brand appears in Google via several organic traffic channels (Google, Google My Business, youTube) etc. I work online remotely and travel on-demand for clients and partners requests.
This is my 1st contribution to “A City for Her” networking community, since my recent business (and pleasure) trip to Paris that took place in May 2017. After you finish reading my contribution, in the event you have any question for me that you would like me to make clear for you, please do feel free to contact me and ask me.
Ask me and you will get answers. I love feedback and I love sharing.
The reason I ask you this is that I will be sharing more value-packed guides and how-to series with “A City for Her” organization blog. Your feedback, questions and personal input can be my inspiration to create the next value-packed piece of content that will address your above expressed requests.
So, what would you like to know about SEO?
Let me know, after finishing my 1st basic informational guide.
I envision we can mutually isnpire eachother and contribute to make our world a better place to live and breathe, work and enjoy, play and rest, learn from eachother and evolve together.
At the end of this article, I am sharing few pictures of favorite spots and networking times of mine.
Most probably you landed here because you are interested in professional networking opportunities offered by Paris (and “A City for Her”).
This tells me you probably want and are looking for contemporary ways to develop or improve a business of your own.
One way to grow our businesses is through SEO (Search Engine Optimization) digital marketing method. This is the art and science of ranking web properties high organically in Google or other search verticals for search terms that represent our products and services.
Should you only rely on Search Engine Optimization for your online marketing needs?
The answer is NO. In fact, it’s not a wise decision to rely solely on any individual digital marketing channel. You need to research your niche and find the best channels for your specific industry and then do professional work to manage each different channel separately from eachother. My advice is to use as many (important in your niche) marketing channels to get your message before your ideal customers’ eyes and excel in each one.
Key Take Away: Remember one rule: “quality over quantity” and “less is more” when it comes to marketing as well.
What is SEO?
In plain words, SEO means that your webpage, or video, or Google Maps page, or image (etc) are correctly optimized as marketing materials and promoted externally, so they appear on top 10 listings (organic or “natural” results) of 1st Google page (or other vertical), while your future customers type relevant keywords in the search box to your products or services.
Being in the SEO industry for almost 9 years (and the last 5, as an independent professional running my own consulting business), I understand fear when I see it, as I mostly see it while meeting potential clients to discuss about their project.
I share just few of the reasons why SEO causes fear to business owners next:
- SEO is not direct advertising, it takes time to see results from the moment a business owners starts paying for it. AHREFS blog has published a thorough guide that answers the burning question of how long it takes to rank in Google.
- SEO is a long term investment
- SEO is everchanging due to constant Google algorithm changes
- Nothing lasts forever – there are no eternal promises – Search Engine Optimizers do not own or control Google
- Knowledge must be constantly renewed by a SEO professionall
- What will happen tomorrow is uknown
- Each SEO expert has their own different opinion about how SEO is done correctly
- Each seo expert has their own pricing model
- There is no single strategy that fits all seo projects, goals, niches etc
- Business owners don’t know who to trust because most often they are ignorant themselves about SEO so they buy into just about any pitch from SEO scammers
I Prepared a Free SEO Guide for You to Protect Yourself as a Business Owner, understand what you are buying, why and what you should expect from your investment in Search Engine Optimization.
I invite you all to my virtual “space” to offer you valuable, detailed and comprehensive insights about my own industry named “Search Engine Optimization” or “SEO” to contemplate on, before you make any decision to either hire an in-house SEO employee or outsource your SEO Project management needs to an external Independent SEO Consultant / Partner.
Whatever you choose, you should always aim for the Best Quality of Service.
In order to do that and make a smart and thoughtful decision you must first understand how to understand what “QUALITY of SERVICE” means before you spend your money on it.
First of all you should ask them some type of proof for work they have done for other clients or other projects. You can go even further and ask to talk with the clients for whom they will show you a successful case study.
Here is a comprehensive SEO Performance Analysis with an 137% SEO ROI for a SEO client of mine in the ecommerce niche. Get all information you need and know what to ask at your next meeting with a potential SEO expert.
I have also created a PowerPoint Presentation of the same client SEO Performance Case Study, on SlideShare which you can access next:
What Should a SEO Consultant (or SEO In-house Employee) Have, Know and Do
- Must Have Operational Knowledge, SEO Analytical Skills and Access to Premium SEO Tools
Google offers two great Website Performance and Analytics tools that are for free for all. Through these tools, business owners can see how their traffic is progressing, how “healthy” their website is (Google-wise) and more:
- “Search Console” (the EX “Google Webmaster Tools”) and
- Google Analytics
The above tools are a least requirement and “MUST HAVE” for everyone (Starter of Professional) that has a website and wants to do any kind of business.
A small business can rarely invest in premium SEO Tools that are a prerequisite daily routine for a SEO Consultant, in order to analyze many different aspects that influence a website’s progress. Only in rare cases it happens that a business owns these premium SEO tools. I have seen this happening with very big and established multi-national brands who wanted their own access to these SEO tools.
Either way, a SEO professional should own a paid subscription to 3 Premium seo tools that I share below. There are many more but these are just absolute requirements for SEO Specialists.
SEO is not a guess and win (or miss) game. Each case is custom and different than the other as the end result relies on more than 200 ranking factors that Google looks at to evaluate and rate webpages.
SEO is a combination of the following skills:
- 50% math
- 50% creativity
The following tools give the appropriate data to the SEO professional in order to start designing SEO strategy plans. Some features are common in most of them but not all, so they are all needed for different reasons:
- AHREFS.com: The best SEO Tool for SEO Anaysis. Pricing ranges according to the features in each package from $99 / month – $999 / month
- MAJESTIC.com: SEO Analysis Tool with smaller database than AHREFS tool. Pricing ranges from €46.99 month – €379.99 / month
- SEMRUSH.com: An as good as AHREFS SEO analysis tool offering some extra sweet features. Pricing range from $99.95 month – $399.95 month
SEO Tools KEY Takeaway: A qualified SEO Expert must have access and operational knowledge to these 3 (at least) SEO tools. If they ‘ve never heard of those or don’t know how to use them chances are they aren’t specialists.
- Your SEO expert Must Know the Difference of OnSite SEO and OffSite SEO and Create Separate According Strategies.
SEO is a combination of strategies that occur in 2 separate fields:
- OnSite SEO: It consists of Technical, Usability and Content Improvements that must be applied on the website itself by the web developer, after following the SEO consultant’s improvement OnSite SEO improvement suggestions. Aim is to make each page more friendly and relevant to Google for its keywords / keyphrase targets.
- OffSite SEO: It consists a wide range of ways in order for each target page to acquire hyperlinks (or “backlinks” in the SEO language) from other (external) webpages, that will direct users who click on them, back to it. Every backlink is a potential “vote” in Google’s eyes and depending on the backlink’s quality, it can increase the page’s popularity and result in Google ranking the page higher.
These 2 WIDE startegies work best TOGETHER. It is not “one or the other” case here. There are many business owners who think that after they do just the basic optimization on the site itself with “ONSITE SEO”, they willl start appearing on top Google page for their target seo keywords, like magic. SEO does not work like magic.
ONSITE SEO EXPECTATIONS: You Should at Least Expect to Get the Following from your SEO Consultant in the Phase of an OnSite SEO Analysis Contract you Purchased (or plan to purchase):
- Research and Propose Keyword Phrases to Target for Each Target Page: Initially the SEO expert must do comprehensive keyword research and competitive keyword research in order to decide the keyphrases that he/she will target for each target page the business owner wants to move up their rankings in Google organic search results.
- Create Unique and Custom Meta Data for Each Target Page: For each diffreent target page according to the keyword goals that have been set, the SEO expert must come up with and suggest to you the following: a unique meta title, meta description and (optional) meta keywords that will be user friendly and Google friendly at the same time.
- SEO Friendly Content Consulting for Each Target Page: The SEO expert must either create unique new content of some length (depending on each industry’s standards) for each page that will need your review and approval or ask the business owner’s team inhouse content writer to create by following their SEO friendly content suggestions.
- Heading Tags or Htags: These are like subtitles within the content of the pages that make the content more easily consumable and act like a summary of the paragraph that follows. In addition, heading tags (ranging from 1 to 6) are SEO elements that Google looks at in order to determine relevancy of each page for every search they receive from users.
- Apply an Internal Linking Strategy: Your SEO expert should know how to analyze what are the best pages on your own site that could refer to your SEO target page and create internal links from these pages back to the target in order to help Google consider it more relevant for the search that took place.
- Perform Technical Analysis of your Website: Your SEO expert should have access to your Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics accounts (Free) for your website and other paid ones like “Screaming Frog” Tool and note down all the technical challenges your webpages face that hinder your chances of ranking high in Google. These challenges include duplicate content page, sitemaps, canonical tags, duplicate meta data on your own site, duplicate urls without proper technical redirections, indexability rate, page load speed scores etc. All these are fixed by the web developer and the SEO expert working together.
OnSite SEO KEY Takeaway: Doing OnSite SEO is the first step of the overall optimization phase and in the majority of cases it is not enough to get you ranking on top Google page, unless you are in a Zero competition market that nonody has heard of or talks about. It is a prerequisite in order to create a friendly base between your website and Google so you can claim higher rankings with the help of your ongoing efforts of your consultant’s OffSite SEO (or “link-building / acquiring”) skills. With OnSite alone you can expect a higher number of your pages to be indexed by Google and you will probably see your pages start ranking in top 100 organic results from nowhere in Google’s index. Always ask before and after reports so you understand the value of your investments.
OFFSITE SEO EXPECTATIONS: You Should at Least Expect to Get the Following from your SEO Consultant in the Phase of an OffSite SEO Support for your website.
- At least monthly reports for the keyword targets you have set for your website and their progress through time
- Your SEO expert must suggest ways to you in order to either improve your already existing content on your website or give you guidelines for new content creation on your blog or on a new “static” page, that can attract more leads to your business. This can happen by replying and giving answers to your target audience’s problems for free, through the content you publish and share with your audience. By offering free value to your future customers you will win their trust and when they feel ready to purchase, guess who they will choose as their vendor or service provider: the one who has already helped them!
- Your SEO consultant should be always available for you via email, skype and phone (if applicable) for any SEO or even “Branding” related question you have. With SEO, you build your brand and you have control over the way your brand appears in Google.
- You should not expect a detailed report from your SEO Service provider with how many hours they work for your business. When you outsource your SEO to an external SEO specialist, you don’t buy their time. You buy the value that they can bring to your business by using their deep knowledge and resources for your business benefit. Although, if you have an inhouse employee, you can ask them whatever you like because you kinda “own all their time” for which you pay them for.
- Your SEO Consultant’s “job” when it comes to OffSite SEO is to try to influence Google’s algorithm for your benefit by dealing with over 200 ranking factors that Google looks at in order to evaluate your website and rank you on top page.
- After your SEO expert ranks you, their “job” is to constantly be updated and renew their set of knowledge with new trainings and webinars in the SEO industry so they can always maintain you on top page of Google. If you get a penalty from Google due to a weird algorithm change, your SEO’s job is to bring you back in Google’s index and 1st page’s results.
- SEO is an ongoing game like all kinds of marketing. If you treat it as an investment, it will pay off in the end.
OFFSITE SEO KEY TAKEAWAY: Ongoing Offsite SEO combined with a very good Onsite SEO is the recipe of a successful SEO project that is handled with care and professionalism. What you must remember is that no achieved SEO result is permanent. If you stop investing in SEO after you get results chances are that during the next months while Google is altering its algorithm’s elements, your inactivity will be the result of your website dropping off the 1st Google page’s organic results.
SEO Competition Thourough Analysis
Your SEO Consultant must “stalk” your Google competitors activities and take good notes of where they are, how they got there at the top, how the stay there, do a comparative analysis with your website side by side, and design a Link-Building / Link Acquiring strategy thay will help you rank higher in time.
Key Takeaway: In order to rank higher for every single SEO goal and target page you need to increase the SEO authority metrics of your pages. This is ongoing – longterm work that requires constant monitoring and adjusting on your SEO consultant’s end.
SEO Cost – SEO Pricing Models
You are probably wondering how much SEO costs. While there is no standard cost as each SEO expert has their own pricing model, the following compensation models for SEO support are the most common ones in general. Final pricing depends on many factors such as the nature and volume of your SEO needs, the current state of authority your website has (or hasn’t), the strength of your competition who already ranks where you want to appear for common search terms, the price per sale for your products or services and so forth.
Before you get a SEO pricing estimate, you are advised to know what you want and answer the following questions for your Search Engine Optimization consultant.
- Are you interesting in OnSite SEO only? This is the initial work that needs to be done on your site itself and consist of SEO element additions plus content, technical and user experience. This is a one-off deal. Its result is to establish a SEO friendly base for your website with Google and your audience.
- How many pages on your domain / website need custom work and research? You can expect a different price when your website is an ecommerce site with hundreds or even thousands of pages and when you have a corporate website with 15 pages total that need custom research, analysis and work done on it.
- Are you interested in a Complete SEO support package (OnSite and OffSite)? This means that besides the initial OnSite SEO set up, you will have to define SEO target goals (with the help of your SEO expert), most common being the search terms (or keywords / keyphrases) for which you want your business to be found for, in Google. For this to happen, you will need recurring support with OffSite SEO services which most commonly translate into a monthly retainer cost for the business owner. Monthly retainers are the most common cooperation deal you can have with your SEO expert, if you are after continuous top Google page organic listings for your target products or services pages.
- How many unique SEO target pages from your website do you want to rank higher with in Google and what are the keywords (or keyphrases) that each one of them targets in organic Google search engine? You can expect that you will get a different proposal if you have one URL that you want to obtain top rankings in Google for 10 target keyphrases and a much higher one if you have 10 different target pages on your same domain that target 10 or more target keywords.
- What is your Price per Product (or Service) Sale? A professional SEO will make a proposal to you that will be based on the value their work will add to your business. So, it is reasonable to expect that you will get a lower cost SEO offer if you have a local shop selling flowers and a much higher one if you are an architect / interior designer in Paris who constructs and sells luxury apartments.
- By their SEO consulting on-demand hours: Here, the business owner pays a SEO expert for consulting them on-demand by the hour
- “Per Project” Contract: Here, the SEO specialist completes and gets paid for a specific one tim project like a “Search Engine Optimization Technical Audit” that aims to identify and improve the technical aspects of SEO of your website.
- Monthly Retainers: This is the most common payment model between a SEO Specialist and a business owner. This is a long term cooperation model and guarantees the business owner will achieve top page Google rankings for their keywords and stay there month per month as well as deal with any algorithm update of Google that may cause a drop in already achieved Google rankings.
- Pay for Performance SEO: Performance-based SEO features dynamic and affordable pricing. Provided there is a safe deal between the SEO Consultant and the business owner, the business owner can start paying only after he/she ranks you, or even “Pay per Lead”, where your SEO expert ranks their own websites in order to sell you the leads they get.
In addition, “Search Engine Land” (one of the most reputable SEO brands) has published a very thorough and helpful guide when it comes to SEO Cost and Pricing Factors here.
Getting in Touch
- For any questions you have related to SEO and my guide you are my guest. Ask me and I will assist you.
- If you want to have someone trained “inhouse” in SEO at your company’s premises in Paris, gain SEO knowledge and (in time) run your company’s SEO, I do that (in English). This can be also done via Skype consulting.
- If you don’t have a person inhouse who is willing to become competent in SEO and want to outsource your own project’s SEO management needs to an expert, you may let me know as well. I will research your goals, your market, your target audience and follow up with you. You can apply here.
Time for FUN and Pictures (as promised!)