Finding the Right Stockport SEO and Digital Marketing Consultant

Wanting to find a specialist digital marketing and SEO consultant in Stockport but unsure how to find the right fit? With hundreds of digital marketing agencies in Greater Manchester, local Stockport businesses have plenty of options to choose from, whether that be agency brands with large staff rolls or specialist freelance consultants.

Whether you choose an agency or a digital marketing/SEO consultant is down to understanding your sales and marketing goals and finding at outfit that has the skills to deliver them. Although an agency may be the best service provider for one business does not mean they are suited to those with different budgets, objectives, target segments, products, services and industries.

Finding the best SEO Stockport or digital marketing support is as easy as looking for these seven characteristics in prospective companies.

  1. They are clear about the service being offered without making grandiose claims that are too good to be true (your website will rank #1 in four weeks!).
  2. They are committed to understanding your business and marketing objectives.
  3. Talk of potential results and investment is clear and honest.
  4. They offer specialist knowledge in SEO and digital marketing covering several channel types.
  5. They believe your success is their success.
  6. They offer transparent advice and only recommend activity that is essential to reach your goals.
  7. They offer packages tailored to you rather than off-the-shelf SEO plans.

Finding SEO and Digital Marketing Support that Stockport Businesses Can Trust

SEO is part of a dynamic digital marketing landscape that often causes confusion and apprehension to those without a marketing or technical background. With Google’s algorithm forever changing and SEOs all having differing opinions, there is considerable debate as to the best tools and techniques to rank websites. However, all SEO practitioners worth their salt agree that cheap SEO is a waste of time and investment.

Stockport businesses should avoid agencies that offer cheap or low-cost SEO packages as results cannot be obtained by sacrificing time and quality. Such agencies will not be investing in the high-quality content or backlinks your website needs to compete in search engine results pages (SERPS), especially for highly competitive markets.

Low-cost, ‘transactional’ agencies that are prepared to take on any client have blighted the reputation of the digital marketing industry in recent times. SEO is a long-term marketing strategy where excellent results take patience, hard work, inventiveness and execution over many months, if not years.

Communication and transparency is pivotal to any client/agency relationship and investing directly in the person delivering your SEO strategy is often the best course of action.

Effective SEO packages and strategies should:

  • Increase website organic traffic and SERP visibility.
  • Increase sales leads and enquiries.
  • Build brand awareness in key segments and geographies.
  • Enhance onsite conversion rates.
  • Increase your website’s competitiveness.

Why Hiring an SEO Freelancer is Better (especially for SMEs)

I’ve worked with many digital marketing agencies in my career and smaller outfits where the agency/consultancy owner was my main point of contact produced better results and working relationships. Large businesses may benefit the most by investing sizeable sums in larger agencies whose human and technical resources dwarf that of smaller SEO consultancies. Most marketing agencies view smaller businesses as low priority and put their efforts into clients who pay the most.

SEO consultants avoid the large overhead costs that agencies incur from administrative staff, sales teams, upper management, office space and facilities. SEO freelancers are considerably cheaper than a full-service digital agency while providing a similar skillset and level of expertise to smaller businesses who cannot afford the eye watering sums corporations can.

SEO freelancers are much more flexible than digital marketing agencies as they have fewer clients, easier scheduling and are more likely to adjust your marketing plans without charging you extra. Some agencies even ask clients to sign inflexible contracts that tie businesses in for extended periods.

The larger the digital agency the fewer people will be focused on delivering on your strategy, especially if your business is smaller than the majority of their clientele. Let’s be clear, agencies can perform work to the highest standard but there may be multiple people working on your project who you will never speak to. You are free to communicate with freelancers as much or as little as you want and, as such, you will have greater control over your marketing strategy and tactics.

SEO Red Flags Stockport Businesses Should Look Out For

Fast Results and Permanent Ranking Promises

There are hundreds of factors that affect a website’s ranking and only a few of them (although powerful) are in an agency’s/consultant’s control. Promises that you can achieve top #1 rank positions for keywords on a long-term basis should raise alarm bells. For instance, a competitor investing £10,000s into SEO strategy may knock you off the top spot or Google algorithm changes may result in the same outcome.

Buying Low-Quality Link Schemes

Link building is critical to any SEO strategy and high-quality links are earned and rarely bought. Google defines a link scheme as “any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behaviour that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.”

Link schemes involve buying hundreds of links for low cost to try to trick the Google algorithm into positively evaluating the trustworthiness of your website. Best practice is stay away from such schemes as they are more likely to earn you a penalty than a SERP ranking increase. The same goes for claims of ‘secret’ methods which may get your website blacklisted.

Industry or Competition Not Considered in SEO Strategy

SEO is far from a one-size-fits-all strategy and techniques must differ between industries and competitor landscapes to maximise results for your business. What works for one business model may not work for yours and good SEO practitioners are well aware of the need to optimise tactics based on important variable and requirements.

No Communication Plan

SEO agencies should provide the names, email addresses and phone numbers of people working on your website. What if you want find out why site visitations have spiked or why you’ve dropped off the first page for an important keyword? It’s always best to contact SEO experts directly to get rapid answers to your questions. SEO agencies that do not offer regular communication may see you as low priority and may want to gatekeep challenging questions.

Grow Your Online Leads and Revenue

Approximately 63% of all purchases begin online, even if money exchanges hands in a store or over the telephone as opposed to on a website. Considering that 75% of browsers never scroll past the first page of Google, businesses that don’t optimise their website for SEO will often be invisible and sadly go undetected.

SEO is a medium-long term investment that pulls in organic leads, boosts web engagement and brand recognition, and complements offline sales activities. 

 

 

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I am freelance digital marketing consultant offering strategic and tactical services that generate leads and grow businesses.

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