What is an SEO Consultant?

Knowledge Base

Everything you should know about
SEO Consultants

This article talks about the practical things an SEO consultant does in a typical workday, what to look for when hiring one, as well as tips on how you can become a consultant yourself.

For the last six years, here at Oltremare we’ve been actively planning, building, and implementing SEO on websites and landing pages for our clients. So, in this article, we’d like to share our insights on everything to do with SEO consultants, as well as give some helpful guidelines on how to hire a good consultant, how much they cost, or how to become one yourself.

What Is An SEO Consultant?

An SEO consultant is someone that has the technical, analytical, creative and communication skills needed to properly handle the wide variety of tasks involved with search engine optimization. In addition to being familiar with basic coding principles, you’ll need to coordinate with different job roles, absorb and present large amounts of data, and solve a different problem with each new website.

An SEO Consultant Helps Businesses Rank Their Website Online

Every business wants a source of free leads, which is exactly what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) does for you. For most of us, how it actually works is a total mystery. What should you do to improve the chances of your company showing up online? How much time, effort, and especially money should you be putting towards SEO?

The most obvious answer to massively improve your chance of success is to hire an SEO professional. They can gently guide you through the huge amount of bullshit you find that surrounds this complex form of online marketing, and help you come up with the best way of adding natural SEO to your online presence.

The Definition of SEO Consultant

An SEO consultant directly affects how people see your business online. The majority of tactics used should make content more useful and easier to access for humans.

Behind the scenes tactics used will make your site more attractive to robots or algorithms, which help your pages rank higher on Google and funnel the right kind of traffic to your site.

Bottom line: the goal of any good SEO is to increase revenue through sales online or inquiries.

How Much will an SEO Consultant Cost Me?

First of all, SEO or any type of marketing is not a cost you’ll never get back. When done the right way, SEO is a compounding investment that not only pays for itself, but keeps making money long after the work is done.

The money paid for that investment will change depending on three factors: the complexity of your business, the specific industry you are in, and who you decide to work with.

-The size of your business, number of locations, online services offered, and amount of web pages you’ll need add to the complexity of an SEO project and affect the cost.

-The type of industry you are in, how competitive that industry is, and how long you’ve had an online presence will determine how much investment is required as well.

-The third factor that will greatly influence the price is the choice to either work with an individual consultant or go with an SEO consulting agency.

On average, prices for quality SEO consultancy in Italy start at €750 per month, depending on complexity, industry competition, and experience needed.

If you have a large or complex business or ecommerce store, you can expect to pay more due to the amount of hours required for each project. This is why it is almost always a better idea to pay a retainer or on a per-project basis, rather than an hourly wage. This way, more risk is on the Consultant instead of your business to do a good job.

SEO Consultant Italy Hourly Rates (and potential results)

Experience Level of SEO Likely Results Amount paid hourly Monthly Retainer
1 to 2 years or freelancer Poor €10-€20 €100-€500
3 to 6 years Average to Great €26- €68 €500-€1000
6 to 12 years Great €68-€100 €1000-€4000
13+ years Exceptional €120+ €4000+

What Does an SEO Consultant Do?

A day in the life of an SEO consultant is spent in two arenas: On-page and Off-page SEO.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO is kinda like user experience for search engines. It makes things easier for a computer to read, and organizes the information in a recognizable way to help humans digest the info in a more natural way.

On-page isn’t just the content you can see (text, images, videos, captions, etc.), but is also coded within the unique HTML of the page.

  • Google Business Profile (GBP)
  • Guest blogging or posting
  • Social media marketing
  • Influencer marketing
  • Reviews & ratings
  • Brand mentions
  • NAP Citations
  • Backlinks

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO is focused on all the things needed to rank your site aside from your own pages. This part of SEO is typically what takes the most time, and includes link building, social media, and content marketing.

Creation and sharing of videos, guides, blogs, or social media posts are all techniques used that will drive attention to your brand and business.

  • Meta tags and descriptions
  • User Experience (UX)
  • Site Architecture
  • Content Quality
  • Search Intent
  • Title tags
  • Schema
  • URLs

How Long Until Work With An SEO is Finished?

Search engine optimization doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long-term investment that requires consistent and well-planned action to get results.
Anybody that promises to get you on page one within a matter of weeks is either using risky tactics or lying. Seo is a process that requires patience! You should expect to work with your consultant for a period of several months, if not longer.

An seo project on a brand new site should run between a 12-24 month timeframe with results being visible within the first 12 months, then ramping up sharply after the first year. An established site should see a much shorter time frame, within 6 months depending on how competitive the industry.

Exactly how long you’ll need to work with an SEO depends on your available SEO budget and the consultant’s experience.

Do I really need an SEO Consultant?

Some business owners have a basic understanding of Seo and would love to handle it themselves. The problem however always comes back to lack of time. Real seo dives deep into many different processes, and is incredibly time consuming, especially for someone without years of experience.
The fact is, in addition to time most people don’t have the knowledge, skill, or resources needed to get lasting results.

A freelance seo consultant is a good idea if you’ve ever attempted to manage SEO yourself, but didn’t get the results you were looking for. A specialist can help you get those results faster and more efficiently, saving you the time and money lost to trial and error.

An experienced seo consultant is a fresh set of eyes that can help you understand what you should keep doing, what you should start doing, and what you should stop doing in order to get measurable results without all the guesswork.

How can I tell if an SEO Consultant is any good?

The first thing to look for in an SEO consultant is excellent communication skills. SEO is a time consuming process that involves prioritization, frequent testing, and usually needs to team up with multiple outside job roles. Web developers, content writers and journalists are all people an SEO deals with day to day. A great consultant will be honest and help manage your expectations, especially when it comes to timeframes.

What SEO Consultants should be doing:

Creating content that is truly useful to people, not just algorithms. This is called user intent, and is absolutely critical if you want the right kind of clients coming to your website.

  • Making sure your website is technically compliant. This means managing redirects, containing index bloat, fixing broken pages, preventing content cannibalization, and literally hundreds more.
  • Optimizing for speed on your website. Everyone knows your website should load quickly on both desktop and mobile. Keep in mind though, this is a last-mile element and probably not as important as you think.
  • Making it easier for users to navigate to relevant pages on your website through efficient internal linking.
  • Improving structured data – aka schema. Structured data helps search engines and their background processes better categorize and understand the relationship between your site and outside data.
  • Building brand trust with link building or digital PR. Your website needs signals from all around the internet showing trust and relevancy. A good consultant will help you earn links from trustworthy sites.

How can I tell if my SEO Consultant is bad?

In every industry, there are bad actors that don’t have the integrity to do the right thing for their clients. Sadly, the SEO world is no exception. It’s not uncommon for some specialists to use some of the techniques below that violate Google guidelines, which can temporarily speed up the process of ranking but VASTLY increase your chances of a Google penalty, which is devastating for any website.

  • Keyword stuffing. This is an old school practice that makes your content look spammy and frustrating to read for the end user.
  • Keyword density. A cousin of keyword stuffing, there is no such thing as an arbitrary amount of keyword repetition within modern SEO processes.
  • Buying tons of cheap links. Fake guest posts, irrelevant PBNs, web2 links, all of these things are easily detected by Google and a total waste of money.
  • Hiding text. Making your text the same color as the background is another thing instantly detectable by Google, and is considered manipulation.
  • Providing generic technical audits full of red marks. Generally, these technical audits are offered for free on a website and give the illusion of hundreds of technical problems that must be handled immediately. Many of these warnings are the absolute last things you should worry about, not first.

How do I find an SEO Consultant I can Trust?

Seo is a fast moving industry. Google makes major changes to its algorithm multiple times per year. Something that works today (especially a shortcut or hack) may not work tomorrow. In this environment, you should try to find an SEO consultant that keeps up to date with best practices and has experience with your type of business.

You should also find a consultant who understands that SEO isn’t magic or a “set and forget” situation. They should help you build a solid online foundation for your business that will last a lifetime, not schemes that will just earn you vanity clicks or worse: a Google penalty.
With this in mind, you should ask about a consultant’s process and workflow, then determine together how you will measure exactly what a successful campaign looks like.

The best SEO consultants have a flexible approach to problem solving, offering not only universal strategies but a variety of solutions that are tailored to fit the needs of your business.

Data-driven results

Great SEO is based on actionable results that come through being able to absorb and accurately forecast large amounts of data.
Fixing technical issues, indexing the right pages, producing relevant content, link building; these are all ways an Seo consultant can get you lasting results.
Partner with a consultant that can paint a picture or tell a story with the data they see, rather than dumping a bunch of data out for you to sort.

Clear communication

An SEO expert is up against a unique challenge with every site. Even two websites in the same industry will not have exactly the same problems to solve. Your consultant will need to think outside the box and propose ideas which make your company stand out among the competition. Ultimately, you’ll need to be able to trust their expert opinion, which boils down to how effectively they communicate with you and other team members.

It’s not uncommon that planning and executing a successful SEO strategy will involve some compromise and differences in opinion before a solution can be agreed upon. Being able to talk openly and transparently with your consultant is key – SEO is a marathon, not a sprint.

SEO is all about prioritizing and balancing technical solutions with creative work, and that requires a process of clear communication.

How can I become an SEO Consultant?

Becoming an expert Seo consultant won’t happen overnight. It will take years of testing and training to be able to successfully go out on your own. However, you gotta start somewhere right?

Many people start out in the SEO field by working for a consulting agency. This teaches the basics in a fast paced environment, and allows you to dip your toes in several areas, but won’t always let you work on a grander strategy or come up with creative solutions.

Some of the most successful SEO consultants in Italy are actually self taught. Building and experimenting with your own websites is probably the most complete way to learn and tinker around with new strategies. The downside is you may take longer to deeply develop your skills without someone to showing you the ropes.

There are an enormous amount of SEO guides, videos, and resources for you to learn how to become an SEO consultant on sites like Ahrefs, Search Engine Land, or by Googling SEO training courses.

What Skills Should I Learn as an SEO Consultant?

SEO is easily the widest and most technical marketing channel that exists, which calls for a mix of skills in very different arenas. SEO is truly a mix of art and science; you’ll need just as many soft skills as you need hard skills.

As an SEO specialist, you’ll need to know how to:

– Code in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to ensure that a website is easy to navigate and mobile friendly.
– Understand human psychology to uncover the motivations, problems, and needs of the ideal client.
– Engage with other businesses over link-building opportunities, or hire the right company that can.
– Use UX and conversion rate optimization methods to turn web visitors into more engaged users.
– Transform a site’s data to paint a picture of site performance and give actionable insights.
– Copywriting to get users to click on your website in the first place, and stay interested.
– Web crawling and scraping to determine what kind of competition you’re up against.
– Create pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns to increase revenue through advertising.
– Drive relevant traffic to a site by community building and channel marketing.
– Develop and content marketing strategies that create loyal fans.
– Make clear technical recommendations to web developers.
– Monitor updates to algorithms set by search engines.
– Write original content for web pages.
– And much, much more.

SEO consultancy is not a job for people that are unwilling to learn and adapt to change.
Now you see why those at the top are able to get significant retainers for their expertise.

What are the benefits of hiring an SEO Consultant?

Hiring an SEO consultant generally gives you a higher level of service over using an agency – you get more attention. A dedicated advisor gives you faster responses, analysis and recommendations, and will save your business time and money.

How do I find a Good SEO Consultant?

Finding a good SEO consultant is hard. You’ll want to find a specialist who ranks well for keywords you searched to find their service. Ranking their own website is a pretty good sign that they have the ability to rank your website.

You can also find good SEO consultants by asking for references from business owners you know or frequent daily, checking out trusted social media groups, or by evaluating the top organic results near you.

Why Work with Oltremare?

With over 6 years experience delivering SEO projects, founder Justin Snyder has significant experience in supporting local businesses. If you need more English speaking clients, want an analytics cleanup, or find out what social media platform works best for your business, reach out today. Whether you are looking for an SEO specialist for Small Business or even a Local SEO specialist in Rome– Oltremare Consulting is your go-to SEO expert.

Get all the benefits of an organic specialist without the large costs associated with digital marketing agencies.

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