By now, most Singapore business owners understand the importance of search engine optimisation. They know that without a sound SEO strategy, there is very little chance that their website will ever be seen by their target audience. They also realise the value of hiring a professional Singapore SEO consultant to help them with this strategy.
However, there are many companies that tend to take every agency that claims to be SEO experts at face value. And unfortunately, this can do more harm than good. After working with a company that is not truly skilled in SEO, or that uses black hat techniques, it is often very costly to fix. And the worst part is it costs businesses a considerable amount of time.
So how can well-meaning Singapore businesses decide whether or not an agency truly specialises in SEO? Well, there are a few key questions that you can ask yourself what will help to weed out the undesirables–specifically as it relates to how they view Google’s ranking factors. Let’s discuss a few of these questions. But first, let’s talk about what ranking factors are.
Google Ranking Factors
According to Google’s mission statement, it’s main objective is to organise information and make it both useful and universally accessible. This mission is fulfilled through the use of its search engine. Whenever users need information, they type their queries into the search engine and are presented with a list of information that Google has previously organised.
But how does Google organise this information? How do they decide what information is most relevant and useful to the person’s query? In other words, how do they figure out which website will offer the best user experience? Well, the answer is simple, they rank websites according to specific factors.
Google examines each website to determine if they have these factors, and to what extent. The sites that have these factors are rewarded with the highest search engine rankings. Those that don’t are typically buried in the SERPs. Though Google currently has over 200 ranking factors, there are a few that carry more weight and mean more than others. And the best SEO agencies know exactly what they are and how to make the most of them.
Here are a few questions that you should ask yourself when choosing your SEO expert:
Question 1: Should the SEO consultant be focused on the quality of my content?
If you want to get on Google’s good side, then it’s essential that the content on your website is of the highest quality. Why is this? Well, Google understands that users are on the hunt for the most valuable information. And the usually find this in content that is well-researched, well-written, and well-formatted.
Whenever you meet with a quality Singapore SEO consultant, you’ll notice that they are interested in the type of content that you offer. If your content is not up-to-par, they are likely to make suggestions about how you can make it better. They will encourage you to use H1, H2 tags as well as images when needed. More specifically, they discuss the importance of search intent, keywords, voice search, and rich snippets. If you want to know if a company is worth working with, pay attention to their attitude towards content.
Question 2: Should the SEO consultant be concerned with how mobile-friendly my website is?
When it comes to online mobile penetration, Singapore is at the top of the list. In fact, mobile usage has increased so much that Google is now mobile-first indexing. This means that rankings are determined primarily by the mobile version of your website.
So an expert SEO consultant understands that it’s not an option for your website to be mobile-friendly–it’s a must. You will notice that quality companies will discuss how responsive your website is and how you could make improvements. They will encourage you to make it so that your website responds well to not just mobile, but every device.
Question 3: Should the SEO consultant be concerned with how secure my website is?
Believe it or not, the security of your website can play a huge role in how highly you rank in the search engines. Google wants its users to feel as if they can browse safely, so if your website shows any signs that the user’s information or privacy could be compromised, then it could have a negative impact on your business.
Quality consultants will talk to you about HTTPS. You see, Google recently said that by July of 2018, it would start to flag websites as “not secure” if they are not HTTPS. They will talk to you about the possible canonicalisation that could come with switching to HTTPS and how they can help you to avoid these issues.
Question 4: Is the SEO consultant focused on my offering a great user experience?
The best SEO consultants understand the importance of pleasing the user. Sure, they want you to live up to Google’s standards. However, they know that Google standards often align with what the user wants. So instead of focusing solely on the technical sides of things, your consultant should be talking to you about what your site will look like from the perspective of your visitors.
They will often spend a significant amount of time on how important a good site structure is. They want to make sure that your site is very easy to navigate. They want users to feel as if everything is intuitive.
Question 5: Is the SEO consultant capable of increasing my page speed?
One of the main causes of high bounce rates is the loading speed of your page. Today’s Singapore consumers can be pretty impatient. In fact, in general users expect your website to lead in under 3 seconds or else they will leave.
This is one of the first things that the best consultants take note of. They will offer suggestions about how you can go about speeding things up. This is the first impression people have of your website. And considering the fact that high bounce rates indicate a bad user experience, Google takes this particular ranking factor very seriously and so should your consultant.
Question 6: Does the SEO consultant offer tips for on-page optimisation?
Sure, consultants are concerned about how your website looks at first glance, but they are also interested in what goes on behind the scenes–on-page optimisation. They know that this is the type of SEO that will help you to communicate directly with the search engines. This is how you will let Google know who you are, what you offer, and if what you offer is relevant to your target audience.
The best consultants will offer suggestions when it comes to metadata. They will encourage you to use schema. They will also suggest that you implement an internal link structure.
Question 7: Does the SEO consultant emphasise the importance of quality backlinks?
In the world of search engines, there is hardly anything more significant than backlinks. Whenever another website links to your content, it lets Google and other major search engines know that what you have to offer is valuable. And if these links come from an authoritative source that Google already trusts, then that backlink means even more and can do a lot for your rankings.
Quality consultants aren’t as much concerned with how many backlinks you get as they are with the quality of your backlinks. In fact, they know that the wrong backlinks can get you into trouble. So speak with the consultant about how they view backlinks and what their strategies are to get them.
Question 8: How does the SEO consultant measure results?
One of the most important questions you should ask yourself when choosing a consultant is whether or not they mention their metrics. You need to know that the agency is monitoring your results so that they can make changes as needed. This will help them to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
You can tell a lot about the consultant based on the tools that they use to measure your results. For instance, one of the tools you should listen for is Google Analytics. They will also mention Adwords, Ahrefs, Google’s Mobile-friendly test, SEMRush, and much more.
Sometimes finding the best SEO specialist is simply a matter of pay attention to what is most important to them. And if you create a list of questions, specifically as it relates to Google ranking factors, you will learn where they stand. The list above is a great starting point.