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Hiring ECommerce SEO Freelancers

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April 5, 2016

We have some amazing SEO freelancers using YoGrow to help e-commerce businesses grow their traffic. I’m going to be talking about hiring an SEO expert in general and give some examples about why we partner with specific types of Expert.

In summary, in this article I’ll run through:

  • What different freelancers can offer you as a business
  • Different packages our freelancers offer
  • Some key risks to bear in mind
  • Common misconceptions about SEO work

Why hire an ECommerce SEO Freelancer?

So, this is the biggest and most important question because compared to other marketing outputs it is significantly harder to measure the return on investment from SEO work.

A common experience is that they get a different result from what the expert promised

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So what should we look for from an SEO Expert for our ECommerce site?

First off, I’ll explain that SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. To optimise a website for the natural (unpaid) listings on Google and Bing you have many factors to optimise for.

The search engines crawl the web with automated spiders (or robots). They capture the text on a site and the links. These are then fed into a secret algorithm to determine the site ranking.

Well, it’s not complete secret. We know a lot about it and the guiding principles.

The guiding principle is simple: Show the most relevant top result for the query asked

People will stop using Google if the top result is not relevant. This is important to remember when building a strategy because you always want to have the most relevant and most focused content that answers the searchers query.

More broadly, there are on-site factors and off-site factors that are used by the algorithm to determine your ranking for a specific keyword.

Freelancers may specialise on one specific factor or a range. Either way it is important to have an overall strategy that has the relevance I just mentioned, at its core.

Freelancers can help expand this strategy to be more nuanced and they can help enact it. Either way to grow your traffic from organic search you will need to invest time into your site.

One of the key reasons sites to invest in SEO is the spend is evergreen. It lasts after the work is done. In comparison to paid search for example where the traffic stops once the payments stop.

There are some exceptions to this and I’ll cover that below under risks.

So, now I’ll look at the different areas of SEO to invest in.

What are the different SEO Freelance Gigs?

These are the gigs that our YoGrow experts offer. You can purchase them with a monthly subscription. They give an idea of the recommended SEO activity any e-commerce site can undertake to boost their search engine rankings.

Content Creation

The currency of search engine world it words. The algorithms that run in the background are intelligently comparing and contrasting the words you use on your site and those words that link to your site.

At it’s most simplest, if you want to rank for a specific keyword then you should have those words on the specific page you want to rank on.

At a more sophisticated level content creation is about creating an engaging article that does the following:

  • demonstrates authority and trust
  • encourages sharing of the article

These two points go hand in hand. It’s all about offering real value to the user. If you write something that really imparts knowledge you demonstrate that you are trustable. This has benefits such as building your brand and helping push people to convert into customers, but as far as SEO goes it helps with out second point: Sharing.

If an article is good it is shared on social media and on other sites as link backs. Both are massive for SEO. Google and Bing use these link backs as indicators of authority and will rank you higher with more links.

Now here’s the different with these sharing links. Anyone can get links, there are lots of directories and low quality sites that offer you the option to get a link back.

But when someone shares your article because they found it useful you are usually being shared by someone who is in a related industry to you. So if I sell hats and someone who is a hat creator likes and shares my article, then the search engines will recognise that it was shared by someone in a topical industry.

Remember what we said about words. The search engines currency are words, so if your link backs are from relevant and topical sites then you are trading in the same currency.

Content Creation Gigs

The Blogging Package by Izzy – creates highly topical articles for your site that are structured correctly and build to be shared. They are engaging and relevant.

We all promise to do this ourselves and often neglect our blog. A small investment like this can go a long way to growing your traffic.

View Izzy’s Blogging Package

On-site audit

So we’ve just looked at creating specific content pieces for specific keywords. However with an e-commerce site there are going to be a lot of existing pages that need to rank.

Most obviously you’ll have your product pages, product categories and home page.

Often you will have crafted the content already. At this point, it is important that you have the site structure all setup correctly.

When the robots crawl your site they need to pick up data to understand the page. They then store the data in their database to show on the search engine results page and also use it to determine your relevance when ranking.

This is even more complicated for e-commerce sites. Products have a huge number of elements, scheme and micro data that need to be identified. Essential these are:

  • SKU
  • Price
  • Review Rating
  • Product Video
  • Product Image
  • Product ID
  • Product Attributes

Now many of these items are managed by the platform, but may not be setup correctly or even enabled. Having these details are important and need to be checked.

As does the meta-description and title. These are the product specific content areas that appear on the search engine results. By default these will be the first sentence on the page truncated. This won’t be optimised and can lead to poor click through.

Now I haves a final example of the kind of on-site work that is typical of e-commerce sites: canonical URLs.

This is on the more advanced side of on-site SEO work but serves as a good example of the kind of work that needs to be done. It’s advanced but very important.

Search engines penalise duplicate content. Each page needs unique content on a page. Sometimes with e-commerce sites you can find your product content on multiple pages. Perhaps a product is listed under a few urls because it is attached to a few different categories:

http://site.com/category1/productA
http://site.com/category2/productA

In this instance you can use something called canonical URLs to identify a single location for the product. This means that you are not penalised for duplicate content and the search engines have a single URL for your product.

On-site SEO Gig

James Dempster of Cobb Digital Agency offers a YoGrow gig that looks after all your SEO. This includes on-site ecommerce SEO as well as link building and content creation.

View James’ SEO Booster Package

Izy also offers an ongoing SEO Strategy and on-site Audit package here

Key risks and misconceptions when hiring a freelancer

A common complaint and one of the reasons we started YoGrow is that freelancers don’t deliver results. It’s even more common with SEO work as the time to deliver tangible results can be months.

As a consequence it is hard to compare the effectiveness of an SEO professional. Its easy to be seduced by some of the outrageous claims that some SEO experts claim, such as “We’ll get you to rank no.1 on Google”.

It’s one of the reasons the packages we offer on SEO are not wrapped up in these claims. It’s why we have packages that focus on strategy, on-site and content creation.

matt cuts advice

So, what can you do to insulate yourself from disappointment and poor quality experts?

Well, first is to set realistic expectations. Let me run through a scenario. Above we have talked about on-site and off-site SEO. Now assume we have fantastic on-site SEO. We’ve created articles, optimised the pages and site architecture. But you still don’t rank?

Well that on-site work goes a long way to encourage links and sharing back to your site. The off-site work. This is not automatic and it is not guaranteed. It can also take time and might be cumulative.

If you have a great article it might take 6 months before it gains traction and picks up links. It’s also important to note that as your article get’s more links and shares it will be found more. As it is found more it will garner even more shares.

What we’re talking about is momentum. And it takes time before you can stop pushing before the SEO starts moving under it’s own weight.

Any SEO that claims immediate results or does not emphasise that there are many unknowns are setting you up for disappointment. SEO is gradual and cumulative.

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It takes a while, but it does work

But remember, because it is evergreen once you pick up momentum it can keep rolling on its own.

How YoGrow helps set correct expectations

When you subscribe to one of our SEO packages our Experts create a proposal for you. They look at your store data and extrapolate out where they anticipate your traffic to go.

Because our Experts set these targets from the outset you can have realistic expectations about how your store will benefit from different SEO packages. You will also be able to clearly see when you start to get a return on your investment from an SEO Expert.

Alternatives to SEO freelancers

Now, that last note was a dose of realism. And it’s important to state that for immediate traffic results you can use paid advertising. Many of the same rules above apply for Paid Traffic: have relevant and topical content. But importantly you can get the traffic immediately.

Take a look at our Gigs section for look for Paid Search Experts as well.

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