What to ask when hiring a salon SEO specialist

Do you get those SEO emails? You know the ones I mean – they usually go into spam. “We’ll get your business number one on Google.”

They can be a bit worrying. Making you think you’ve missed out. Or perhaps ought to be doing something.

Ignore them. That’s right. Click delete.

And here’s why…

Google’s own Guidelines on hiring an SEO specialist state: “Reserve the same scepticism for unsolicited email about search engines as you do for “burn fat at night” diet pills or requests to help transfer funds from deposed dictators.”

Don’t mince their words do they? Advice doesn’t get much clearer than that.


Avoid these SEO traps

Ranking highly on Google will undoubtedly help attract new clients into your salon, spa or aesthetics clinic. You may want to have a bash yourself or you may prefer to leave it to the SEO experts.

But with so many rogue search engine optimisation companies about it’s easy to fall victim to the lies, myths and traps which many of them peddle. Here’s my hair and beauty industry gloss on finding a reputable SEO expert to work with and avoiding the painful pitfalls.


#1. We’ll get your salon to #1 on Google

Sorry to disillusion you. Google is a law unto itself. A canny beast that ensures the only person who truly understands Google is Google.

No-one. Repeat no-one, can guarantee to get you to rank first.

Don’t be fooled. As Google itself warns, “Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google.”


#2. Good SEO is not just about hair and beauty keywords

Until fairly recently, the number of keywords appearing on your website page played a big part in search engine optimisation. Dodgy SEO companies abused this big time. So Google (understandably) took action and changed the focus.

Today SEO is no longer just about keywords. If any prospective SEO agency tells you otherwise just cross them off your list.

Instead, search for a hair and beauty industry expert with the skill to write plenty of relevant content with an assortment of SEO keywords and phrases scattered naturally throughout.

Over use keywords, or use them in an unnatural way (stuffing them into every few words of your content) and Google is likely to penalise your website and lower your ranking. Marketing meltdown.

When it comes to keywords don’t just restrict yourself to the obvious ones. People search use different terms so keep an eye on what your SEO/copywriter is doing. If you’re an aesthetics clinic think:

  • advanced skincare
  • anti-ageing clinic
  • non-surgical procedures
  • non-invasive cosmetic treatments
  • cosmetic surgery

For a hairdressing business think:

  • hair salon
  • hair extension specialist
  • hairdressers
  • hair colour experts
  • award winning hair services
  • hair care products.

And these are just for starters.

You get the picture. If your SEO bod is regurgitating the same couple of keywords over and over again in a forced way – sack them.


#3. Employ a hair or beauty industry SEO expert

Google’s Guidelines advise you to ask your search engine optimisation company “What’s your experience in my industry?”

Makes sense if you think about it.

What does your average SEO geek know about our industry? They are probably doing work for a lawyer, engineering company and car dealership on the same day as they are looking at your salon website optimisation.

So plump for an SEO specialist who has heavyweight experience and a proven track record in the hair and beauty field.


#4. Quality not quantity when it comes to link-building

Links from other websites to your site (known as inbound links) used to be SEO gold dust. But, as with keyword stuffing, some people abused this with dubious websites selling links to dodgy so-called SEO experts.

Google’s Guidelines on Hiring a SEO Company are unambiguous on link-building:

“Avoid SEOs that talk about the power of “free-for-all” links, link popularity schemes, or submitting your site to thousands of search engines. These are typically useless exercises that don’t affect your ranking in the results of the major search engines – at least, not in a way you would likely consider to be positive.”

Today getting other sites to link to yours still has a value but Google has changed the focus from quantity to quality. So if a prospective agency is telling you it’s all about link-building be very wary. You can’t afford to gamble with your SEO.


#5. Salon SEO and Content Marketing go hand in hand

By content marketing I mean posting a constant flow of well-written relevant news, a blog, tips and advice articles for your clients on your salon or spa website. Whilst you should always write your content with your client firmly in mind, a good hair and beauty SEO expert will optimise the article in a natural way and help you rank higher with Google too.

You must have great content to rank higher. If you build your website and then ignore it, you’ll just slide down the Google rankings. Blogging, content marketing – call it what you like. You need to add informative lively articles to your salon website on a monthly basis.

So above all hire a copywriter/SEO who will delight your readers. And Google.


#6. Copying someone else’s content is okay for SEO

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Google absolutely rewards relevant original content. Any SEO ‘expert’ who says otherwise is telling porky pies.

Copy or duplicate something from the internet and you’ll likely damage your own ranking. Your SEO specialist needs to come up with original fresh articles for you. This is why having a search engine optimisation company with a proven track record in the hair and beauty niche is so essential.


#7. The sooner you start your salon SEO the better the results

It’s tempting to opt for a cheap option when it comes to a new website for your hair or beauty business. It’s tempting to pop your search engine optimisation of your new website on the back-burner until you’re feeling more flush with cash.

But it really does make a difference. And don’t just take it from me as Google’s Guidelines for engaging an SEO recommend “If you’re thinking about hiring an SEO, the earlier the better. A great time to hire is when you’re considering a site redesign, or planning to launch a new site. That way, you and your SEO can ensure that your site is designed to be search engine-friendly from the bottom up.”

And Google adds, “However, a good SEO can also help improve an existing site.”

SEO is not a once and for all exercise. To rank highly in your town, region or nationally your website’s search engine optimisation needs constant nurturing and attention. Take your eye off the ball and your competitors will take advantage. You can’t afford to fall behind.


#8. Salon Social makes a SEO difference

Social media plays its part in helping you rank well on Google. It’s not the number of Likes and followers but more the SEO signals you’re giving out. A good hair and beauty SEO will ensure you’re giving out the right messages and using the right keywords in the right social places.


The right hair and beauty SEO specialist

Looking for help with your SEO, content marketing or internet marketing? In the hair, beauty or medical aesthetics industry? Drop me an email and let’s see if we can help.

And if you fancy reading Google’s Guidelines (excellent, but a tad heavy going) start here.

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