SEO is an undeniably important part of any site’s online marketing efforts. But not every site owner or webmaster feels comfortable enough to handle SEO by themselves. If they don’t have anyone in-house they can turn to, many will look to bring in an SEO firm or SEO consultant to handle to job. If you are such a site owner, don’t be afraid to do the same. A reputable, white hat SEO firm or consultant is going to do everything in their power (and within the guidelines of the search engines) to help your site succeed online.
However, you do not need to hire an SEO consultant that specializes in your industry!
If, while you’re researching SEO services providers, you find a company that you feel would be a great partner to work with, don’t be discouraged if you can’t find a previous client that came from your industry. This doesn’t mean A- that they have never worked with a similar client and B- that they can’t do a fantastic job with you!
In my opinion, SEO companies that specialize in specific industries and only work with those clients (orthodontists, for instance) are stifling their creativity. They develop the same plan and approach for each client. While these plans may be well researched and properly implemented, if everyone is doing the same SEO, then no one gains a real lead. Only one company can rank #1 for a specific keyword, for instance. That’s why each company needs its own set of competitive and long-tail keywords. Otherwise, you will get lost in the clutter.
After an SEO company has been working in the same industry day in and day out, they start to get lazy. Maybe they don’t take the time to research the target audience for key insights anymore. Maybe they don’t bother finding new bloggers to establish relationships with. They get into a routine and don’t produce great SEO. Formulas rarely allow for creativity to flourish.
I’m not saying that SEO firms shouldn’t have some kind of basic approach they employ for their clients. But that approach has to serve as a guideline that can be tailored and tweaked to meet the needs of each individual site. Every site, regardless of industry, has a unique set of challenges and goals. If the goal of one site is to rank for certain highly competitive keywords, different tactics have to be used than for a site that wants to ramp up their content marketing.
The only exceptions I would make are if your site operates in a medical or legal field. Unless someone from your company is willing to do all the writing (which is highly specific and oftentimes requires a degree to do well), finding an SEO expert that understands your field exceptionally well makes sense. Other than that, it really doesn’t matter. A good SEO consultant is going to learn your business and your industry. It is the only way they can help you succeed.