As the online landscape becomes increasingly competitive, businesses are realizing the importance of having a strong online presence. One of the key components of a successful online strategy is search engine optimization (SEO). However, SEO can be complex and time-consuming, which is why many businesses turn to SEO consultants for help. Hiring a great SEO consultant can skyrocket your business, while a wrong hire can do a lot of harm. So how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? In this article, we will explore nine essential questions to ask when choosing the right SEO consultant for your business.
What's Their Track Record of Success?
When evaluating potential SEO consultants, it's crucial to assess their track record of success. While getting a reference from someone you trust is ideal, it's not always possible. In such cases, you should focus on a candidate's track record of success. Many SEO consultants list a few clients on their websites, but it's essential to go beyond this information. A good consultant should be able to disclose a few websites they have worked on and provide testimonials or case studies reflecting their performance. You can also use tools like Ahrefs' Site Explorer to check the organic traffic of the websites they have worked on. Look for an upward trend and discuss specific cases with the consultant to understand their approach and results.
What Do They Do Best?
SEO consultants come with different specialties and expertise. It's important to find a consultant whose skills align with your business needs. While a general knowledge of marketing is essential, a good SEO consultant should excel in specific SEO disciplines such as on-page, off-page, or technical SEO. Some consultants may focus on a niche area like link building or technical SEO, which can be beneficial if it aligns with your business requirements. By understanding their focus, knowledge, and expertise, you can determine if there is a good fit between your needs and their capabilities.
How Much Can Their Work Impact Your Business?
Before hiring an SEO consultant, it's important to assess the potential impact their work can have on your business. Several factors influence this impact, including the organic traffic potential in your industry, the prioritization of organic search in your marketing strategy, the availability of developer and content creator resources, and the availability of a link builder or PR specialist. A good consultant should assess these factors and provide insights into how their work can contribute to your business growth. While it's important to have realistic expectations, the goal is to come to an agreement that investing in SEO is the right choice for your business.
Do They Guarantee Results?
Beware of any SEO consultant who guarantees specific results. SEO is a complex and ever-changing field, and no one can guarantee precise outcomes. There are numerous variables involved in SEO, and it takes time to see significant changes in organic traffic. While a good consultant can make a positive impact, it's important to understand that SEO is a long-term game, and results may take months to materialize. Avoid consultants who make unrealistic promises and instead look for those who focus on a data-driven approach and continuous improvement.
What's Their Approach to Google's SEO Guidelines?
Google's SEO guidelines are constantly evolving, and it's important to understand how a potential SEO consultant approaches them. While there's no right answer, it's a good sign if a consultant can provide examples where they disagree with Google and explain their reasoning. For example, link building is an area where SEO recommendations and Google's guidelines often differ. Hearing about a consultant's approach to such disagreements can provide valuable insights into their expertise and understanding of SEO best practices.
What SEO Tools Do They Use?
Effective SEO requires the use of reliable SEO tools. When evaluating an SEO consultant, it's important to inquire about the tools they use and how they utilize them. Ideally, a good SEO consultant should have access to leading all-in-one SEO toolsets like Ahrefs, Semrush, or Moz, along with Google Search Console and Google Analytics. However, having access to these tools is just the beginning. You should also ask about their processes for auditing a website, finding link-building opportunities, and conducting keyword research. While you may not be an SEO expert, their answers should inspire confidence and demonstrate their proficiency in using these tools effectively.
What Does Their SEO Reporting Look Like?
SEO reporting is an essential aspect of any SEO consultant's work. A good SEO consultant should provide concise and informative reports that highlight key metrics and insights. While it may not be possible to obtain their previous clients' reports due to confidentiality agreements, you can inquire about their SEO reporting process. Look for consultants who emphasize SEO key performance indicators (KPIs) tied to your business growth, such as organic conversions and share of voice. Additionally, a good SEO consultant should combine data from various sources, including Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and independent SEO toolsets, to provide a comprehensive view of your website's performance.
How Much Do They Cost?
Pricing is a crucial consideration when hiring an SEO consultant. While some consultants publicly disclose their rates, it's important to get a quote tailored to your specific needs. SEO pricing can vary based on factors such as the consultant's expertise, the scope of work, and the country of operation. Common pricing models include hourly rates, project-based pricing, and monthly retainers. Discuss the minimum contract length and payment terms to ensure a clear understanding of the financial commitment. Keep in mind that hiring the best SEO consultants may require a significant investment, but it can yield long-term benefits for your business.
How Do They Hand Over the Work?
While your cooperation with an SEO consultant may not be permanent, it's essential to consider how they handle the handover of their work. A good consultant should inquire about your SEO history and gather relevant information to facilitate a smooth transition for any future consultants. Sharing data and insights about previous keyword research, content plans, technical SEO issues, and link-building opportunities can save time and money for the new consultant. It's crucial that you retain ownership of your data and avoid granting admin access to external parties. Clear communication and a well-documented handover process are key to ensuring the continuity of your SEO efforts.
Choosing the right SEO consultant for your business is a critical decision that can significantly impact your online presence and revenue. By asking the right questions and evaluating candidates based on their track record of success, expertise, approach to SEO guidelines, tools and reporting, and cost, you can make an informed decision. Remember that SEO is a long-term investment, and results may take time to materialize. With careful consideration and thorough evaluation, you can find the right SEO consultant who can help your business thrive in the online landscape.
If you have any questions or need further assistance, feel free to reach out to us. We're here to help you make the best decision for your business's SEO needs.