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10 Qualities to Look for When Hiring an SEO Consultant
If you’re looking to boost your business’s profile online, you need, at the very least, an SEO consultant. Here’s how to hire the right one.
You’ve made the right choice hiring a professional web designer. Your website is your company’s face to all the users on the internet, so looking your best is important.
But unless your site is effective at achieving company goals, that pretty face is pretty worthless. Now that you’ve got the right look, it’s time to focus on performance. For that, you’ll need an expert in search engine optimization (SEO).
In order for your site to achieve anything, it must be optimized to attract traffic from search engines. Then it can convert traffic into sales or whatever else you need.
Just as you invested in web design, it’s essential that you hire a qualified SEO consultant to achieve peak website performance. And we’ll help you find the best one for your company.
Below is a checklist of the top 10 qualities to look for in an SEO consultant. Use this checklist to make an informed decision.
1. They Don’t Make Ridiculous Promises
It’s always good to steer clear of candidates who promise you the moon. But that’s especially true when hiring SEO consultants.
The fact is, search engine standards and SEO trends change daily. So no SEO expert could possibly know enough to “guarantee” specific results.
First of all, Google’s exact algorithm is the secret to their success. Like a secret family recipe, they’ll do everything in their power to keep it secret. No one but Google will ever know exactly how to be number 1 in search results.
Besides, this algorithm changes constantly. Google updates its algorithm more than 500 times per year!
And every single one of these updates could change everything we know about SEO. If this happens, every SEO expert in the world goes back to basics.
Furthermore, Google won’t necessarily disclose what they change or when. They can even penalize sites manually at their discretion.
So you see, the field of SEO is subject to sudden, massive change and impossible to predict. Any SEO consultant who guarantees you’ll be “rank #1 in two weeks” is either a fool or a liar. A true, honest SEO expert can only promise an improvement in search ranking over time.
2. They Display a Thirst for Learning
SEO knowledge is great–until it’s not anymore. When Google’s algorithm changes, so do the rules of SEO.
Your SEO consultant needs to be more than knowledgeable. They must also be adaptable.
They have to be ready for change by staying on top of SEO trends. They need to be ready to change when challenges come up.
You won’t get this adaptability from a burnt-out SEO consultant who’s lost their passion. It requires a curious mind with a thirst for new knowledge.
Look for signs of this type of curiosity in your interviewees. Listen for comments about new things they learned or researched this week. Or ask.
3. They Must Have Years of Experience
The second part of this adaptability is experience, and lots of it.
Up-to-date knowledge can be gained in minutes. Your candidates can learn about new SEO trends and algorithm updates while waiting for their interview in your lobby.
But adaptability in the field of SEO is a skill. And skills only improve with time and practice.
Also, years of experience means a variety of jobs completed/challenges conquered. They know what works for one site doesn’t work for another. And they probably know exactly what will work for your site.
On the other hand, someone new to the game will most likely take much longer to get results. They’ll either use the same, generic approach they use on all their clients’ sites or they’ll have to guess and check to see what works. If you see any results with an inexperienced SEO consultant, you’re either very lucky or very patient.
4. They Have the Track Record to Prove Their Worth
There’s a reason our society uses a court system to administer justice instead of taking people at their word. And that is: if it can’t be proven, it probably didn’t happen. The same goes for your interviewee.
Anyone can talk a big talk. But do they have the documented website analytics to back it up? Do they provide you a long list of satisfied client references as proof of their achievements?
Before you hire anyone, get these documents in your hand. Call up these past clients to hear their appraisal for yourself.
5. They Understand the 3 Levels of SEO Knowledge
There isn’t just one way to improve SEO. There are three. Here they are in order of importance.
This has to do with a website’s structure. The way the site’s set up either makes it easy or difficult for search engines to crawl and index content.
This determines how effective your other SEO efforts are. If search engines can’t effectively crawl and index content, the next two levels of SEO won’t make much of a difference.
This refers to any strategies used to optimize the site or content, aside from technical SEO. It includes keyword use, HTML tags, content quality and formatting, and outbound links to reputable sources. Addressing this is far more urgent than off-page SEO.
Off-page SEO is any attempt made outside the website to boost its search rank. This includes link building and pay-per-click advertising.
SEO success requires working on all three levels in order. Avoid any so-called SEO experts who only focus on one of these or doesn’t seem to understand the hierarchy of the three levels. Make sure the candidate you choose displays knowledge of this 3-tiered system.
6. They Understand Marketing
If your potential SEO consultant appears completely clueless in the art of salesmanship, you should hear warning alarms going off in your head. SEO is marketing.
An SEO consultant’s job is to advertise your website. To improve your search rank, they need to make your site attractive to both search engines and internet users.
Essentially, their goal is to sell your products using your website as a medium. In this regard, SEO is not that different from an email marketing campaign.
That said, why would you entrust the advertising of your website to someone who doesn’t know how to sell? That’s crazy!
7. They Understand Your Goals
Remember how we said your SEO consultant will be selling your products? They better understand what products you’re selling, your target audience, mission statement, etc. And that’s assuming that selling products is what you hope to achieve through your website.
What exactly are you hoping to achieve? Does the SEO consultant know this? Are these among the goals they are ready and equipped to help you with?
Remember, your website is a marketing campaign, and SEO is part of it. But there is a lot more to this campaign of yours than search ranking.
Before you hire, make sure the consultant is aware of your expectations. Also check that they have the experience, track record, and precise plan to help you achieve them.
8. You Can Understand What They’re Talking About
Communication is going to have a big role in your relationship with this consultant.
Obviously, if you’re hiring an SEO expert, it means you’re not one. And that means this consultant will be spending most of their time working on things you won’t understand.
So you’ll need a consultant who can clearly communicate what they’re doing, why, how well it’s going, how your website has improved, etc. This person will also be working with other members of your team. They’ll need to clarify these points with your IT staff and management as well.
If they’re already having trouble communicating such things while still in the interview, politely dismiss them.
9. They Mesh Well With Your Company Culture
And because they’ll be interacting with your staff, you need to choose someone who is a good fit. As with all your staffing endeavors, you’ll be adding a new member to your team, a new cog into your machine.
Hiring someone who doesn’t fit well into your established company culture causes conflict. Such a dysfunctional business relationship can’t last.
Choose a candidate who’s a good match for your culture. Their personality, values, organizational style, even their appearance should reflect those of your company.
10. The Price is Right
Always make sure you know exactly what you’re paying for. Specifically, what services are they providing you and how are they priced?
Are there any conditional fees? A common one is a large fee for terminating the contract early. If early termination is a possibility, be sure to price it out first.
Also, the best SEO tools, like Moz, Ahrefs, and SEMRush, cost money. Will your consultant be using such tools? Will they pay this expense or will you have to pay extra to provide them the access?
If you don’t know what you’re paying for, or might have to pay for, find out. If you don’t, it may cost you more than you’re prepared (or able) to pay.
Although, ironically, paying too little can cost you even more. That is to say, beware of abnormally low prices or your ROI will suffer the consequences.
If it sounds to cheap to be true, it probably is. Either their work absolutely sucks, or they’re sneakily trying to hide the true price from you. Use the advice from this list to check both of these things.
Choosing the Right SEO Consultant
Without traffic, your website’s worthless. So choose wisely when hiring for SEO.
Make sure the candidate you hire has all the qualities listed above. Use this checklist when hiring an SEO consultant.
Ready to get started? Contact us today!
Sandy, a Webby Award Winning web designer is located in The Biggest Little City in America, Reno Nv. She works with companies across the country.
More about starting or moving a business to Nevada
Reno is growing by leaps and bounds. Help your website be the catalyst for growth. SEO, or search engine optimization is the art and science of ranking your website for keywords that generate new leads, sales and sign ups.
I practice what I preach, my clients are thrilled with the results of my SEO efforts and I am happy to chat on the phone anytime to help answer questions. No strings attached.
We only take on SEO clients that we are 100% confident that we can rank high in Google search. We only focus on the keywords that matter. Buyer intent keywords are an important part of organic SEO for businesses in the Reno area. Some other SEO companies will trick businesses into thinking they are ranking for the best keywords, when in fact, they are only ranking for low volume keywords. Meaning, not many new customers are searching for that keyword phrase, so, it is very easy to rank a website for the SEO term. We focus on finding the highest volume keywords that will drive customers to your website that are actively looking for your types of products and services, guaranteed.
Buyer intent keywords are valuable opportunities for businesses looking to capture new clients in Google, Yahoo and Bing search engines. This is a HUGE opportunity for growth. Most websites are not SEO optimized, giving those businesses who do work with an SEO expert, knowledgeable in the safe, white hat SEO strategies that work… a great advantage.
We are not the cheapest SEO company in Reno, but we are not the most expensive either. We make sure to research and learn as much as possible about our clients goals before taking on a new SEO client. The results speak for themselves, with 30+ positive reviews from real world customers in the Reno area and beyond.
Learn more about my other marketing services like custom web design, email marketing, social networking, PPC and more…
“Sandy has been amazing. We made our first online sale last week thanks to her efforts. Couldn’t be happier with the results”
“No one works harder than RWDR. We are comitted to being the leader in our industrty. Sandy is our go to SEO expert on call.”
View more client testimonials here: www.RenoWebDesigner.com