Hiring an SEO consultant can be a daunting task. In an ideal world, your consultant would help your business to gain organic traffic to your website, improve your rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs) and help you turn your online traffic into qualified leads. Sounds ideal, doesn’t it? But in some cases, SEO consultants may turn to less favourable black hat SEO strategies that benefit you in the short-term but not the long-term and this can do more harm than good to your business.
Thankfully, you don’t have to know the ins and outs of SEO to hire a consultant to help you with your digital strategy. You just need to know the right questions to ask and what answers to look out for.
If you’re looking to hire an SEO consultant for your business, consider using these questions – and look out for the answers – so that you can find a reliable SEO specialist that uses the best practices to drive the results you want.
(1) What’s your typical process for improving rankings and improving SEO?
When it comes to SEO, there are three main components that are most effective and that most reliable SEO specialists consider as part of a robust SEO strategy.
Technical SEO – This is the first step to making sure your SEO campaign gets off to the best start and focuses on your website’s code, structure, speed and other metrics that Google’s algorithm analyses that may impact your search engine traffic.
On page SEO – This is the second step in ensuring a successful SEO campaign and is the process of ensuring the content on your website is optimised so that your site can rank higher on search engine results pages. SEO specialists will look at components such as keywords (both long-tail and short-tail) and content to ensure they are as effective as possible.
Off page SEO – This is the final step for improving rankings and SEO by earning backlinks to your site, strengthening your brand online and improving the popularity of your website and its content.
You want to ensure that your SEO consultant is experienced in all three areas and that they have a clear strategy for each.
(2) What SEO tools do you have access to to effectively deliver an SEO campaign?
Understanding the tools an SEO consultant has access to is crucial alongside understanding why they use them. Reputable SEO consultants will use a variety of tools to conduct an SEO campaign. When considering an SEO professional, you should ask them:
- What tools do you use for keyword research and why?
- How do you monitor rankings in search engines? What tool do you use?
- Are there any tools you use to monitor backlinks? Which ones would you use for my needs and why?
- What tools do you use for competitor analysis and why?
Your SEO consultant should be able to answer these questions confidently and give you an insight to their preferred tools and why they will use them for your digital marketing goals.
(3) How do you stay up to date with the latest SEO trends?
When hiring an SEO consultant, it’s important that you have someone who keeps up to date with the latest trends posted by Google on their blog and actively participates in SEO events and forums. Because SEO is constantly changing and evolving, it’s important that your SEO consultant’s knowledge is as well, and the best consultants will take pride in researching the latest algorithm changes and trends.
(4) What recommendations or opportunities do you recommend for our website?
A good SEO consultant should have done an audit on your website to understand where it’s performing and where it could improve. This is essential to ensure they can understand the task at hand. You also want to see if they are testing new ways of working and if they have their finger on the pulse of what will gain you the best results as opposed to regurgitating the latest industry spiel. You want to know what your SEO consultant has done before and how they have driven similar results for their clients.
(5) Do you have any case studies you can provide us with from current or past client work?
Whenever you make a big purchase or hire someone to complete a big job, what’s the first thing you do? Of course, you check reviews and go to their website to look for past client case studies. It’s the same with hiring an SEO consultant.
If you’re dealing with a reliable SEO consultancy, they will have no problem at all showing you previous SEO campaigns they’ve worked on so don’t be scared to ask. Ask about the clients they’ve worked for and the long-term results they were able to achieve. If they can’t provide you with long-term results, this is an instant red flag as it may highlight, they aren’t able to retain clients.
(6) How does your team go about conducting keyword research?
Keyword research is an integral part of any SEO campaign, so you want to ensure that your SEO consultant is proficient. Long gone are the days where you could plug in a search term into a research tool and create content around it. Now it’s all about understanding user intent, does the keyword have enough intent to drive the qualified traffic you’re looking for?
A good SEO consultant will speak to user intent and inform you of the ways and tools they use to conduct their keyword research. If your whole conversation is focused around the number of searches for a search term, it’s likely they’re working with completely outdated methodologies.
(7) How many team members will be supporting our SEO strategy?
It’s always useful to ask who will be working on your SEO campaign. Whether the consultancy has a team of 1 or 20 – it’s worth asking who you will be working with as SEO firms can have many different people involved in areas such as copywriters, developers, tech specialists etc.
By asking who will be working on your campaign you will gain a better understanding of their in-house SEO expertise.
(8) How often do you communicate with clients?
Communication is key when it comes to SEO projects, and you should find out how your SEO consultant will communicate with you and how often to check if your expectations align. By asking this question it offers you the opportunity to understand what communication methods will work best for both parties and if there is any support available should anything go awry.
(9) Do you provide SEO reporting? And can you provide an example.
Don’t shy away from asking to see a sample report! After all, you want to ensure that your SEO consultant has a tried and tested way of reporting and tracking progress toward your SEO goals.
If you have already discussed what you want from the partnership, ask how they would tweak the report to cater to your business and KPIs. Be wary of any SEO consultant that is not willing to share reports with you.
How often your SEO consultant provides you with reports will depend on your project. Most SEO consultants will update clients on a monthly basis as tracking progress on a week-to-week basis is ineffective and can skew results.
(10) What are your SEO service fees?
Some consultants will give you their pricing on their website, but it’s likely you’ll need a specialised quote based on your needs. The most common forms of pricing for SEO are:
- Hourly pricing – this is most common for SEO freelancers where you are paying someone for a fixed period. It’s a great option for many small businesses as it allows them the flexibility to hire someone for a set amount of time.
- Monthly retainer – this is where the SEO consultant or agency will charge you a fixed fee for an agreed contract length. This is most used by consultants and agencies and often requires a minimum contract length due to the time it takes to complete a full audit of your website and implement SEO strategies for growth.
Per project – this is another common pricing model used by many SEO agencies and consultants and involves them charging you a set fee for a certain project. Companies will often set a start and end date as well as a specific set of metrics and KPIs.
(11) What is your timeline to start showing positive results?
Good and effective SEO takes time to implement and grow, but that shouldn’t detract an experienced SEO consultant from giving you a realistic timeframe for results. You should expect to see results within six months of your project start date.
(12) Are you able to help manage and provide recommendations based on analytics?
You’ll want to know how your SEO campaign has performed and where your site stands with regards to rankings, traffic and conversions and your SEO consultant should provide you with this on a monthly basis. On the back of this they should make recommendations where you can improve your site based on analytics.
Hiring an SEO consultant doesn’t need to be complicated; you just need to know the right questions to ask and answers to expect to understand if you have found someone worthy of hiring. When you get the right SEO consultant, they can take your website from strength to strength, gaining you organic leads and helping you to climb the search engine rankings for many years.
Why work with an SEO Consultancy like Egnetix Digital?
If you want to outsource your SEO efforts then consider reaching out to a qualified SEO consultant like Egnetix Digital, a Kent based SEO specialist with a wealth of experience working with brands and agencies on all aspects of SEO. With a proven track record of delivering comprehensive SEO strategies for a variety of businesses, we can ensure you’re set up to win right from the start.
Egnetix Digital will work with you to make recommendations and ensure lasting results for years to come. Why not contact us today to see how we can help you with your SEO strategy?