How To Choose the Right SEO Consultant for Your Business
When you are in the market for a SEO consultant to take your business to the next level, you may find that narrowing down your search is a bit more complicated than expected. With so many options and SEO specialists advertising their expertise, choosing one may become daunting.
However, hiring a SEO specialist doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s all a matter of narrowing down your SEO goals and finding the best match for your industry and your business. Keep reading to find out how you can select the best options and what can help you make the best choice.
What Do SEO Consultants Do?
If you’ve reached the point where you are wondering how to hire a SEO consultant, you’ve probably heard the SEO term more than once. That comes as no surprise as it has been on everyone’s minds for a while now.
To do things right, you will have to familiarize yourself with the basics. ‘What does a SEO consultant do’ and ‘Why do I need one?’ are very valid questions you should be asking yourselfbefore you start asking potential SEO consultants any questions.
A SEO consultant is an expertin Search Engine Optimization. As for what SEO consultants do, they give advice and apply tactics to get better search engine visibility and more traffic to your website. The ultimate goal of all of this is to get more visitors to your business.
To do this, SEO consultants analyze a website and then determine how to improve its functionality and search engine ranking. Through on-page and off-page tactics, SEO consultants help your website rank higher and attract more organic traffic, improving conversion rates and generating more business leads.
A good SEO consultant needs to know andstay on top of SEO best practices, trends, and algorithm updates. They have to be familiar with the entire range of on-page and off-page SEOtactics that drive a website’s visibility and ranking. Their strategies need to incorporate keyword research, content optimization, analytics, and technical SEO.
In the end, it’s all about doing everything it takes to hit your digital marketing goals.
Why Is SEO Important?
SEO helps websites rank higher in online search results. It is how search engines determine which websites deserve the top spots based on specific on-page and off-page criteria.
For businesses, SEO is important because it helps them:
- rank high in search engine results for specific keywords
- drive organic traffic
- reach more potential customers (since they are most likely to click on the top 5 search engine results)
- get more traffic to their website or more customers to their physical location
- improve user experience and their website’s functionality
- gain more online authority
- make more sales and gain more profit.
SEO is essential for the success of any online business.
How Much Should a SEO Consultant Cost?
The general answer to ‘How much does SEO cost?’ is ‘It depends’.
However, the most common SEO pricing options are hourly rates, monthly/annual rates, project-based and on-demand.
A good SEO consultant will be able to clearly estimate costs and offer you several payment plans to choose fromafter they’ve had a chance to review your goals and website.
The monthly or yearly rate SEO pricing option usually applies to contracts concluded over a longer period and rates are typically lower than hourly or project-based contracts. Costs vary between $600 and $2,500 per month.
This type of plan isn’t for everyone. Especially if you do not want to commit to anything long-term. However, you should keep in mind that SEO takes time and building a relationship with your SEO consultant will pay off in the end.
Project-based SEO is great if you are familiar with SEO strategies and want to enlist the help of a SEO consultant for a specific goal. It works best if you already have an in-house SEO team and you need more hands on deck for a certain project. Costs may vary between $1,000 and $7,000 per project depending on your specific needs.
Hourly and on-demand are also popular for companies that need SEO help only for certain strategies. Costs may vary between $100 and $200 per hour.
No matter what pricing option works best for you, make sure you discuss with your SEO consultant about how and how often they report their activity so you can keep control of your SEO budget.
What Kind of SEO Can I Do Myself?
The type of SEO you can do yourself includes content creation, FAQ, images, blogs, and videos. You can write blog posts, e-books, create video guides, or infographics.
It is essential that any SEO content you create is focused on helping searchers. It needs to solve a problem, answer a question, resolve a need.
Apart from these easier SEO tasks, if you want to get into more complex ones like building code and links, meta data, modifying website structures, you will need to be very confident in your technical skills.
That’s why most business owners prefer to let professionals handle their SEO. A SEO consultant’s main advantage is that they already know all the strategies and tactics you would need to learn. Plus, they can give you much quicker results.
On the other hand, doing some basic research about SEO best practices and tactics as well as fundamental principles will certainly come in handy not only in understanding what the best SEO strategy for your business would be but also in choosing the right SEO consultant.
Good SEO Goals
Before you hire a SEO consultant, you should have a clear image of what you want to achieve with your SEO strategy. Knowing what you want will not only make it easier to find the right SEO tools for your goals, but it will also make it easier to hire a SEO consultant that can deliver what you need.
Your SEO goals could include:
- Getting more conversions
- Increasing sales
- Ranking higher for certain keywords
- Getting more traffic and increasing visibility
- Getting more calls or bookings
- Increasing the time visitors spend on your website
If you are unsure of what your SEO goals are, you’re allowing yourself to be vulnerable. You could end up falling for the stories of a SEO consultant that promises you the moon and delivers nothing.
The more specific you get, the more you can ask potential SEO consultants how they plan to achieve your goals and what tactics they plan to employ. Then, after you hire them, you can use KPIs to evaluate their activity and your SEO strategy’s progress.
How To Find a SEO Consultant
To find a SEO consultant, you can simply use this term in a Google search. When searching for a SEO consultant, Google search results are all the more relevant. The fact that they can rank high for a search term that is so competitive shows that they know how to do good SEO.
Another good way to find a SEO consultant is through references. It’s always good to choose someone that has already been tested by someone you know. And if someone you know has had a great experience with a SEO consultant, you can bet they will advertise it.
How To Choose the Best SEO Consultant
The best SEO consultant is the one that works best for your company. With SEO, what matters is what your goals are and how different SEO consultants plan to get you there.
Before you hire a SEO consultant, make a shortlist of your favorites.Then, have them draw up a map with clear metrics and tell you how they see your SEO strategy’s milestones and KPIs. Make sure you get clear info about how they will track performance and define how you will communicate throughout your collaboration.
A good SEO consultant will ask for a lot of information.
They will need to know things about your company, your target audience, your goals. After they review that information, they will also review your website. Finally, they will be able to identify how to achieve your goals and what it will take.
There are a few red flags you should steer clear of when hiring a SEO Consultant.
The first one is any SEO consultant claiming they have a miraculous solution. SEO results are not something you can guarantee.So, anyone over confidently selling you guarantees is probably selling you snake oil.
On the other hand, you don’t want your SEO consultant to keep things vague. Especially if you are unfamiliar with SEO tactics, you may fall for SEO consultants telling you that SEO is this mystical realm of search engine rankings that only they can access.
Your SEO consultant should be able to talk to you clearly about strategies, tactics, metrics, and KPIs. If they are very knowledgeable, they should also be able to explain SEO to anyone above the age of 5.
Among the things you should avoid are SEO consultants talking about using black hat SEO tactics.
They may get you short-term results but even that is highly unlikely. Black hat SEO will, however, get you penalized by search engines like Google.And it will take you a lot of time and effort to take your website off their blacklist.
References and Samples
As mentioned, ones of the ways in which you can find a good SEO consultant is through references. Especially from other companies in your industry.
If talking to other companies doesn’t get you anywhere, you should at least read some reviews of potential SEO consultants. Check out their social media, their Google reviews, or the customer feedback on their website.
Once you shortlist a few favorites, ask them to provide samples of their previous work. See what results they managed to obtain for similar companies or in similar SEO strategies.
What Should I Ask My SEO Consultant?
Here is a checklist of the best questions to ask your next SEO Consultant:
When can I expect to start seeing results?
What are your contract/pricing options?
What SEO costs should I expect?
What if I want to cancel the contract?
Who owns the website if the contract is terminated?
What information do I need to share?
Let’s take them one at a time.
When Can I Expect to Start Seeing Results?
Your SEO consultant should be able to clearly answer this question. If they are too vague, consider that a warning sign.
A good SEO strategy is built on clear milestones and metrics.So, any good SEO consultant should know how long it will take to achieve your SEO goals.
To keep things on track, you should also discuss with your SEO consultant about how they will report progress and what data they will provide. You should get regular details about:
- the tactics they implement
- website traffic metrics – how many new visitors you have and where they are redirected from
- search rankings on main keywords
- conversion metrics – how much of the new traffic is turning into customers
What Are Your Contract/Pricing Options?
Most SEO consultants offer several contract/pricing options. Monthly/yearly rates, project-based, and hourly fees are the most common.
You are, of course, the one who will know what option suits you best but you should always discuss them with your SEO consultant in detail. Many times, they will be able to tailor an offer to your specific needs and budget.
Make sure your contract clearly stipulates fees, milestones, KPIs, as well as payment and cancellation terms.
What SEO Costs Should I Expect?
The most common SEO pricing options are hourly rates, monthly rates, project-based and on-demand.
Monthly rates range from $600 to $2,500 per month. Project-based SEO pricing may vary between $1,000 and $7,000 per project depending on specific needs. Hourly/on-demandrates vary between $100 and $200 per hour.
You can get a rough estimate of the costs associated with your SEO strategy from the first meeting. However, a good SEO consultant will only give you the answer to this question after they review your requirements and draw up a map of the milestones and tactics it will take to achieve your SEO goals.
What If I Want to Cancel the Contract?
Good SEO takes time. So, once you choose a SEO consultant you should also be willing to allow them the time to deliver results. Typically, you should be able to see results in a matter of months.
However, you may run into any number of reasons to terminate your collaboration. You should prepare for any such event from the beginning and add clear provisions in your contract about ownership of proprietary information and any termination fees.
Who Owns the Website If the Contract is Terminated?
Even if you decide to terminate the contract before its expiry, you will remain the owner of the website and of any content or changes the SEO consultant has implemented.
Make sure you read the contract provisions relating to ownership and you don’t accept any abusive clauses. If there are no such provisions, you should add the SEO consultant’s obligation to not make any change or remove any content once the contract is terminated.
What Information Do I Need to Share?
An experienced SEO consultant will ask you to provide a series of essential information. It’s how they can tailor a SEO strategy to fit your needs and your goals.
First of all, they will need to know all about your industry and your business. A good SEO strategy is adapted to the specific requirements of the client’s activity.
They will need to know:
- your long and short-term objectives
- what specific results you are looking for
- who your target audience is
- details about your service/product
- your USP
- if you have any current SEO issues
- your target keywords
- your competition
They will also analyze:
- the website’s structure
- previous SEO metrics
- your website’s content
- meta data, title tags
- page load speed
As for access, you should grant your SEO consultant access to your website and any analytics platforms they may need.
All in all, SEO is the main digital marketing strategy that can help put your brand on the map. With online visibility becoming the number one element of any growth strategy, your online presence needs all the help it can get. Putting a little effort into finding the right SEO consultant for your business will definitely pay off.
So, don’t skip it and use our checklist to help narrow down your choices.