Hiring an SEO Consultant: Some Pointers

According to comScore, Google, Yahoo, and Bing users conduct around 1 billion searches every day. As a result, it’s no surprise that more and more businesses are including Search Engine Marketing into their marketing strategies. However, as competition heats up, the cost-per-clicks (CPCs) for Google’s Adwords, the world’s most prominent online advertising platform, swiftly creeped up, making it harder to justify, especially for small firms in competitive sectors. This may be seen in Google’s 2010 Q1 financial report, which revealed that the average CPC had increased by 7% year over year.

As a result of this predicament, more intelligent company executives are turning to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) (SEO).

SEO consultants, on the other hand, are a dime a dozen these days. A Google search reveals hundreds of organisations that provide such services, and this does not include web hosting and web design firms that provide SEO as a value-added service. Some SEO experts charge by the project, while others price by the year, and some even give money-back guarantees on rankings. So, how do you pick the right person for the job?

Here are some pointers on how to choose an SEO Consultant for your company:

To begin, learn as much as you can about SEO. Learn about keyword research, ranking criteria, on-page SEO tactics, link-building strategies, and more. On the Internet, there are several free SEO resources such as blogs and forums. At the very least, enrol in one of the many SEO bootcamps in your region.

Do a Google search for “seo,” the desired term that many SEO gurus strive to rank first for. Visit the top ten SEO consultants’ websites. Examine their website’s design and content; a smart SEO consultant will be able to strike a decent mix between writing for humans and search engine crawlers.

Next, check into the backgrounds of the chosen organisations, paying attention to details such as how long they’ve been offering SEO consulting, the number of their employees, a list of previous clients, and the outcomes they’ve produced for client websites, among other things.

Pick up the phone and inquire about the SEO packages, especially the consultant costs, third-party link submission fees, payment terms, task specifics, work method and length, cost of post-optimization maintenance, and what is required on your end. Some SEO consultants, particularly freelancers, just give on-page tips, which you must apply with your own web designer.

If the organisation offers ranking guarantees, inquire about the specifics, since some SEO consultants have been known to provide promises for “junk keywords,” or terms with little to no search traffic, to na├»ve consumers.

Finally, consider if you feel at ease dealing with that individual and whether you are certain that the consultant understands what he or she is doing and has the means to achieve it.

Above all, don’t engage an SEO expert just on the basis of cost. A faulty implementation might, in the worst-case situation, result in your website being removed from the search index. “Pay peanuts and you’ll get monkeys,” as the adage goes.