If you are seeking some SEO help, a consultant can be your best resource. But selecting an SEO consultant is a difficult and big decision because it can make or break your business.
A wrong choice can lead to business loss and may even hurt its reputation, on the other hand, the right choice can improve your business and reputation along with cost and time-saving.
Why SEO Consultant?
An SEO Consultant is an expert who offers you advice and guidance on improving your site’s search presence, brand awareness, and business revenue by suggesting changes in your SEO strategy, and the existing process.
In general, SEO consultants work with you on planning and solving a problem. They can also offer their subject matter expertise in:
- Auditing your site’s existing search engine presence
- Review of your site structure, navigation, and user experience
- Site content audit
- Advice on on-page and off-page SEO
- Advice on the usage of right and relevant keywords on your website
- Technical SEO audit of the website
- Guidance on link building campaigns
- Help in setting up, review or training on Google Search Console
- Advice on getting in the different type of Google search results such as featured snippets, knowledge graph, and video carousels
- Training your in-house marketing team
Selecting the Right SEO Consultant
So, if you are looking for somebody who can do your SEO or guide you on how to do SEO, I’d recommend the following process that you should follow.
1. Set Your Goals
To find the right candidate, you should know your goals first. Ask yourself:
- Why do you need an SEO consultant?
- What do you want to achieve with SEO – traffic increase, signups/downloads increase, or brand building?
- Do you need an SEO consultant only for validating your ideas or reviewing the existing process only?
- What are your business SEO requirements and deliverables?
- Do you need someone who is an expert in your industry area?
Answering such questions beforehand will help you identify your current need and get a clear picture of success or failure after you’ll hire the consultant.
2. Search Your Network
Your network can be a great source for finding an SEO expert. Start with these:
- Search LinkedIn or Twitter network
- Ask your friends or family
- Ask business colleagues
- Ask forums (such as Quora) you participate in
Instead of putting, ‘best SEO in Delhi” or “best SEO consultant” on Google, asking your network for references tends to be more reliable than Google because most SEO agencies and individuals optimize themselves for such keywords.
LinkedIn is another best source to find the right candidate as it can introduce you to potential candidates for your purpose.
3. Ask Questions
Select at least 4-5 candidates (or more) for the interview, meeting or phone call to make sure they are the right fit for your business.
- Do you have any SEO success story?
- Can you show me your previous work?
- Do you have any experience in my industry?
- How long have you been doing SEO
- Do you follow ethical SEO practices (Google Webmaster Guidelines)?
- What tools do you use for your SEO work?
- How do you keep yourself updated with the SEO industry?
- What do you think about the modern day SEO and the future of search?
Project Specific Questions:
If you feel confident with the answers of initiatory questions, I would recommend you to discuss your business requirement and existing SEO process. Feel free to ask these questions after discussing your business:
- What strategy would you recommend for my business and why?
- How will you communicate the changes and how often?
- How much time you will take to help me achieve my business goals – 3 months, 6 months or a year?
- What if you can’t deliver the expected results? (Set a realistic expectation here)
- How much will you charge for your services? What would be payment model – annually, monthly, etc.?
4. Choose Wisely
Ready to hire an SEO consultant? Don’t forget these additional things that you should also consider.
a) Quality of Work: To understand the clarity of thinking and how they structure and deliver their work, you should consider them on the quality standards. Ask them if they have some online contributions or case studies or customer reviews or other trust signals.
b) Skills/Results: Know about their skills and results they have driven by asking the screenshots of Google Analytics/Search Console and some client contact information. Try to talk at least one client to get the feedback of the consultant.
c) Price: Know about their fees and timing and evaluate if this matches to your business requirements and schedule.
d) Geography and Location: Is the SEO consultant in your geography? If not, how often they can connect with you – in-person or over Skype or video calls?
No doubt, SEO consultants are a great resource but the important thing is how you utilize their advice and observations in your business. A consultant can give you endless advice on how to do something but the results only come when these tips are implemented and followed.
In case you are not sure about hiring an SEO consultant or expert for your business, I’d recommend you to follow industry blogs and experts who offer their guidance and SEO best practices. I’ve already created a list of some popular SEO blogs that you can follow to keep yourself up-to-date with search industry.
What do you think about this? Do you have some additional tips and guidelines to add here? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.