12 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring an SEO Consultant
Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second. That’s 3.5 billion searches each day! If you don’t have a sound search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, however, you’ll fail to appear on search engines like Google.
The higher you rank on search engines, the more often consumers will see you. In addition to boosting brand awareness, the benefits of SEO include increased website traffic and brand credibility. If you’re busy managing the daily operations of your business, however, you likely don’t have time for SEO.
By hiring an experienced SEO consultant, you can boost your ranking and attract more business. The right consultant will also keep you up-to-date with the latest SEO trends.
Unfortunately, there are as many blackhat SEO “experts” as there are white hat pros. When hiring an SEO consultant, make sure to dodge these 12 mistakes. That way, you can make sure you’re hiring the best in the business.
Finding an expert who has experience with SEO by avoiding these mistakes!
1. Choosing an Inexperienced Business
As you first start developing a list of SEO agencies, make sure each company has years of hands-on experience with SEO.
Any agency can claim they’re “the best in the business.” Unfortunately, many companies make the mistake of believing those claims. If you want to really find the best SEO consultant around, make sure to check their credentials first.
What proof do they have of their experience? You can ask how long they’ve worked on SEO, as well as which services they offer.
SEO changes all the time. When choosing someone with years of experience, it’s also important to make sure they have recent experience. Do they remain up-to-date with the latest algorithm changes?
A consultant can claim they have 20 years of experience, but that won’t matter if their experience isn’t relevant to SEO trends today.
Otherwise, ask if the consultant specializes in a specific area of SEO.
For example, maybe they have experience with link building strategies or content creation. If you have a specific area of SEO you want to focus on, hire a specialist. Otherwise, look for someone with well-rounded experience and expertise.
In fact, many SEO tactics go hand-in-hand. For example, a consultant with content creation experience should also focus on creating location-based content for your SEO strategy.
By finding an experienced SEO consultant, you’ll have peace of mind they have the expertise necessary to boost your rankings.
2. Failing to Strategize
Many businesses also make the mistake of choosing SEO consultants who don’t prioritize strategizing. You should establish a strong SEO strategy before you start optimizing your content.
When interviewing SEO consultants, make sure to discuss your digital marketing strategy goals. Then, the consultant can help you craft an SEO strategy that benefits your overall objectives.
For example, let’s say you want to attract more people to your website. The consultant can focus on targeting keywords with high search volumes and low competition.
What if you want to increase leads or conversions?
You can develop an SEO strategy that focuses on your products or services.
Google’s latest algorithm update focuses on search intent over keywords, though. An experienced, knowledgable SEO consultant will know how to adjust your SEO strategy accordingly to respond to these changes.
Do you want to increase your rankings to boost brand awareness and position yourself ahead of competitors? Think about your priorities to determine your goals.
Before contacting an SEO agency, make sure you know your goals. Keep them specific. Then, ask the consultant how they plan on accomplishing your goals with a strong SEO strategy.
3. They Use Special SEO Tools
Some SEO professionals will claim they use “special tools” that can help boost your rankings. Remain wary of these SEO pros. They’re likely trying to impress you by offering something their competitors can’t.
Instead, look for an SEO pro that remains honest about their strategy.
Remember, Google changes its algorithm all the time. Today, Google is smarter than ever when it comes to recognizing black hat tactics. Some faulty strategies can even have a negative impact on your SEO ranking.
Ask the consultant how they plan on improving your SEO rankings. If they want to keep their tactics a secret, consider it a red flag. Instead, choose a company that remains honest and transparent about their tactics and tools.
Otherwise, you could end up working with an SEO “pro” who will only violate Google’s policies and get you blacklisted from ranking.
4. They Promise Fast Results
Improving your SEO ranking won’t happen overnight. Rather, SEO requires a scientific and artistic approach. There’s also no one way to improve your rankings.
Instead, you’ll need to utilize different tactics to build an overall SEO strategy.
Many companies make the mistake of choosing SEO firms that guarantee fast results. It’s important to avoid a firm that promises results in any give time frame. There’s no way to know for sure how quickly your ranking will improve.
After all, there are multiple factors you’ll have to consider, including search volume, competition, and trends.
If an SEO consultant guarantees fast results, there’s a chance they’re using black hat techniques to boost ratings. Remember, these shortcuts can have a negative impact on your ranking. If Google penalizes you, it might take a while before you can rank for certain keywords again.
A real SEO strategy will take time. If you’re patient, the results will benefit your overall digital marketing strategy.
For example, SEO will help you get in front of more consumers. Once you improve your ranking using white hat tactics, you can also maintain that ranking for a time. By working with a white hat SEO consultant, you can continuously improve your SEO results to enjoy the many benefits of SEO.
5. Not Calling Their References
Many companies also neglect to ask for references and reviews when researching different SEO firms.
If an SEO firm claims they’re “the best in the biz,” don’t take their word for it. Instead, speak with their clients. Talking with a firm’s previous and existing clients will give you learn more about the firm’s abilities.
When speaking with references, ask if they’re satisfied with the SEO firm’s services. Did they experience results? Did they have any issues while working with the SEO consultant?
If they did, how were those problems resolved?
You can learn a lot more about a consultant from the people who have worked with them. Speaking with the consultant’s clients will also help you confirm any claims the SEO consultant made about their own abilities.
If the consultant gave you a list of references and reviews, make sure those references actually exist.
6. Choosing a “One-Size-Fits-All” Deal
Every business is different, regardless of how many competitors are in the industry. With that in mind, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach to SEO. Instead, a consultant should provide you with a custom plan built with your business goals in mind.
If an SEO expert tries to offer a one-size-fits-all package, take your business elsewhere.
Instead, the consultant should take the time to understand your unique business goals. They should also learn everything they can about your business. Only then can they create an effective SEO strategy that will help you accomplish your distinct business goals.
7. Relying on Purchased Links
How does the SEO consultant plan on improving your link building strategy? If they say they buy backlinks, keep looking for another consultant.
An SEO professional who buys links from unreputable services can hurt your SEO ranking. Remember, Google’s algorithm becomes stronger every day. Buying backlinks is actually against Google’s policies, which could earn you a penalty from Google.
Instead, ask the SEO pro how they plan on improving your backlink strategy.
Do they know which links will improve your rankings? You’ll need to find links from high-quality resources that are relevant to your industry. Otherwise, the links won’t help boost your rankings.
8. Not Asking for Evidence
Remember, you don’t have to take an SEO company for their word. Instead, confirm their claims by asking to see case studies.
What key performance indicators (KPIs) do they study to determine an SEO campaign was successful? Do they use Google Analytics? If so, they should have some analytical proof you can study.
Compare the data over time. For example, you can compare visits to specific pages to see if the SEO strategy increased sit traffic.
Ask the SEO agency what projects they’ve worked on recently as well. Have they worked on a company similar to yours? If they did, what improvements did they notice?
If an SEO firm can’t provide evidence their SEO tactics work, keep searching.
9. Neglecting Your Website
For a successful SEO strategy, you also need to improve your website. Otherwise, a difficult to read and navigate site could scare away visitors.
Make sure to utilize user experience (UX) design trends. For example, you’ll want to make sure your pages are easy to navigate. Is your font easy to read?
Test your website on mobile devices, too. If your site is difficult to use on a smartphone, you’re likely losing leads.
Almost 70 percent of smartphone users are likely to buy from a brand with a helpful mobile website. A website that attracts consumers won’t necessarily gain you leads. Instead, you need a fast, easy to use website that supports your SEO strategy.
When searching for an SEO consultant, ask how they plan on improving your website to help your SEO strategy generate results. In addition to mobile-optimizing your site, they should also prioritize your page speed load times. A slow loading site could frustrate visitors, which could cause them to leave without clicking around.
A low clickthrough rate and high bounce rate could have a negative impact on your SEO ranking. In fact, both site speed and mobile optimization are ranking factors. Google actually uses mobile-first indexing to determine rankings, too.
If the consultant doesn’t consider improving your website, there’s a chance they don’t know much about Google ranking factors.
10. Focusing on Text
Video content could represent 80 percent of all web traffic by 2021. Don’t make the mistake of choosing an SEO consultant that only focuses on text. Instead, they should create a content strategy that focuses on different types of content, including videos.
Ask the consultant what type of content they can create. You can use infographics, podcasts, and quizzes to engage your target audience.
You’ll need to improve your local SEO strategy, too. About 56 percent of mobile searchers are looking for local information about a business. That includes your business hours, directions, and address.
Focusing on your local SEO strategy can help you attract more foot traffic to your store. In fact, about 76 percent of consumers who search on their phones for something nearby visit a business within a day! About 28 percent of those searches result in a purchase.
If you want to bring more people to your front door and generate more sales, you need a local SEO strategy.
11. Forgetting the Data
Ask the SEO expert how they determine a strategy is working. How will they keep you up-to-date regarding the progress of your campaigns?
The SEO firm should provide you with regular updates by tracking your KPIs. Those KPIs should reflect your overall digital marketing strategy goals.
Some companies make the mistake of not asking for updates. Progress reports will help you determine what’s working (and what’s not) to boost your rankings. Then, you can continue optimizing your SEO campaign to generate more results.
12. Ignoring Trends
Remember, Google’s algorithm changes throughout the year. Ask the SEO consultant if they’re up-to-date with the latest trends. How will they use these trends to improve your overall SEO Strategy?
For example, 50 percent of all searches will occur through voice search by 2020. Another 30 percent of searches will occur without a screen. If you’re not adjusting your SEO strategy for voice searches, you’re losing those customers.
You’ll also want to use more conversational, long-tail keywords this year. Focusing on high-quality content that reflects search intent can improve your rankings, too.
If the SEO pro isn’t up-to-date with the latest trends, your ranking could drop.
Ready to boost your SEO ranking? Avoid these 12 mistakes when hiring an SEO consultant, first. With these tips, you can find a qualified expert ready to help improve your rankings!
Eager to get started? Contact us today! We’re happy to help!