Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the single most important thing you can add to your website to increase traffic and online sales. Hiring an SEO consultant could help you expand your business faster this year! It is the process of improving your website content and presentation to feature on the first page of search engine results for given keywords. According to Brightedge, 68% of all online experiences begin with a search engine while 53.3% of all website traffic comes from unpaid search results.
Neglecting SEO could be costing you hundreds of dollars daily. But SEO is time-consuming and requires specialized knowledge to get the best results. Business owners may not have the time or knowledge required to properly optimize their website.
If you don’t have an SEO expert on your team, then it’s best to hire an SEO consultant. You will earn your investment back through increased traffic, leads, and sales conversions. Keep reading for the 7 key steps you should follow when choosing an SEO consultant
1. Clarify Your SEO Goals
Before hiring an SEO Consultant, you and your team should clarify your SEO goals. Having a vague goal like “increase organic search results” will lead to mediocre results from your consultant. Assess your business website to see what needs intervention.
Do you need a completely new website? Do you want to increase online product sales? Is your bounce rate too high or your conversion rate too low? Perhaps you need help with growing your social media following?
Knowing your exact goals will help you identify the right consultant for your business. This is because you will be able to choose one that has specialized in the skillset you need. Do use the SMART goal setting system as this will make it easier to measure the performance of your consultant.
2. Investigate What Industry and Services They Specialize In
Part of the process for choosing an SEO consultant must be to check their industry and service specialization. If you are in the home improvement industry, it may be best to go with a consultant that has a lot of experience doing SEO for your industry. Just make sure that they don’t have your direct competitors as clients. You can find out if a consultant’s experience will be of value to you by checking their portfolio and case studies.
Another important step is to check what other services the consultant offers. SEO goes hand in hand with other services like web development, content creation, and social media marketing. You may get a good deal if you hire a consultant that offers other complementary services.
3. Check Their References and Reviews
The best way to choose an SEO Consultant is through word of mouth reviews. If a partnering firm or business recommends a consultant to your company, they are more likely to deliver the required results. You can also do a google search or LinkedIn search for consultants with the skills you need. Check the reviews and references on their pages to establish how good they are.
4. Review Their SEO Metrics
90% of internet users don’t look beyond the first page of search results, so you must rank on the first page to get traffic. SEO specialists know what metrics to use to change this and show the effectiveness of their campaigns. Ask the consultant for metrics that prove the effectiveness of their previous campaigns. They can also tell you which Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) you can use to measure their performance if hired. Some of the popular SEO metrics include conversion rates, keyword rankings, bounce rate, and page loading times.
Be wary of consultants that claim to know secret tips that will guarantee first page rankings. They often use banned SEO tactics such as keyword stuffing which can get your website demoted by search engines. Successful consultants will have deep knowledge and experience of how search engines work. They will also commit to make constant changes to your website because Google algorithms change almost weekly.
5. Check If Their Ethics and Values Match Your Company’s
Another factor to consider before hiring a consultant is whether their ethics and values match yours. Some consultants use cutthroat tactics to achieve set goals. This may or may not be in line with how you do business. Consultants may also have very different political or religious views from you and your team which could cause tension down the line.
To avoid disagreements and abandoned projects, it is better to find out the ethics and morals of a consultant before hiring them. Follow them on social media, read their blogs, and sign up for their newsletter to find out what their moral stance is.
6. Analyze Their Fees And Contracts
Your SEO budget is another key factor that will guide you when choosing an SEO consultant for your business. Make sure you have a set budget before you start the hiring process. You can then check the fees and contracts of potential consultants to see if they are within your budget and contractual allowances. Remember to compare SEO Consulting services from at least 3 consultants to get the best deal possible.
7. Ask For A Consultation Meeting
Another step that can help you choose the right consultant is to have a free consultation meeting with the consultants. Besides consultations, many SEO Consultants also offer free website audits to showcase how they can assist your company.
A consultation meeting can help you assess how well the consultant understands your company’s needs. You and your team can also establish if you have a rapport with the consultant. For instance, it is important that their communication style matches that of your team and that they can explain complex SEO data and tools to you.
How To Choose An SEO Consultant
Choosing the right SEO consultant can make a big difference to your bottom-line. 90% of internet users don’t look beyond the first page of search results, so you must rank on the first page to get traffic. A skilled consultant will increase your revenue and brand awareness while cutting down on your advertising budget.
Our 7 steps will help guide you in making the right choice. Be sure to use SEO monitoring tools to measure the effectiveness of the SEO consultant that you hire. For more tips on SEO for your business website, read the rest of our blog.