SEO Consultant: 10 Questions You Must Ask

85% of retailers claim search marketing is their most effective customer acquisition tactic. By using search engine optimization (SEO), you can boost your online ranking and attract more people to your business.

Without SEO, however, you’ll fall behind and below the competition. Instead of letting them steal your customers, you can use SEO to become a big brand in your industry. 

SEO requires a lot of time, research, and know-how. By working with the top experts in the field, you can boost your ranking without wasting time or money. However, you need to know how to find the best potential SEO consultants, first. 

Here are 10 questions you should ask when interviewing SEO experts. By asking these questions, you can make sure you have the best search engine optimization team on the job. Start searching with these 10 tips! 

1. What’s Your SEO Approach?

Before you hire anyone, it helps to know what you’re paying for. 

Ask the consultants how they plan on improving your search engine rankings. They should start by developing a well-thought-out strategy with your business in mind. 

No two industries are the same. Every niche has its own pool of customers, too. Since those customers differ, your SEO approach needs to as well.

Otherwise, your content will fail to attract people to your website. After all, your customers are the ones you’re trying to appeal to.

Before hiring anyone, ask about their strategy. They should start by learning everything they can about your business. Then, they should research your customers as well as which keywords your customers use during a search. 

They’ll then use their research to build a content marketing strategy. 

Types of SEO

As you interview different consultants, ask about the different SEO services they offer. You’ll need four different SEO services to make sure your site is fully optimized:

  • On-page SEO
  • Off-page SEO
  • Technical SEO
  • Local SEO

Local SEO will help you appeal to customers nearby. In the United States alone, there are about 7 billion unique local searches every month. Many of these searches end with an in-store visit within 24 hours of the search.

Focusing on local customers will help you attract more people to your business. 

If the expert you’re interviewing doesn’t mention any of these services, keep looking.  

2. How Have You Helped Previous Clients?

Next, ask if the SEO experts have worked with anyone in your industry before. How did they help? What changes did the company experience in website visits, lead generation, and sales?

If they haven’t worked within your industry, inquire about their other clients.

Then, ask to see case studies, testimonials, or other proof of their success. Asking for past references can also help. When you speak to other business owners, ask if the consultants were professional and if they would hire the team again. 

Speaking with other clients can help you learn about the company from someone who was once in your shoes. 

3. How Do You Create Content?

Content marketing is an essential component of your SEO strategy. When you speak with potential SEO consultants, make sure they’ll create this high-quality content for you. Otherwise, you’ll have more work on your hands than expected. 

What kind of content do they create? Are they capable of producing multi-modal content, such as videos, podcasts, and blogs? Mixing up your content formats can help you appeal to a broader audience.

If they don’t create content and optimize that content for SEO, keep looking. 

4. What’s Your Link Building Strategy?

Links help give your search engine rankings a boost. Otherwise, Google won’t see the value you’re offering readers. 

Your content should include links from popular websites that are relevant to your industry. Using links from other authorities will make you look like an authority in your industry, too. Google’s bots will look for these links when it crawls and indexes your content.

Does the SEO team have a link-building strategy? Can they post guest blogs for you on high-authority sites to attract more readers? Ask about their link-building process and make sure you’re not paying for those links. 

5. How Do You Integrate Branding?

Your brand helps you stand out from other businesses in your industry. Otherwise, you’ll look like a copy of everyone else.

Ask your potential SEO consultants how they plan on integrating your brand within the content. For example, they should consider your unique voice, tone, and personality. Otherwise, customers will fail to associate your content, website, and social media as a single entity.

As they create content, your visual brand should appear as well. That includes your logo, color palette, fonts, and imagery. If they’re incapable of integrating your brand, it could impact your brand awareness strategy. 

6. What Tools Do You Use?

The best SEO experts use tools to strengthen their SEO strategy. The tools an expert uses can help you differentiate between white hat or black hat SEO experts. For example, stay away from anyone using SE Nuke or Xrumer.

Instead, look for SEO experts who use tools like SEMRush, Ahrefs, Google Keyword Planner, and Google Trends. 

7. What Trends are Impacting SEO Right Now?

Make sure to discuss the latest SEO trends and how they impact search engine rankings. These trends change throughout the year as Google continues making changes to its search algorithm

Voice Search

For example, how are they responding to the new voice search trend? More people are relying on voice assistants like Google, Alexa, and Siri for answers. In fact, voice search will account for 50% of all searches by the end of the year. 

Over 35.6 million Americans use a voice-activated device at least once a month. If you’re not optimizing your content for these searches, you can’t help consumers. When someone else provides the answers they need, your would-be customers will take their business elsewhere.  

Voice search is changing how people phrase their queries. This, in turn, could impact the keywords you rank for. To respond to this trend, Google’s BERT algorithm update is relying more on artificial intelligence and machine learning to determine search intent.

Search Intent

Search intent is another important trend that’s impacting search engine rankings. What are your customers looking for when they search online? What are they expecting before they click on your website?

Your potential SEO consultants should know how to determine and rank for search intent to benefit your business. If they aren’t keeping up with these SEO trends, your rankings could plummet.

Zero-Click Searches/Position Zero

Search intent and voice search are also causing an increase in zero-click searches. Google is now displaying more information as featured snippets.

These snippets appear at the top of a search engine results page as summaries, bullet points, videos, and more. 

Instead of clicking to your website, people are reading the results at the top of search pages (“position zero). This results in a zero-click search. Your SEO consultant can adjust your content using formatting and schemas to help you rank for these searches.

Reaching the top of a search page will help you build brand awareness. Even if people don’t click on your website, they’ll still see your business name and know you helped them. As a result, you’ll build your online reputation as a helpful resource, too!

The best SEO consultants will keep up with these trends and know how to adjust your SEO strategy accordingly.

8. How Much Will This Cost?

Before you choose one consultant from the best, make sure to discuss the contract. How much are you willing to pay for top-notch SEO services? For many companies, the cost of SEO services is worth a high return on investment. 

SEO helps you attract more people to your website. An SEO company that also offers web development and design can even improve your site for lead generation. Then, you can gather more leads and convert those visitors into paying customers. 

Outsourcing your SEO needs will give you access to professionals, tools, and expertise. You’re paying for their dedication to your SEO, allowing you to focus your attention where it belongs: on your customers.

Make sure you get a good understanding of what you’re paying for before signing a contract. 

9. How Often Will We Talk?

It’s important to find an SEO expert who understands the importance of communicating. If they’re difficult to get ahold of regularly, how will you know your SEO campaigns are working. 

Ask potential SEO consultants how often they’ll contact you about your campaigns. Will you receive reports in an email or only a quick “everything is going great” over the phone? Make sure you’re receiving proof of how your campaigns are progressing regularly. 

You’ll want to keep track of any changes they’re making to your website, too. 

10. How Do You Measure Success?

When researching different SEO experts, ask about how they determine success. Which benchmarks are they following?

They should align these benchmarks with your marketing goals. For example, let’s say you want to increase website traffic by 15% this month. The SEO expert should have a report that shows your traffic growth month-over-month. 

Don’t trust a company that promises a “#1 ranking” from the get-go. Instead, they should have realistic expectations of how they can help your company succeed long-term.

Start Your SEO Off Strong: 10 Questions to Ask Potential SEO Consultants

Ready to boost your SEO and reel in new leads? By asking these 10 questions, you narrow down potential SEO consultants to find the one able to help you succeed. 

Let’s get started? Contact us today to develop a winning SEO strategy.

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