Hiring an SEO consultant is in this digital age a must for any business intent on being found in the Internet’s search engines. This can seem like a daunting task as how do you know who is good and who is not?
Search engine optimisation is like any other industry and like in any other industry there are cowboys. But if you use the following 5 questions in your search you will quickly be able to sort out who is who and make your decision on who to hire.
Before you ask any questions you are going to need to find your SEO consultants to contact. To do this you need to use the search engines to ensure they can practice what they preach. I would suggest using Google, Yahoo and MSN as they are the top search engines and account for approximately 90% of all UK search traffic.
You should try searching the phrase “SEO consultant” and contacting the people that seem to keep coming up in the top results. If they can achieve these results for themselves they will know what they are doing and you will just need to ensure they are ethical.
Now you have a shortlist of contacts you can now make contact and ask the following questions to ensure they are ethical and the right choice for your business:
1. What past successes have you had?
Any good and experienced SEO consultant will be able to tell you of an abundance of top results and companies they have worked with. Many will be able to offer you case studies and client testimonials to back up what they claim. It is important to go through their results to ensure that they are correct and that the companies are in good positions on the search engines.
2. What will you do for me?
Search engine optimisation is an on page and off page process and should involve the optimisation of your website and link building to be effective. You should also consider if you would like the SEO consultant to make all site changes for you or whether you or your web team will be making the changes. If you are expecting them to make the changes ensure that the SEO consultant you choose can make the changes and is skilled to work with the technology your website is built on. You should also ensure is that they have adequate insurance to cover them in the very unlikely invent of a problem.
3. Can you guarantee results?
This question is a split question and there are actually 2 answers. The first is that no one can guarantee you top results or 1st place listings in the search engines because they do not own them. If someone says they can run a mile and move onto the next prospect because the likely hood is that they will be using un-ethical techniques to try. I do believe that a good seo consultant will be able to guarantee that they will be able to increase your current online presence.
4. What reports will I receive?
This will differ from one consultant to the next but you should expect a keyword report to start with, proposing the keywords you should target along with why and the search volume (this will ensure that the keywords you are targeting will actually yield traffic).Once you agree on the keywords and your website has been optimised you should receive a complete report detailing what has been done so you can sign of the project.
5. What happens next?
Search engine optimisation is an ongoing process of testing, measuring and optimising. It is not something that can be done once and left alone so you should expect to have a monthly program with your SEO consultant where they are optimising, link building and reporting on a monthly basis. This is crucial for long term growth and success so be wary of anyone telling you they will do it once and that is all you need.
The bottom line is if you have any reservations or you something doesn’t sound right with your potential SEO consultant don’t use them and keep on looking.