SEO (search engine optimization) is a major component of your overall digital marketing strategy. It can help with:
• Getting your website to rank higher in organic search results
• Driving traffic to your site
• Increasing sales to grow your business
If you don’t have a digital marketing background, you will likely need to hire an SEO consultant who can optimize your website for higher search engine rankings and conversions. That’s why you need to ensure that you are hiring the right person for the job. In short, here are the most important questions to ask a potential SEO consultant.
1. When will we begin to see noticeable results?
Since you are planning to use a portion of your digital marketing budget to hire an SEO consultant to improve your site’s organic rankings, then you need to have an idea of when you can expect to see some results. Oftentimes it takes at least three to six months before changes made to a website begin to impact its rankings on Google. However, if a potential consultant claims that they can get you “overnight results,” then you should be highly skeptical of their promises.
A good, reputable SEO consultant will be able to set realistic goals that they are capable of achieving.
2. What are your fees?
Money is another important consideration when it comes to hiring an SEO consultant. Therefore, you need to be sure to ask about their fees to determine whether you have enough money in your digital marketing budget to afford their services. While many consultants charge by the hour, some charge fixed-rate amounts based on the scope of the project. Furthermore, you should get quotes from at least three different consultants to get an idea of what the going rate is for SEO services.
However, you should also realize that the cheapest rate isn’t necessarily going to get you the best results for your business.
3. What type of contract/budget options do you offer?
Once you know their price, you need to ask about their contract and budget options. For example, some consultants might allow you to purchase their services on-demand, while others will want you to sign a long-term contract. Furthermore, many top SEO consultants charge retainer fees to keep their services, in addition to what they charge hourly or per project.
4. What type of SEO tactics do you use to improve website rankings?
A good, reputable consultant will only use good, reputable (white hat) SEO tactics to improve a website’s organic search rankings over time. However, if you get the feeling that a potential consultant might engage in unethical digital marketing practices–practices that could get your website penalized or even banned by Google, then you shouldn’t hire them.
Make sure you ask potential consultants whether they adhere to Google’s SEO best practices.
5. What will you need to succeed?
You want to do everything that you can to set your SEO consultant up for success. After all, your business depends upon their success. That’s why you should ask potential consultants what they need from you. For example, they might need access to your Google Search Console and Google Analytics accounts to analyze your search engine traffic. They might also tell you that you need to invest in high-quality content to help your website rank higher.
Therefore, you need to make sure that you will be able to provide them with whatever it is they need to succeed.
6. Do you have any references who can attest to your work?
Lastly, before you invest a sizable chunk of your digital marketing budget in an SEO consultant, you need to ensure that they can deliver on their promises. One of the best ways to verify their claims is to ask for references and examples of their work from previous clients. A good consultant should be able to provide you with at least three good references or client testimonials.
In short, selecting an SEO consultant to hire is a big decision. You will want to know when you can expect your investment to begin to pay off, as well as the size of that investment (what they charge). Be sure to ask about different contract and budget options to see which one best meets your needs. Furthermore, ask potential consultants what kind of SEO tactics they use, as well as what they will need from you to succeed. Also, don’t forget to ask about references.