The 5 Best Questions to Ask an SEO Specialist Before You Hire Them
What’s the cost of doing business? How about the cost of doing business poorly?
Here’s a revelation: “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”
Can you grasp the meaning behind Red Adair’s words?
It’s why you’re reading this. You’re at the point where it’s time to get serious about needing help in the SEO department.
It’s not a new concept. About one-third of companies outsource some part of sales and marketing.
Finding An SEO Specialist
Here are a few suggestions to guide you in the right direction. To find a high-quality SEO specialist put these 5 at the top of your list.
1) Let’s Keep It Real, Please
The question to ask: How soon can I expect to rank at the top of SERPs?
Any SEO company guaranteeing to get your website to the top of search engines lives in a fantasy world. Leave them in their happy place of rainbows and unicorns. Back away slowly. Then go find an SEO specialist who resides on planet Earth.
Not only is it ridiculous to guarantee a top ranking position, it’s difficult. To the tune of almost impossible. A reputable optimization company knows this. They will not make bold guarantees they cannot deliver on.
Yes, of course, it is possible to rank at the top of search engines in a niche. But the sites that are at the top have been working at it for years. There’s no such thing as overnight success in the SEO world.
2) What’s the Plan, Man?
The question to ask: What is your basic outline for an SEO strategy?
There are three main categories to include in any successful SEO strategy:
The search engine optimization piece that primarily focuses on content. This includes the quality of the content, plus how well it’s optimized for target keywords.
The search engine optimization piece concerned with link building. Inbound links from trusted and authoritative sites are a big ranking factor. There are many sources for quality links. How does this company earn them?
The search engine optimization piece that works behind the website scenes. This deals with the structure of a site, how well it’s indexed, and image optimization. It also involves tackling the all-important site speed quest.
If an SEO consultant isn’t open about their techniques, beware.
3) White Hat All the Way
The question to ask: What specific guidelines do you follow for your SEO strategies?
Here’s the point where an SEO consultant should refer to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. If they don’t, tip your white hat and walk out the door.
A good SEO specialist doesn’t need to resort to shady tactics. Google is very specific and transparent about their rules. Their “Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide” (all 31 pages of it) lays it all out.
Google established these guidelines to safeguard their ultimate goal: a good user experience. It’s the singular purpose of all those Google algorithms you hear about.
They’ve gotten really good at finding the cheaters.
The consequences can be quite expensive. As in, erased from the face of the planet Google.
4) T-R-A-C-K Spells Success
The question to ask: How will you inform me about my SEO campaign progress?
A breakdown of monthly activities should be standard in the reports you receive. The very basics of a monthly report should include:
- Link report
- Search traffic reports
- Next-step conversions
- Traffic referral sources
- Rankings for designated keywords
A good company will ask if you have Google Analytics already set up. And will offer that as part of their service if you don’t.
Besides the numbers, you should expect status reports on the actual website. Changes to site structure and new content created are things you need to be aware of.
5) Any SEO Specialist Who’s a True Player Has a Little Black Book
The question to ask: Do you have a list of past and current clients to share?
What’s the best way to judge whether an SEO consultant knows their stuff? Check out what they’ve accomplished for other businesses.
Ask for a brief list of former and current clients (with contact info). As with any references, these will help you gauge work quality. You also want to be able to verify the SEO specialist actually did the job.
These customers may not have exact numbers to share. But they should know if they saw positive changes in the form of leads or conversions. You’re looking for them to attest to the effectiveness of the SEO expert they used.
The competition to find a top spot in search engine rankings is intense. But in today’s world-gone-digital, SEO is a basic requirement for growing your business.
If you can find an SEO company that has good answers to the above questions and is affordable, that’s perfect. But don’t hire them based solely on what they charge. Search engine optimization is an investment, not a cost.
If you’re ready to start building a comprehensive, customized SEO strategy, just say “No” to amateurs. Your professional is it’s a click away.