What to Know Before Hiring an SEO Consultant

Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for every online business today. You need a solid SEO strategy if you want people to find you on Google and other search engines.

You need an expert on your team to get the most from your SEO efforts. However, you may not find or afford an in-house SEO professional. In this case, seek the help of an SEO consultant. A consultant can give your strategy what it needs to get the best results.

Here we’ll explore what SEO consultants are, what they do, and how to find the right expert.

What is an SEO Consultant?

Like other consultants, SEO consultants are experts in the marketing industry. They can analyze their clients’ websites and determine how to improve their SEO. In the process, they’ll make informed recommendations for optimization. They’ll also help develop an effective strategy and put it into action.

The following are some of the specific duties of an SEO consultant:

  • Put together and integrate a solid SEO strategy

  • Perform keyword research to find relevant keywords

  • Determine which key performance indicators (KPIs) to track

  • Look for the best opportunities to boost SEO performance

  • Analyze performance and build accurate, comprehensive reports

  • Form a strong relationship with clients

  • Assist other teams, such as marketing departments, in further improving SEO

  • Follow the most recent SEO trends and put them into practice

SEO consultants will help with every aspect of SEO, including on-page and off-page SEO. With the help of a dependable consultant, your SEO campaigns will thrive.

You might consider hiring an in-house expert or an SEO agency, but sometimes a consultant is best. The key is finding the right consultant with plenty of experience and expertise.

What to Look for in an SEO Consultant

It’s important not to hire just any SEO consultant you find. Some professionals are better than others, as with any other industry.

Not sure what to look for in SEO consultant services? The following are some of the specific items to consider.

Focus on KPIs

A good SEO consultant will look at suitable KPIs. The KPIs in your SEO campaigns should apply to the goals you set.

For example, if your goal is to increase brand awareness, organic traffic would be one KPI to track. Others to help meet this goal would be search rankings and click-through rates.

Consultants can look at many other KPIs. For instance, a consultant may track your site’s bounce rate. This metric shows the rate at which people leave your website after visiting. A high bounce rate could reveal that your pages don’t contain relevant content. It could also mean that your content simply isn’t helpful enough.

Another critical KPI could include average session duration. You’ll want to ensure people who visit your web pages stay on them.

To help you manage your budget, consultants could also track return on investment (ROI).

Consultants will also have the tools necessary to track all relevant KPIs. In doing so, your SEO consultant will always be on top of your campaigns.

Recommends Projects to Help Hit Goals Quickly

SEO consultant services must also make the best recommendations to improve SEO. So, not only should they be effective, but they should help you hit your goals on time.

SEO can take a while to get results. Any true expert will tell you it can take months to achieve rankings. This is particularly the case when targeting competitive keywords with high volume.

SEO isn’t always difficult, though. There are some quick wins that you can use. An SEO consultant should know what these are and how to implement them.

Some projects that can help you achieve your SEO goals quicker could include:

  • Optimizing title tags

  • Adding structured data to show up for rich results

  • Optimizing images

  • Targeting low-competition but valuable keywords

  • Curating content and making necessary updates

Recommends the Most Effective Projects

Your SEO consultant services should provide recommendations for the most effective projects. The best projects to focus on could vary based on your specific needs.

Your SEO consultant may decide it’s best to focus on on-page SEO. This could entail creating and optimizing high-quality content on certain web pages. It may also involve interlinking, optimizing images, subheaders, and other elements.

In other cases, focus on off-page SEO. Often, this entails getting backlinks to other websites. For example, you might submit a guest post to an industry blog with high traffic. This post could include an article that goes back to your website. Google would see this as a sign that your website is reputable. As a result, the backlink could help increase rankings.

Many potential projects can help meet your goals. Your consultant should be able to decide on the right ones for your business.

Uses Experience to Their Advantage

A good SEO consultant will have plenty of experience and use it to get results. Experienced experts will know the ins and outs of the SEO industry.

They’ll know what kinds of updates Google plans to make to its algorithm. They’ll know how to optimize for them.

SEO consultants will also stay up to date on the latest trends. They’ll know what works now and what no longer works. With this knowledge, they’ll be able to navigate the landscape to succeed with SEO.

Is Not Scared of Red on a Report

No SEO strategy is perfect, and your SEO consultant should understand this. An experienced consultant will generate accurate reports as needed. They’ll then look at the results to determine what’s doing well and what needs work.

The last thing your consultant should do is conceal blemishes on a report. Instead, they should walk you through any flaws and recommend the best course of action to take next. Taking these steps will help you get through certain issues. Over time, you’ll be able to perfect your strategies.

Understands the Development of Projects

Your SEO consultant will know what goes into each project. They’ll help determine what resources and budget you’ll need. Then they will go through the project’s steps from start to finish.

Depending on the project, there could be many steps involved. SEO consultant services shouldn’t leave you in the dark about them. Instead, look for services that go beyond making recommendations.

Answers Technical Questions

Many elements of SEO can get pretty technical. If you’re not well-versed in SEO, you might have some questions. A dependable SEO consultant will answer them.

A consultant with in-depth knowledge and experience will help you understand specific details. They’ll be able to put higher concepts into simpler terms and walk you through them. This can help you better understand your campaigns. You’ll also be able to learn more about SEO to equip you and your teams better.

Stays Honest Even When They Are Unsure

SEO consultants won’t always have the answers. If they always seem to, this could be a sign of dishonesty. A consultant is likely to encounter problems or areas that are unfamiliar. When they do, they should tell you the truth about it.

Your SEO consultant should admit to uncertainty but shouldn’t be afraid to dig deep. A good consultant will be eager to explore unfamiliar territory. They’ll be willing to identify specific issues and fix them. Any challenges they encounter are an opportunity to learn and gain more experience.

Never Gives Up on Projects That Matter

SEO consultants should stick to a plan if it’s important enough. They may look for alternatives to try, but they won’t give up on critical efforts.

If it seems like your strategy isn’t getting results, a good consultant will work through it. They’ll look for inefficiencies and smooth them out. They may also look for supporting tactics that help your core strategy.

Knows When to Call Meetings

Good communication is another key element to look for in an expert. Find a consultant who knows when to get in touch.

An SEO expert should schedule regular meetings to discuss plans and progress. They’ll set up a meeting monthly or even more frequently as needed. During these meetings, your consultant should go over every relevant detail. They’ll talk about areas of improvement and high performance.

Of course, your consultant shouldn’t only be available for meetings. As soon as you have questions, you should be able to reach out. This will keep you in the loop consistently.

5 Questions to Ask Before You Hire an SEO Consultant

Now that you know what to look for in a consultant, there are some questions you can ask to aid you in your search.

On the hunt for SEO consulting services, you may want to interview one or more consultants. This process will help you gauge whether they’re a good fit. They could also alert you to any red flags that might turn you away.

Here are some questions to ask an SEO consultant when interviewing them.

1. What results have you gotten?

Your SEO consultant must have some results to show you from past projects. Depending on your industry, ask about any past clients in the same or a similar vertical. Your consultant may then present a case study or testimonial.

The consultant should also be able to walk through what they did for their past clients. This will involve going into the reason behind the strategy and the final results.

How do you normally approach SEO strategies?

SEO consultant services need to provide personalized solutions for every client. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy.

Make sure your consultant is able to develop a plan that works for you. They may recommend specific goals, KPIs, and strategies to use.

What kinds of tools do you use?

A reliable SEO consultant will use the latest tools to get results. Ask about some of these tools. For instance, your consultant may use specific tools for keyword research and analytics. A few potential tools could include Google’s Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Google Analytics.

The more equipped your consultant, the more likely they will be to stay on top of SEO campaigns.

What will your reporting be like?

Ask about what you can expect to see on reports. Reports may include all relevant metrics and comparative data to help gauge performance.

Also, ask about how often your SEO consultant will meet with you and present reports. Your consultant should be willing and able to meet with you on a regular basis.

How many people will I work with?

Some consultants may provide one point of contact, while others might offer a team. Find out how many people you’ll be working with for your campaigns. Learn about each team member’s role and responsibilities.

Of course, some SEO consultants may work alone.

Find the Right SEO Consultant for Your Business

Knowing what to look for in an SEO consultant can help you make the right choice. If you’re in need of help with your SEO, good SEO consultant services can be invaluable.

Take the time to do some research and locate the best services available to get the best results. When interviewing an expert, don’t be afraid to ask important questions, either. Taking these steps will help you pin down the best services for your business.

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John Lincoln is CEO of Ignite Visibility, one of the top digital marketing agencies in the nation. Ignite Visibility is a 4x  Inc. 5,000 company. Ignite Visibility offers a unique digital marketing program tied directly to ROI with a focus on using SEO, social media, paid media, CRO, email, Amazon and PR to achieve results. Outside of Ignite Visibility, Lincoln is a frequent speaker and author of the books “Digital Influencer” and “The Forecaster Method.” Lincoln is consistently named one of the top digital marketers in the industry and was the recipient of the coveted Search Engine Land “Search Marketer of The Year” award. Lincoln has taught digital marketing and Web Analytics at the University of California San Diego since 2010, has been named as one of San Diego’s most admired CEO’s and a top business leader under 40. Lincoln has also made “SEO: The Movie” and “Social Media Marketing: The Movie.” His business mission is to help others through digital marketing.

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