Deciding to hire an SEO is a big decision that can
potentially improve your site and save time. Make sure to research the
potential advantages of hiring an SEO, as well as the damage that an
irresponsible SEO can do to your site.
Many SEOs and other agencies and consultants provide useful services for website owners, including:
- Review of your site content or structure
- Management of online business development campaigns
- Keyword research
- SEO training
- Expertise in specific markets and geographies
Before beginning your search for an SEO, it's a great idea to become an educated consumer and get familiar with how search engines work.
How to hire an SEO
If you're thinking about hiring an SEO, the earlier the better. A great time to hire is when you're considering a site redesign or planning to launch a new site. That way, you and your SEO can ensure that your site is designed to be search engine-friendly from the bottom up. However, a good SEO can also help improve an existing site.
Be committed to implementing the recommended changes. Making the changes recommended by an SEO takes time and effort; if you aren't going to take the time to make these changes, it's not worthwhile hiring a professional.
Interview your potential SEO.
- Some useful questions to ask an SEO include:
- Do you follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines?
- Do you offer any online marketing services or advice to complement your organic search business?
- What kind of results do you expect to see, and in what timeframe? How do you measure your success?
- What's your experience in my industry?
- What's your experience in my country/city?
- What's your experience developing international sites?
- What are your most important SEO techniques?
- How long have you been in business?
- How can I expect to communicate with you?
Will you share with me all the changes you make to my site, and provide detailed information about your recommendations and the reasoning behind them?
See if the SEO is interested in you and your business. If they're not interested, find someone who is. Your SEO should ask questions such as:
- What makes your business or service unique and valuable to customers?
- Who are your customers?
- How does your business make money, and how can search results help?
- What other advertising channels are you using?
- Who are your competitors?
Ask for a technical and search audit for your site to learn what they think needs to be done, why, and what the expected outcome should be. You'll probably have to pay for this. You will probably have to give them read-only access to your site on Search Console. (At this stage, don't grant them write access.)
Your prospective SEO should be able to give you realistic estimates of improvement, and an estimate of the work involved. If they guarantee you that their changes will give you first place in search results, find someone else.
While SEOs can provide clients with valuable services, some unethical SEOs have given the industry a black eye by using overly aggressive marketing efforts and attempting to manipulate search engine results in unfair ways. Practices that violate guidelines may result in a negative adjustment of your site's presence in Google, or even the removal of your site from our index.
When your SEO comes up with a set of recommendations for your site, ask them to corroborate these recommendations with a trusted source, such as a Search Console help page, Google Search Central blog entry, or Google-sanctioned response in the forum.
While you consider whether to go with an SEO, you may want to do some research on the industry. Google is one way to do that, of course and be careful!
Be sure to understand where the money goes.