SEO How to Hire An SEO Expert
The actual expert approach to hiring an SEO specialist
Do you need to hire an SEO specialist to help you expand your company? AKL technologies is where you’ll find them.
If you’ve arrived here, you most likely require, or believe you require, the services of an SEO specialist for your organisation. You can also refer to them as an SEO specialist or SEO supplier, but whatever the SEO industry refers to them as, you need someone who can produce SEO results.
You’ve come to the right location, which is fortunate for you.
Credo has assisted over 4,500 organisations in finding the perfect SEO expert consultant or agency for their business over the last few years.
Now we’re going to share what we’ve learned with you.
You Can Teach Yourself SEO
Understanding SEO is the first step in hiring a competent SEO. If something goes wrong because you didn’t educate yourself, it’s all your fault, just like owning a business. If you think you’ll need to engage an SEO specialist, start by learning some SEO basics.
Read the Beginners Guide to SEO, learn about links and why they matter (including the distinction between a good and a bad link), and why content matters for SEO. You could even sign up for a structured course like DistilledU.
Then check at your Google Analytics to see where your visitors are going on your site and, as a result, where you might already be ranking. Then use SEMrush to discover which keywords you and your competitors are ranking for:
After you’ve mastered the fundamentals of SEO, talk to some individuals about your idea. Because no two businesses are same, don’t assume that SEO is a one-size-fits-all undertaking.
Look for someone who has worked on a site similar to yours.
As previously stated, SEO is not a one-size-fits-all endeavour. The effectiveness of it, the time it will take to have a meaningful impact on your business, and the competitiveness of the search results page (SERP) landscape will all be determined by your company and industry. If you’re a local dentist, for example, you’ll want to aim to get into the map listings for your queries (for example, [denver paediatric dentist]), but if you’re an international travel marketplace, you’ll be up against a lot of large brands like Hotwire, AirBNB, and others.
As a result, you’ll need someone who knows your industry and what it takes to rank competitively. I wouldn’t recommend employing someone who has worked on SEO for a direct competitor of yours because you’ll be better off in the long run with someone who has new ideas. If you hire the same SEO expert as your competition, you’ll be at best a copycat as they go on to work with the next SEO expert.
Just so you know, they should also consider and be familiar with SEO techniques that have worked for other businesses similar to yours, as well as crawling, indexing, and assessing search engine results, and then communicating them in simple terms.
Instead, consider at a higher level than your unique business kind (let’s keep the dental theme going). Instead, seek for someone that has a lot of experience with SEO for small businesses in your area. If you have numerous dental practises, you should search for someone who has done multi-location SEO for local businesses such as law firms, auto dealers, and other similar enterprises.
If you want a few pointers on where to start from an SEO perspective:
- Perform a site search on Google for your domain and note the number of pages they claim are indexed. For instance, consider akltechnologies.com. I’d just type in site:akltechnologies.com and note that Google has roughly 554 results.
- Use SEMrush to check your domain’s organic traffic and backlink count.
- Get a free on-page SEO audit of 25 of your site’s pages with this page auditor.
SEMrush isn’t flawless; Akltechnologies.com receives far more than 405 organic hits per month. It is, however, a starting point for a discussion with a competent SEO expert or firm.
Because SEO is not a one-size-fits-all solution, you should look for someone who has extensive expertise working with websites of your size. SEO for a global marketplace with tens of millions of pages in Google’s index differs significantly from SEO for a local dentist. The plans are distinct, the techniques are distinct, and the outcomes are distinct. You’ll need someone who has experience with websites of your magnitude.
Understand the distinctions between a consultant and an agency.
Over the years of monitoring and assisting businesses in hiring SEO specialists and agencies, I’ve seen far too many organisations begin by hiring the wrong type of provider. I’m sure you already know the difference between the two, but just to be clear:
- A solo SEO consultant (also known as a freelancer) is a person who works on their own to assist businesses enhance their organic traffic, focusing mostly on strategy and recommendations. The most of the time, a lone consultant will not be putting the tactics they offer or the adjustments they discover during an audit into action.
- An agency is made up of a variety of employees, including strategists, account managers, writers, and others. In larger agencies, channel specialists (such as SEO or pay-per-click) are common, as are teams to implement some of the tactics (such as developers or designers), as well as junior staff and account managers.
- The sort that is best for you is determined by the capabilities you have or can hire at your company, such as developers.
- While you’re figuring out all of the above, keep an eye out for the terms strategy and services.
- Sometimes in the SEO field, these two names are used interchangeably, or companies do not do a good job of identifying themselves as one or the other (SEOs are often not very strong at branding). However, understanding the differences between the two and choosing the correct one for your company is frequently the most crucial aspect of the entire hiring process.
- Understanding the difference between a consultant and an agency, as well as hiring the correct one for your company, is frequently the most crucial element of the recruiting process.
- If you don’t have developers or designers on staff and don’t know who you can trust to recruit,
- you’ll want to look for a full-service firm that can help you with both these services and your entire strategy. If you need them and employ an individual consultant, you may get a lot of wonderful advice, but implementing them will be difficult, and you will not see the forward progress your business requires.
- The same is true if you have whole teams working for you internally. Many large companies I’ve dealt with in the past have grossly undervalued the value of having a consultant with expertise working across teams, talking with developers, and building business cases to assist get people allocated to projects and work completed and put live onsite. An individual consultant can be a terrific choice for larger firms when hiring for a specialised channel like SEO.
Learn how to ask the right questions (and how to ask them).
You’re ready to start chatting with possible providers now that you’ve educated yourself on SEO (and maybe even tried to apply some of it yourself to learn the ropes), determined which type of SEO professional (or agency) you need to speak with, and determined what type of site you have.
You must ask the correct questions in order to rapidly qualify in (or out) providers who are or are not a good fit for you.
When it comes to choosing a consultant or agency, the most common error I see firms make is neglecting the provider’s compatibility with their working style.
Even if the consultant or agency is the best in the world, if their preferred method of working does not align with your company’s, you will face turbulence and tension right away.
At minimum you need to be on the same page with:
- Reporting and how often you will receive updates, as well as what those updates will say
- Frequency and type of communication concerning work being done
- If a minimum contract is required. While a three or six-month contract is legal and frequently necessary to see genuine effects, anything more than that can be risky.
- Whether they will carry out the work (“services”) themselves or will you have to engage someone to do it.
- Their charges, how they bill, and how long they require payment after billing. If you have Net-60 terms (meaning you don’t pay invoices until two months after they arrive), you should expect to negotiate conditions or have them negotiate back.
- If you don’t agree on any of the above, your relationship will be difficult and unlikely to last (or possibly even get off the ground at all).
Find out who you’ll be working with.
- Every agency is different in terms of how it operates and how it is structured. I’ve never encountered two companies that function precisely the same in my eight years of professional SEO/digital marketing experience and a handful of years dealing directly with agencies. This is due to the fact that the agency/consulting firm can be successful in a variety of ways, and the jobs that exist are usually determined by the founder or founders’ prior experience, respective strengths, and passions.
- You must also be aware of yourself and your working style. If you work rapidly and want to make decisions quickly, you’ll be irritated if you’re only able to communicate with an account manager who probably doesn’t know much about marketing and has to transmit questions and answers between you and the person who is actually performing the work.
- However, if you trust the agency/consultant and don’t require a lot of attention after a while, and your campaigns just run and make you money, you might appreciate having an account manager who checks in with you semi-frequently and ensures that you receive campaign result reports on a monthly basis.
- The simplest approach to find out who you’ll be working with directly is to inquire during the agency’s first courtship process. Inquiring about how they communicate with clients, how often they communicate, how soon you can expect responses, and who you can contact as your primary point of contact will reveal a lot.
- Another question I enjoy hearing from companies is, “How many clients does each consultant have at any one time?” This indicates whether they are a client factory or a high-touch consulting/strategy firm. A basic rule of thumb is that the more customers a consultant or strategist works with, the more likely you are to communicate with an account manager rather than the person conducting your job directly.
Who will be responsible for the work?
Many firms refuse to deal with an agency, particularly a large agency, since they believe they will be assigned to a young member of the team rather than the senior and more skilled members of the team. Unfortunately, this is frequently the case. Businesses choose to collaborate with a certain agency after hearing the founder or a senior executive speak at a conference or seeing their material, such as an article or an interview, published in a widely read industry publication. However, the reality is that 9 times out of 10, that person that wowed you will not even touch your project (there are exceptions to be sure, but they are few and far between).
So, during the courting process, inquire about who will be conducting the actual work on your project. Inquire about their experience, customer triumphs and disappointments, and their passions. If you are uncomfortable with them, tell the salesperson (or a more senior person if one is involved in the sales process) and have an open discussion with them.
This is why many businesses choose to work with a highly experienced single consultant. When you need a lot of various channels and services, this can be difficult, but at least with a solo consultant, you know who is performing the work (though you should ask if they sometimes use freelancers to get certain work done).
Get them to set your expectations
If you’re not a marketer, you probably have no idea what to expect in terms of how long it will take for your agency or expert to deliver results. Inquire about their methods, including how long it often takes to be set up in their systems, the work that must be completed before campaigns can go live, and how long this typically takes. You’ll also need to sort out any dependencies with them, such as writing content or conducting research before launching campaigns or commencing work together.
The greatest firms and consultants strive to under-promise and over-deliver on their promises. They want you to have reasonable expectations about what you can expect to see and when, as well as when you can tell whether the strategy is working or needs to be rethought.
Too many potentially outstanding client/agency partnerships have been snuffed out or never had a chance to succeed because neither party’s expectations were met. So make sure that doesn’t happen to your project.
Obtain client referrals/references
You’re almost ready to sign at this point. You’ve learnt a little about SEO on your own, considered whether a solo expert consultant or an agency would be best for you, asked a lot of questions, figured out who you’ll be communicating and working with, and set your expectations.
I always recommend that you try to speak with a few of their current and prior clients at this time to gain their feedback on your firm. If they don’t have any previous clientele with whom you may speak, that’s a significant red flag.
I recommend contacting these references by email first, and then calling them for even a fifteen-minute conversation. It’s remarkable how much better feedback you can get over the phone versus over email because you can ask follow-up questions and the feedback loop is lot shorter.
These are the questions you should ask those references when you chat with them:
- What is it that (agency/consultant) is truly world-class at?
- Where does (agency/consultant) have difficulties?
- What was the most enjoyable aspect of collaborating with (agency/consultant)?
- What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about working with (agency/consultant) on a project?
It’s not easy to find an SEO specialist or agency. I’ve seen a lot of people attempt and fail to recruit the correct person, but I’ve also seen relationships that are seamless and effective on both sides when thorough research is done.
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