Finding a search engine optimization expert – one who will be in it in for the long haul – is not a quick and easy process. Having worked in the industry for over 10 years and built a successful white label seo company, I thought I would share my tried and true tips for hiring seo freelancers.
Where to Find SEO Experts
Expect to put in a significant amount of time during the discovery stage.
As more and more SEO education courses pop up online, the talent pool becomes more and more diluted.
You’re unlikely to find SEO experts on popular job boards, they tend to hide out in group chats and forums.
Here are three places to look when hiring for a search engine optimization consultant:
- Ask Your Inner Circle
Start by asking trusted colleagues for recommendations.
LinkedIn and Facebook Business Groups are a great starting point. Use a combination of public status updates and private messages.
- Try Freelancing Platforms
Upwork allows clients to interview, hire and work with freelancers and agencies through the company’s platform.
The platform includes a real-time chat aimed at reducing the time it takes to find, vet and hire freelancers.
- Browse SEO Blogs
Reading professional SEO blogs will help you match based on the type of work you need done.
Browse Larkin SEO’s blog to identify blog post topics that relate to the type of work that you want to be done.
How to Select an SEO Expert
To select a quality seo expert you have to be fairly knowledgeable.
Knowing what questions to ask and how to spot black hat techniques is essential.
The more educated you are, the more likely you are to find the right SEO consultant for your company.
To get you started in the right direction here are 3 traits a seasoned SEO expert has.
3 Traits of a Reputable SEO Consultant
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A good SEO consultant will integrate herself into your marketing department as much as possible because this allows her to identify unique opportunities for your company to grow organic search traffic, leads and/or sales.
Without knowledge of these goals, it’s hard for both you and the SEO consultant to measure success.
A good SEO consultant will educate you and your staff on Google quality guidelines and seo best practices.
It’s important for you and your staff to understand the recommendations that your SEO consultant is making.
She should provide links to source documentation that back up recommendations, and cite case studies that show why specific tactics work (and are generally accepted as “safe” or white label tactics).
A good SEO consultant will be honest about the results you can expect.
Many websites simply don’t have the domain authority to rank for highly competitive keywords.
A quality SEO consultant will be honest and upfront about this, and help to identify less competitive keyword phrases that your company can rank competitively for.
The key here is that your SEO consultant helps you target the keywords that are most relevant and most rank-able for your business.
She will also be realistic about how long it will take to achieve results.
SEO takes time.
Be wary of any consultant who suggests that you can rank highly in a short amount of time.
Questions to Ask an SEO Expert
Now that you’ve weeded through the potential hires, it is important to know the right questions to ask before getting a proposal.
Listen for confidence in the consultant’s voice, details of SEO processes and specific examples that backup their claims.
Here are 5 questions any SEO expert should be able to answer.
- “Do you have any conflicting clients with my business?”
Do NOT overlook this important question. You don’t want to be stuck in a work situation where there is a conflict of interest.
- “When can I expect to see results?”
Organic traffic takes time. It generally takes three to six months to see noticeable organic search traffic growth.
- “Do you guarantee rankings?”
This is a test. If a consultant guarantees rankings, end the conversation.
SEO professionals will each have our own theories and tactics that have worked previously but no one has control over the search engines or algorithms.
- “What sort of applications and processes do you have?”
Knowing the processes and communication styles up front is important.
Your SEO partner should be able to explain how they plan on achieving results.
The applications and processes need to be familiar to you and your staff.
- “What aspects of SEO do you focus on?”
A SEO expert can handle a full spectrum of search optimization: technical, content, link building, etc.
How to Hire an SEO Consultant
Once you have identified an SEO professional that you would like to work with, determine the following:
- Start with an initial six-month contract conduct an audit, have a strategy created, train your staff, and implement recommendations. Six months is a good time frame to gauge how well things are working.
- Include a cancellation policy. It’s important to have an exit strategy in case your business experiences financial setbacks that force you to cut your budget.
- Agree on payment terms that work for both of you. Many consultants request upfront payment so they can focus on a client’s SEO campaign rather than chasing down payments.
How Much Does an SEO Consultant Cost?
According to Credo, expert SEO freelancers charge between $100-$200/hour. Majority of SEO agencies in the United States charge $150/hour.
Why Hire an SEO Consultant
Search engine optimization is too complex for a company to handle in-house without an SEO expert on staff.
Many well-intentioned agencies pour hours of effort into mass amounts of content that never convert.
Your content marketing staff is at a big disadvantage without an intricate knowledge of how search engines work and how users search.
Considering that Google is the #1 traffic source for most companies – the cost of not having an SEO expert on hand is too great to ignore.
Finding, selecting and hiring the right SEO consultant will help to ensure that your company makes the most of this top traffic source.
Keep the conversation going by sending Larkin SEO a message below.
In order to provide each company the best search engine optimization services possible we only partner with one industry leader per location.
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