How To Hire an SEO Consultant

So, you're considering investing in SEO?  It's a smart move, so long as you find the right person.

We'll get into that in a minute but the first thing you may want to ask yourself is if you really need one.  Does any of this describe you?

  • You are running your business. Making the products, sourcing, shipping, being creative.  You know SEO is important but other than that, you haven't a clue. You want a partner that will create a strategy made just for you and your business.    
  • You know for a fact that SEO is going to be the #1 factor in your businesses success and your market is pretty saturated.
  • You are going through a redesign and want to make sure all your current SEO isn't lost.
  • You've had a website up for a while and think you're doing all the right things, but you still aren't getting the results you want.

Now, if you've said 'that's me!' to any of those don't go jumping the gun just yet.  Make sure this DOESN'T sound like you:

  • It's the holiday season and you need SEO fast.  Organic SEO isn't the right solution here. What you may want to look for is an SEM consultant (search engine marketing), which is paid advertising/pay per click and not what we're talking about here.  
  • You're just starting out.  If you fall into this category, start blogging and set up the basics. Once you've established your brand more and find you're still struggling with SEO, then consider a consultant.

So, now that that's out of the way, here's what I'd highly recommend if you're on the lookout for a rockstar SEO consultant.         

1. A Jane/jack of All Trades

** Pay attention here **  I think this is the most important of all.  A great SEO consultant will be a hybrid of all these:

  • Marketer - You need content marketing.  A great SEO consultant will work with you to drill down to who your target audience is, what they find valuable, what they're searching for, and where they are hanging out.  Based on that they'll be able to recommend partners and trust-worthy websites to help with your link-building and your keywords.
  • Designer - Visuals are extremely important to stand out.  Standing out means more engagement, engagement means more traffic, and more traffic is great for SEO.  A great SEO consultant will be capable of getting into Photoshop/Illustrator/Canvas and make basic, branded graphics for Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, etc.   OR at the very least, recommend that you do so.  :)
  • Copywriter - Copy matters, probably more so than you think.  While your SEO consultant doesn't necessarily need to be a master of words, they do need to know the basics.  From catchy headlines to understanding how to properly edit and format a blog post from something that's snoozeville to something that will actually get read.
  • Developer/Geek -  SEO is now less technical and more about content.  But having the vital technical parts setup is very important.  If you have an existing site, look for an SEO consultant that will provide you with a detailed, quality website audit.  And who can adjust page titles, open graph tags, canonical URLs, meta descriptions, 301 redirects, and image alt tags regardless of what platform you're using.
  • Social Media Coach - We all know the power of social media, so your SEO consultant should as well.  She/he will be able to recommend the best channels to reach your target audience, how to analyze your performance on those channels, how to manage all your social media, and what/when/how often to post. 

2. Understands Your Niche

Find all of the above AND this person understands your niche?  Then gobble that person up right away!  

While any SEO consultant will surely do their due diligence and understand your market (if they don't, run!), someone who is already in your market will have done some of the heavy lifting for you already.  

Do a little homework and make sure they check off everything on my list before signing on.  

3. roi > High Ranking SERPS

Your bottom line is what matters at the end of the day right?  I mean, it's certainly nice of you if you're just looking to spread the wealth but I have a feeling that's not the case...

Measurable results are what matters.  And when I say measurable results, I'm not just talking about someone who will send you impressive Google Analytics reports, I'm talking about your cash flow.  

While it's great if you are now ranking 1st for your keywords, if it's not resulting in increased paying customers then you obviously know something is wrong.  

Your SEO consultant should be able to work with you to identify possible issues such as appropriate demographic or geographic issues with your targeting, and/or whether it could be something more internal such as under/over pricing, unprofessional web design, poor content, or even your site being slow or not mobile-friendly.

One thing to remember in all this is that, whether or not you hire a consultant, you still are the one who will be creating valuable content. Contrary to what most believe, an SEO consultant doesn't have any secret tricks that aren't already out there.  It's totally worth hiring an SEO consultant if you need help with marketing and the technical aspects, but expect to still do the work

I'd love to hear your thoughts!  If you've worked with an SEO consultant before, let's hear about it!  Comments below.  :)