There are many options available when hiring an SEO. Small businesses are investing more in SEO in order to maintain search engine rankings. As more businesses enter into the digital space, competition is increasing for the top results. There are good SEOs who use strategies that create lasting results. There are also bad SEOs that create problems that take months to correct. We are a search engine optimization agency that provides marketing for small businesses. Read our guide for tips on choosing an SEO professional.
Types of SEO Services
Before you look for an SEO, it is important to distinguish between the different types of SEO services. There are freelance SEO consultants who work for themselves. They may offer their services on websites such as Fiverr or Elance. If you choose a freelancer, make sure you see a portfolio of their work. Avoid SEOs who offer to “get you 500 links” for a cheap price or make guarantees that you will “end up #1” in Google. These are SEOs who typically use black-hat strategies to create hundreds of low-quality links. Eventually, Google will catch onto this and you will end up with a penalized site. Bad SEO work can take months to correct.
SEO companies or agencies are other options. These are companies that work with multiple clients and have teams of people working on SEO. A benefit of using an SEO company is you can see evidence that their process is effective. Another benefit is these companies may have years of experience conducting successful SEO strategies for clients. Finding an SEO agency that has had similar clients to yours is most beneficial, if possible.
In-house SEOs are a good option for a business that is expanding in size. In this situation, an SEO or team of SEOs would be hired full time by your business. Businesses who have multiple websites/brands or have significant traffic would find it helpful to hire an in-house SEO.
15 Questions To Ask Before You Hire A Seo Professional
1. Look for reviews and testimonials
Companies are quick to sing their praises, but you should investigate those claims. There are many review sources on the web for you to consult. Some review sources are Yelp, Yahoo, and YellowPages. Check for testimonials on the company website. If all of the reviews are vague and do not have a personal touch, approach with caution. Look for balanced reviews that are mostly on the positive side.
2. Look at the types of past clients they have been successful with.
Many SEO companies have case studies and a client list on their websites. Ask the company who their present clients are and how long they have been with them. Client turnover happens in the SEO field but if they have a history of having dozens of clients they have not been able to retain at all, there could be a reason for that.
3. What is their SEO process?
Every SEO has a different way of approaching optimization and research. Ask your prospective company what their SEO process is. How a company approaches SEO depends on the business category, but a good SEO company should be able to tell you a general process. If they are too vague about types of things they will do, proceed with caution.
4. How often do you generate reports?
Your chosen company should provide you with regular reports of your progress. Using data is a good way to confirm that campaign progress and goals are being met. Many companies use SEMRush and Google Analytics to generate reports. However, there is other SEO analytic software that provides valuable, detailed information.
5. How often will I receive reports?
A standard that many SEOs follow is a weekly briefing followed by a monthly report. Ask them if you will be able to see reports when you request them. If an SEO is hesitant to give you reports or explain them, that is a sign that they are not confident with their process.
6. Do you follow Google Webmaster Guidelines?
Google has released a set of guidelines that webmasters should follow. The guidelines describe the characteristics of search engine friendly websites. A good SEO should be up to date on Google updates and guidelines. Although there are other search engines, Google is the dominant search engine that most people use. Losing Google traffic because proper SEO practices were not followed can mean a significant decrease in revenue.
7. Are you experienced with Local SEO?
Most small businesses need Local SEO. There is some difference between Local SEO and Regular SEO. Ask your prospective SEO what strategies they plan on using to improve Local SEO. Ask them if they have past experience with Local SEO. Read more about Local SEO vs Regular SEO.
8. What are your prices and payment arrangements?
Ask what their package prices are and how they expect to be paid. A red flag is when their prices are abnormally high compared to similar SEO services in your area. The price being very low is a warning sign, as well. That could be an indicator that they use black-hat services to generate traffic and links. Freelance SEO consultants tend to be the most inexpensive but might provide lower quality work done by free tools instead of paid ones. In-house SEOs would be the most expensive option as they require yearly salaries. If your website needs significant work, an in-house SEO may be the best option.
9. How long are your contracts?
A good SEO campaign requires long-term investment. 6 months is a common SEO contract length.
10. How do you select keywords?
Keyword selection/research is one of the first processes that SEOs take. Ask them what factors are taken into account when selecting keywords. There are many different keyword research tools out there. It is important that SEOs use more than one factor to determine the keywords they select and not focus on keyword volume only.
11. What information will you need from me?
Communication between you and the agency is very important. The agency might need hosting information, passwords or background information from you. It might be a good idea to give them all of the information they might need in the beginning of your campaign.
12. How can I get in contact with you?
As stated before, communication is very important. Make sure you have the contact information of the people who will be working on your campaign. Ask them who you can contact in case of an emergency or if you need reports.
13.How soon should I expect to see results?
An SEO campaign can take a significant amount of effort. It is not possible to say when an SEO campaign will work for you exactly, but a good guideline is from 6 months to 1 year. Ask your prospective SEO how long they think it might take for you to see results. That can give you a guideline for when to expect an increase in search visibility.
14. Who will be working on my campaign?
You might want to meet or talk to the people who are working on your SEO campaign to clear up any questions about the process that you may have.
15. How do you build links?
Link building is an important part of SEO. There are many different SEO link building strategies. Make sure the company is using reputable ones that will work for your business. An example of a good link building strategy is directory listings and blog posts. An example of a bad link building strategy is spamming blog comments and participating in link schemes. A good SEO company creates backlinks to high-quality sites.
Asking questions before you hire an SEO professional will save you money and time. There are many different types of SEO services to choose from, and you should select one that will be the most effective for the size of your business. You should read their reviews and ask for case studies if possible of their previous clients. Case studies can give you an idea of the type of strategies that they have been successful with. Ask the company what their SEO process is like. The SEO tasks will evolve as time goes on, but they should be able to give you a general overview of the process. Small businesses should ask if the company has any experience with Local SEO, also. Local SEO is important to small businesses who are establishing themselves as a brand in their area. Another question that you might want to ask is what their pricing and payment arrangements are, so you can do comparison shopping. There are many other factors to consider when choosing an SEO professional. Hopefully, this guide gave you some direction.