How To Find a Good SEO Consultant You Can Trust
So you are ready to outsource your SEO, but how do you know if the person or company you’re hiring is trustworthy and can actually get results?
SEO is complex. There’s so much to consider from on-page optimization and keyword research, to technical SEO and backlinks. There are black hat and white hat tactics to get you results, the Google algorithm is always changing, and no matter what anyone tells you– there is no magic formula to get you into that number one spot.
You know that a strong website has a strong SEO strategy in place. And if you don’t have a strong pulse on everything SEO, getting support from an expert is a great decision. But finding the right one for your business is easier said than done.
To be sure you’re hiring a good SEO consultant you want to:
- Find a consultant who has proven experience with businesses like yours
- Find a consultant who specializes in the type of SEO support you need most
- Find a consultant who will work well with you and your business
What does that look like in reality? Glad you asked! Read on to learn how to separate your SEO knight in shining armour, from the wolf in sheeps clothing.
1. A good SEO consultant will not guarantee results
Anyone that says they have a ‘special formula’ or alludes to ‘magic’ or ‘secrets’ is lying. SEO is a long process, there are no shortcuts, and those who try shortcuts usually end up getting burned when Google’s bots discover that you’re buying links, stuffing links, or doing other Black Hat SEO tactics. If someone is promising you big results in a short amount of time you should be skeptical. They may be using black hat tactics which could do more harm than good.
2. A good SEO consultant is data-orientated
Ensure you choose an SEO consultant who is data-oriented. The beauty of digital marketing and SEO is that all of the results can be closely measured through data analytics. At minimum, an SEO strategist will report on your search engine rankings and your increased organic traffic. A strong SEO strategist or consultant will tie these metrics into your overall marketing strategy and report how this traffic has turned into new leads or revenue for your business.
If your SEO consultant doesn’t ask for access to your Google Analytics (or help you set this up), you’ll may want to find someone who does.
(For those of you wondering if there’s a difference between an SEO consultant vs strategist, they are essentially the same thing but typically, an SEO consultant is more experienced than a strategist)
3. A good SEO consultant creates their strategy around your business goals
Your consultant should start by asking you what YOU want to achieve. Is it more sales in a particular category of products? Are you launching a new type of services that you want to build an online presence around? Ensure that the SEO strategy is built to support your business priorities, and that they’re tracking the ROI of their services for your business.
If you have a discovery call with an SEO consultant and they don’t ask you what your business goals are, how many sales or leads you want to achieve in the next 6-12 months, and develop their proposal or strategy around that information– you may want to ask more questions about how their strategy will actually drive results for your business.
4. A good SEO consultant has case studies or portfolio projects to showcase the results of their work
You want to work with someone who has proven results, these results are shown through their case studies or portfolio projects. These aren’t always displayed on their website, but you can always ask for them in your discovery call or send an email to ask!
Results can take 3-6 months, so typical SEO projects see some small gains in the first few months and then increasing return in later months.
5. A good SEO consultant will charge what they’re worth
Long story short– you get what you pay for. That being said, if you have a smaller budget, and you’re in a non-competitive industry you could look for a more beginner specialist and start seeing some results. That being said, they will not cover as many bases, and won’t have as much experience.
The beginner SEO specialists
Beginner SEO specialists can offer you packages for a couple of hundred dollars per month, and they often maintain your metadata, and can do some basic keyword research for you. If this is all you can afford right now- it’s a great start!
The experienced SEO consultants
If you’re looking for a consultant to tie in your SEO Strategy to your business strategy, or you’re in a competitive industry, you’ll want to be sure you hire someone with some added experience under their belt. If this is you, you’re likely looking at investing at least $1,000 per month for a relatively simple website, but that can go up if they also offer other digital marketing services like SEO copywriting, content marketing, or SEM (paid ads on google) which often go hand-in-hand with SEO.
The consultant or agency that has experience with businesses like yours
If you have a large website, are in a super competitive industry, or have an e-commerce site with a large number of products, you’ll want to look for a consultant or agency that has experience in your industry or with businesses like yours.
If you also have a content marketing, PR, or SEM strategy, these should work cohesively with your SEO strategy. You can find full-service agencies or digital marketing consultants who can speak to how all these pieces work together for greater results for your business.
These projects are not cheap, but have a much stronger ROI when together and can be well worth the investment that will yield results for years to come.
6. A good SEO consultant can clearly communicate their strategy to you
This is probably the most straightforward consideration. Can your consultant clearly communicate their process and results to you in a way you can understand? SEO is complex, but it doesn’t require a PhD to understand the basics of how it works.
You want to work with someone whose communication style works well with yours. And as a business owner you want to have a finger on the pulse of your marketing.
Ask specific questions about how their process works, and ask them to walk you through the reporting for one of their current clients (even if they anonymize the company name). Can they clearly explain what’s working and not working, and what their next steps are?
More time hiring = more results
Outsourcing your SEO means that your business is growing and that should be celebrated! But before the champagne pop can come, I hope these key considerations have helped you narrow your search in finding your SEO consultant match.
Good help isn’t always easy to find. It can take time, meaning that you might spend a few hours reading through case studies or take a few different discovery calls with potentials. But finding a consultant you trust, who you work well with, and who has proven experience in businesses like yours means that you’ll spend less time managing them, and that you won’t waste money on people who aren’t up to the task.
On the hunt for potential SEO consultants?
We specialize in helping businesses grow with effective SEO & Content Marketing. Whether you want an Audit & Strategy to set you off on the right track, or a comprehensive strategy with SEO copywriting that drives traffic and conversions, we’re here to support you. Book a consultation with us to get started.