Unfortunately, search engine optimization marketers or “SEOs” tend to be the “bottom-feeders” of the marketing industry. How many times a day do we all get spam messages from these sort of SEOs promising us “1st position in Google!”? Don’t worry, we’ve got the tips to help you find and hire the right SEO Expert to grow your business and revenue!
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Ok, you’re here because you realized you need professional SEO help. But what is SEO? Before we begin, let’s make sure you have a basic understanding.
Search engine optimization has to do with the design of your website and the user experience that you create. When we break it down a little further, the user’s experience is influenced by the layout, images or videos, and text; it is also affected by more technical issues like page load speeds, mobile usability, or even broken links.
Not only is user experience important, but you have to make sure to take additional steps to optimize for Google’s crawler bots and this might include areas like metadata, keyword usage, crawlability, etc. If this sounds a little intimidating, don’t worry. We’re gonna help you find an SEO Expert to handle these tasks for you.
Evaluating SEO Expert Services: The 3 P’s of POWER
A simple checklist of questions to ask or red flags to watch out for will never be dynamic enough to help you interview various SEO expert services. So, we’ve created three essential areas to evaluate as you interview these Search Professionals.
Evaluate Their Priorities
Do They Make You Feel Comfortable?
You’re about to enter into a partnership with your SEO, invest money, and possibly give them administrative access to your website. You need to feel comfortable with them. Remember, you aren’t just looking for an SEO Expert, you are also looking for a partner. Do they listen to your needs or are they talking over you, trying to prove their expertise? Do they seem a little too “slick” or are they genuinely interested in helping you? The best advice I have for you, here, is to “trust your gut”!
Do They Want a Long-Term Relationship?
Yes, sometimes search engine optimization is a one time project, but for the most part, SEO is an ongoing process, a competition with your competitors to be found by potential clients who are looking to hire you. Even if you have a limited engagement with the SEO Professional, you want someone who thinks long-term and who wants to foster a relationship with you or your company.
Dishonest SEO Consultants have been known to employ tricks that will cause your website to immediately skyrocket in rankings and then become penalized by Google (ultimately, ending up much lower than where you started). By the time you notice the problem, these types of SEOs are long gone with your money in hand.
Remember, you want to partner with someone who is interested in helping you and your business succeed over the long term.
Do Your Budgets Align?
Can the SEO Expert work within your budget? Sometimes quality Search Marketers have a minimum level of engagement (yearly or monthly budget) that they require to take on a new client.
Optimization efforts can often be broken down or segmented into smaller projects. Is the SEO Expert flexible enough to create monthly or periodic packages to help you meet goals within your budget?
Evaluate Their Process
The Search Professional should be able to clearly articulate their process for diagnosing and fixing issues.
When they explain their process, here are a few red flags to watch out for:
- The SEO should not promise 1st position in Google (except maybe for your own name, branded search, etc.).
- There are no gimmicks or hacks to quickly ranking well; making it to the first page comes through hard work, creating optimized content, and a user experience that is superior to your competitors.
- Be careful if they talk about “link-building.” Executed poorly, this can severely hurt your reputation, rankings, and revenue. As explained above, the safest way to earn links, and rank higher, is to create the best, optimized content and then promote it. If the content is worthy, the links and higher rankings will follow.
Expectations & Goals Setting for SEO
A discussion of their optimization process will naturally lead to expectations and goal setting.
- Unless your website is in disrepair (then a fix might have immediate, positive results), search engine optimization is often a process that takes time. You should know up front to allow at least 3 months before fully judging efficacy.
- In order to determine the success of your SEO efforts, you need to start by setting goals. Setting goals for SEO can be tricky. You are not just looking for better rankings in search results, you are looking for increased rankings that bring your website traffic. However, you are not just looking for traffic; you are looking for targeted traffic that will hopefully, convert to customers. This topic is worthy of a whole separate article. I would recommend that after doing some basic research, you work with your SEO Expert to come up with goals that best fit your situation.
Evaluate Their Proof
Let’s be honest, you are taking a necessary risk when you hire someone. One of the ways to reduce this risk is to look for proof of their SEO expertise. Examine their results, case studies, and reviews.
- Social Proof: Do they have testimonials or reviews? Examine them to get an idea of what it’s like to work with the SEO and the potential results.
Pro Tip: Make sure these are real reviews by real people from real companies (most of whom should still be in business).
- Their Website & Rankings: Does their website look professional and does it rank well in search results? For instance: One of my best-performing efforts on my own website is “Free Bing Ads Coupon for 2018 – Get $100 in Free Advertising Credits”. I have provided a screenshot, below, from SEMrush of the results ( ranking positions, traffic, etc.)
- Case Studies: Not everyone will have case studies available, but the more reputable SEOs will have them, outlining their process and results.
Pro Tip: Look for measurable results. An effective case study has screenshots of analytics data (increased traffic, ranking, etc.) or at least includes a testimonial from the client quoting real-world outcomes. For instance: “Cilderman Solutions’ search engine optimization increased our leads from organic search by 45% quarter over quarter!”
Everything has a Cost
As a business owner, you have probably, at one time or another, been hired to fix mistakes, because the client previously chose the “cheaper” option and then needed rescuing.
Hopefully, you were able to resist the urge to remind the client that they should have paid for quality and chosen you in the first place (and now they are paying twice).
Now it’s time to take your own advice: You know all the reasons to invest in high quality, and we’ve given you the tools to help you find the best SEO Expert services.
Follow through and do it the right way. It could mean this difference between losing money in your business…and really thriving!