If you want your company to grow, hiring an SEO consultant can be a great idea. SEO consultants are very highly educated in online marketing and have a lot of information to offer you and your brand. However, not all consultants are alike, and many will use target phrases they know you want to hear in order to get your attention. We’ve put together a list of characteristics you should look for in an SEO consultant and characteristics you should avoid to help you make an informed decision.
1. Look Out for False Claims
Many SEO consultants will give themselves credentials you have no way of verifying. Look out for consultants who say phrases like:
- “I know exactly how Google’s algorithms work.”
- “All you need is more links – the more links, the better!”
- “I guarantee that I’ll get you on the first page of Google’s results page.”
If a potential consultant says anything on the list above, they’re bluffing to get your attention and land the job. It’s best to move on and work with someone else who is more honest about their capabilities as an SEO expert.
2. Work with Experienced Consultants
Before you hire an SEO consultant, ask to see a list of their past and current clients. This is a completely relevant and respectable question, and any SEO consultant with a background in the field shouldn’t hesitate to show you their references.
Take it a step further and contact the consultant’s references. You can’t ask them for specific details about the consultant’s work (as far as analytics), but you can ask if they saw improvement in their organic reach as a result of the consultant’s work. This will help you gauge their expertise, and determine if they can help your company.
3. Find SEO Consultants with Knowledge of your Niche
Your SEO strategy is largely defined by your audience. An SEO consultant should be able to help you tailor your SEO strategy to the interests of your audience. Work with someone who has experience with SEO in your niche – without the proper experience, you can’t be sure the consultant will really know how to help your brand. Any consultant who says they understand SEO in every industry isn’t telling the truth, so work with those who specify their areas of expertise.
4. Work with Consultants Who Strictly Adhere to Webmaster Guidelines
Google doesn’t release its algorithms to the public, but it does have a list of publically available webmaster guidelines. These guidelines outline about a dozen common SEO tricks that can actually hurt your organic reach – tricks commonly used by inexperienced SEO consultants.
Only work with SEO consultants who strictly adhere to Google’s webmaster guidelines. If you work with someone who uses any of the prohibited tricks mentioned in the guidelines, your website could face penalties from Google – or worse, it could be removed and banned from Google’s search results entirely.
5. Choose a Consultant Who Understand Local SEO
Not all companies are reliant on local search results, but if you are, be sure to work with a consultant who understands local SEO guidelines. The right SEO strategy can take your small business to the top of Google’s local results page, so you should work with someone who can help you get there.
Ask potential consultants about other local brands they’ve helped, and ask the brands how the consultant helped their local results. Not all SEO consultants are experienced in local SEO, so it’s important that you find out before making a final decision.
What are your tips for finding the right SEO consultant? How did you find your consultant? What else should you look for in a great SEO consultant? Let us know in the comments below!