Choosing the right SEO consultant is one of the most important decisions you will make for your company’s marketing program. If you are currently trying to search for the right consultant, you’ve probably already discovered that there are thousands, if not tens of thousands to choose from. Unfortunately, they are not all created equal. Many are professional, knowledgeable, and up to date on all of the changes in SEO. Others may present themselves as professional, but either don’t have the previously stated prerequisites, or, are stuck in the past using outdated methods. Before you sign a contract with an SEO consultant, you need to understand what you should be looking for before you hire.
What you Want in an SEO Consultant
There are a variety of things that any SEO Consultant you hire should offer you. Obviously, they should have the expertise and perform a comprehensive analysis before putting together a program that will address your specific needs. But what are some of the other considerations when choosing an SEO consultant? Some of the additional areas to consider are:
- Strategy – The strategy that an SEO consultant offers you should be clear cut, tailored to your business and include steps that you can follow. You should be kept in the loop during each step so that you can understand what is going on as well as measure the progress. There should be no secrets.
- Dedicated Project Manager – Either your SEO consultant or someone on the team should be your lead contact for any questions or concerns you may have during the course of your project. They should be easy to contact during normal business hours and knowledgeable about your specific account.
- Information – The information provided to you should be concise and understandable, regardless of your level of experience with SEO. This should not be top secret or made so complicated that you just agree with what the consultant says because you don’t understand. You should be working together as a team.
- References – The right SEO consultant will have real references that you can contact as well as see their results. The references should be provided upon asking and without hesitation. You should never rely solely on testimonials on a website, after all, we all know that anyone can craft and post their own reviews.
- Social Media Integration – SEO is no longer simply about getting on the first page of the major search engines. Your consultant should offer more than keywords and analytics; he should provide you with a clear cut package that integrates the right social media platforms for your industry, as social media is where everyone is at these days.
- Up-to-Date – The search engine algorithms change quite often. The SEO companies that follow these changes will change with the times and provide you with successful results. Ask SEO consultants how they stay informed on the changes and how they adapt.
What you Don’t Want in an SEO Consultant
Just as there are things you want to see with the right SEO consultant, there are things you should avoid:
- Unrealistic Promises – Avoid the company that promises you the world in 24 hours or less at all costs! SEO is a work in progress; a tactic that takes time to provide real results. Anyone that promises results overnight is using less than honest tactics and should be avoided.
- Guaranteed Results – Just as you should be sceptical of unrealistic promises, you should avoid any SEO consultant that guarantees high rankings like the plague! Particularly if they promise that you will rank Number 1 on Google for your keyword. There are no guarantees in SEO, just ask Matt Cutts!
- Generic or No Strategy – Questions are important when you hire an SEO consultant. Ask about their strategy and if they do not seem to have one or use the same strategy for every company, they should be avoided. No two companies should use the same strategy; each company needs a tailored process.
- Paid or Spammy Backlinks – Ask about how they get their backlinks. If they are paid for or come from questionable sources not relevant to your site, do not use this company!
- A Whole Bunch of Links – Just as you do not want a bunch of spammy backlinks, you absolutely don’t want a whole bunch of them. If your SEO consultant guarantees thousands of links as part of the OffSite SEO package, say “Thanks for stopping by. Have a nice day!”.
- Lack of references – If the consultant hesitates to provide you with references or only provides links with no one to contact, chances are the references are fabricated and there are no real results to show you.
When selecting the right SEO consultant for your business, you need to tread carefully. There are many consultants who will do an outstanding job and will develop and implement a program for your specific needs. Unfortunately, there are those that may seem competent at first glance, but upon further review are not up to date with their methods or are outright negligent with their use of Black Hat tactics. Take your timeto perform your due diligence and determine which company will provide you with the solid results that offer a valuable return on your marketing investment.
As always, if you would like help with your SEO program, either as an advisor or as your SEO Consultant, feel free to call Moore Marketing Systems or schedule a free 30 minute consultation.