Hiring an SEO Expert or Consultant- 11 Critical Questions To Ask Before You Make The Choice
Over the past decade or so, the way in which the online marketing industry has evolved has put an end to several age-old ways of doing things. The entire thing has become dynamic in all aspects.
Let me explain. Right from the start, just setting up a storefront for your business no longer means that you will sell your services well- you need to get yourself on the internet to get the full business experience.
Even after you have managed to mark your presence on the internet, you won’t have customers find you unless you set yourself apart from hundreds and thousands of businesses that are identical to yours on so many levels.
While it may seem like the good old days where all you had to do was set-up a store, distribute the placards and hang the posters and have customers come to your door are over and it might seem like the complexities of digital marketing is making things worse, the truth is quite the opposite.
In an age where marketing is based on and powered by search engines, you don’t have to look after so many manual things. All you need to take care of is aligning your business in consonance with the ideals of the search engine. Search Engine Optimization is the name of the game and hiring an SEO Expert might be all that you need to do.
Search Engine Optimization As The Way
If you are someone who has launched an online business and a website for the same that displays all about your business and the products/services you offer but haven’t yet managed to experience any significant business opportunities while your competitors are thriving, let me assure you that you are not alone.
While this might not be the most desirable place to start from, the truth is that almost all businesses experience the same thing. What you need to realise is that your website is just an online profile for your business. Having one isn’t enough. You need to use it as a tool to market yourself and you need to do it effectively.
Your website needs to represent your business in a way makes it noticeable for the search engine. You need to optimize the elements of the website and your entire online profile in consonance with the benchmarks of the search engine algorithm.
These factors involve content development, integration of relevant and high-value keywords, building a solid backlink profile etc. While these may or may not make sense to you, an experienced SEO consultant has a knack for these and can help you build your website on all such required fronts.
What such an SEO consultant does is fine tune your website and the online profile of your business to mark your authority and presence in the market and help you stand out from the crowd of competitors. This leads to an improved ranking in the search results which translates to an increased visibility, more leads and greater revenue- the perfect combination for a successful business.
Do you truly need to hire an seo expert or consultant?
After having understood the indispensable role of SEO to make your business successful, you might be left wondering if you could do the needful on your own or if you actually need an expert.
While you may or may not understand the elements of search engine optimisation, we can all agree that dealing appropriately with the intricacies of the process isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. While you may be able to experiment and tweak certain things on your own, there is no guarantee that you are doing it in a way to benefit your business.
A simple search of “Search Engine Optmization” will enlist numerous entities that claim to help you fix your business’ SEO needs, not everyone is there to help you. Most of these offering the services themselves have shady configurations when it comes to SEO and while they promise to help your business at a minimal price with maximum promises, most of the times, the experience turns out to be a nightmare.
Besides wasting your time and resources with zero credible progress, they tend to ruin your website to a large extent. So much so that you would be forced to spend a hefty sum trying to undo the damage.
For someone who is just starting out on the SEO journey, I’m sure you don’t want any of it. The way you can avoid such scenarios is by hiring an SEO expert or consultant right from the start. It has been rightly said- some things are better left for the experts to handle.
- Choose someone that stands out from the crowd and based around expertise and experience.
- Entrust your business and it’s future in safe hands.
- Reviews & testimonials reveal the truth about the work/services.
- There’s no fixed timeframe to see results. The process is a gradual one. Don’t fall for unrealistic promises.
- A proper SEO strategy is one that is exclusive and tailor-made for your unique business and that covers all aspects of optimisation.
- Put proper emphasis on the link building process. Your backlink profile determines how successful you will be.
- Transparency in dealing and proceedings must be ensured right from the start.
- Detailed and comprehensive reports and audits are must to assess and keep track of the progress.
- The game is played on some set of rules. Choose someone that will adhere to and abide by those.
- SEO is dynamic in nature. The right consultant would help you through the changes.
- Bounding and limiting contracts are a BIG NO! Ensure that you don’t fall for tricks and fraudulent activities.
Ready To Make The Choice? Not Before You Ask These 11 Questions
Have you understood the role of an SEO Expert? Are you ready to make the choice? Well, don’t rush into it. Since you have decided to make the choice and hire an SEO Expert or Company, you must make the right choice. Doing so can be a difficult task when you have plenty of options available and each of them claiming to be the best.
To rescue you from the dilemma and aid you in the process, here are 11critical questions that you must ask before you hire. These questions will provide you with a sense of clarity on what you should expect from a service provider and select the one that has the best solutions for your needs.
1. What sets you apart from the numerous options available?
When there are numerous options available, it only adds to the complexities. To avoid this, the first question that you should ask to any service provider is what sets them apart from the rest of the options.
The answer that you get will reveal what the company considers to be its speciality. If you hear anything along the lines of quick fixes, cheap alternatives and time bound promises, consider all of these as red flags. These quick fixes are nothing but shady practices that will make it seem as if your business is improving in the short run but in reality, they are damaging your business.
Experience and expertise are the things that make an SEO consultant better qualified to handle your business. With experience comes more profound understanding of how the search engine works and this translates to better results for your business. So when you are making the choice, prefer these over shady promises.
2. Why should I entrust my business to you?
This question addresses one of your most serious concerns while getting someone to work on your website and handle how it performs on the internet. The service provider should be very clear on why it should be chosen and why you should put your trust in it while it deals with the SEO requirements of your business.
A legit SEO company would be able to provide more than one legit reasons for you to entrust your business to it. Mentioning of factors such as credible experience in the industry, exclusive understanding of businesses of various niches, types and sizes, past performances and things along those lines is a good enough qualification to choose such company/expert.
Just make sure that you don’t fall for fictitious claims and promises. When the service provider has things to showcase this credibility, you are good to go. This brings us to the next question.
3. Do you have credible reviews and testimonials?
Talking of the reasons to entrust your business and its future in the hands of someone, there is nothing that has more value than evidence of trust and credibility. Ask if they can provide you with reviews and testimonials bearing the mark of credibility and genuine work.
A legit SEO Expert would showcase his set of happy and satisfied clients and what they have to say about the services and results that they have experienced with no issue at all. They would let you know about some of their clients that you can get in touch with in order to get a firsthand account of their experience with the services.
Additionally, you can visit the social media profiles and look for genuine and honest reviews before you sign up with the service provider yourself.
4. How long will it take to see the results?
This is exactly where you will get to know what the service provider and his motives are about. You should know that because of the major and unique character of each business, its exclusive needs and the way search engine algorithm works, it is not possible to calculate the time frame to witness improvement in search engine rankings.
The process of SEO is an ongoing and gradual process. The way it is undertaken depends on numerous variable factors such as your business goals, the competition in your niche, keywords that are targeted, among others.
If someone is promising you unrealistic timelines, it is a strong indication of the fact that he does not have an idea of how legit SEO works.
5. What is your SEO strategy and approach?
The next important thing that you should enquire about is the SEO strategy that the company provides and the process through which the strategy is implemented. A legit SEO consultant will not answer this question directly upon being asked.
While there are certain standard procedures involved in all SEO regimes, the truth is that there is no one fits all strategy. To meet the requirements of a business an exclusive SEO strategy needs to be prepared from scratch, based on the nature, type, size and goals of business. Also, the existing competition and the targeted keywords should be kept in mind while framing the strategy.
A credible SEO expert would analyse your business on all aforementioned fronts and then deduce the strategy that will cover all aspects of search engine optimisation such as high quality content creation, building a solid backlink profile, targeting the right keywords and so on.
The right SEO strategy for you is one which addresses all dimensions of your business with an equal intent.
6. What does your link building strategy look like?
The next thing that you should question is the link building strategy that the service provider is going to utilise. Now you might be left wondering why you should ask about this specific process and not something else. Let me tell you why.
Link building, in my experienced opinion, is one of the most crucial components that decide the level of success that your SEO strategy will yield. So much so, that I like to call it as the ‘Missing Link’ in SEO.
This is the part where the experience and expertise of an SEO Expert is put to test and application. The quality of your website’s backlink profile decides the quality of results and success that you will experience in the search engine rankings.
High quality backlinks from legit and authority websites bear a mark of trust and legitimacy and when you earn such high profile backlinks, Google associates your business to similar degrees of trust and authority. Once you have earned the trust of Google, things become relatively smoother.
7. What is the degree of transparency ensured by you?
This is one of those questions that are crucial to get a satisfactory and clear answer for. Based on my experience of dealing in this industry, transparency is the most foundational thing for a successful and proper interaction and exchange between the customer and the service provider.
If the SEO Company that you are going to hire is hesitant in maintaining considerable transparency in matters related to pricing, work being done, tracking of results and progress etc, you must not engage with such entities.
Search Engine Optimisation is a dynamic process that requires continues monitoring and modification. You as a business owner may not necessarily be aware and knowledgeable about these things and that’s perfectly fine. It is therefore the obligation of the service provider that you have partnered with to ensure that you are not left in darkness.
You must be made aware of what’s going on and what’s being done with your business and in a manner that makes it possible for you to comprehend.
Clear, concise reports, SEO Audits etc are things that must be utilised to help the business owner have an idea and keep track of progress.
If at all you come across someone who is not very clear and firm in matters of transparency, you should look for a better option.
8. How do I get to know if my business is improving?
If you are hiring an SEO Expert to help you with optimising your business to perform better on the search engine, the most necessary thing for you should be legit, tangible results.
In this industry that is filled with people who make shallow promises with no actual credibility in their work, legit results are things that separate a real professional from an imposter. When trying to get you to hire their services, agencies will make big promises to lure you in.
Once you have agreed to use their services, and the money has been paid, they either stop caring about your business entirely or, for worse, they keep you trapped and continue to suck at your resources by claiming to have boosted your business’ performance with no actual evidence at all.
You don’t want to end up like that. If the SEO consultant is ready to help you keep track of the improvements through regular reports that have been prepared to help you understand what’s up and is willing to address your queries properly, you have come across right assistance.
9. Do you comply with the Google Webmaster Guidelines?
When you are planning to launch and carry out your business on Google, you must be aware of the fact that there are certain rules and regulations that must be adhered to at all times in order to proceed successfully.
Google Webmaster Guidelines provide us with the details pertaining to the standard set of rules. These guidelines are managed by Google and are frequently updated from time to time.
If you are getting someone to work with your website and improve its performance on Google, it is quintessential that they should have clear idea and understanding of these guidelines.
Any work done must comply with the industry standards set by Google. Violating any of these provisions and postulations can end up pretty bad for your business. From getting your website’s reach and engagement restricted to incurring troublesome penalties, Google can tax you intensely in case of any unscrupulous activities.
Get help from someone who has a clear idea of what’s right and what’s not in order to ensure a hassle free experience with your online business.
10. What happens when the trends of search engine algorithm change?
I’ve said this time and again- Search Engine Optimisation is a dynamic process. Just like there is no fixed way of doing it with universal application, the nature and trends of search engine algorithm are also variable.
If you think that since you have got the SEO work handled at the initial stage and have begun to get some results out of it, it’s going to like this forever, you are highly mistaken. Google has been renowned for updates to its algorithm to make the user experience better.
When such algorithm updates are rolled out, it is natural to assume that what once worked may not work any longer. With updates, the trends of search engine also undergo modification.
Now, if you are not careful enough while choosing an SEO company or consultant, you might end up with one that will wash the hands of helping you out in such situations. An SEO Expert should be able to help you adapt your business as per the changing trends and make sure that your business continues to prosper and advance.
11. What happens when I no longer want to continue using your services?
This is another important thing that you should be concerned about before you hire SEO Expert to deal with the search optimisation and marketing for your business.
Suppose you have hired a service provider to handle the things for your business on the internet. You managed to build your brand and secure decent rankings in the search results. Now after some time due to some reasons, you decide to no longer continue with that service provider. Maybe you have found some better alternative or something else.
You let the service provider know that you have decided to discontinue. What happens now? If you are informed that you cannot terminate the services because you are bound by some contract that you had been unaware of all the time, your business was in the wrong hands for all this time.
The worse that might happen is that the company agrees to your proposal and discontinues the services. Everything seems good until after a few days you begin to notice that your business is deteriorating on the search engine and you are experiencing drastic reduction is impressions, engagement and activity.
What just happened is a common result of getting assistance from a fraudulent source. Such agencies make use of some tricky linking system that involves the use of artificially created links to generate some activity for your business.
When they get to know that you are leaving with your business, they undo all those things and you end up with a website that no longer attracts the traffic and that will be clear within a short period of time after parting ways with the shady agency.
This is harmful for your business in many ways. First and the foremost is that all the time, resources and energy invested in your business are rendered useless. Secondly, your website’s authority depletes to a drastic extent in the eyes of the search algorithm, even leading to permanent damage to the point of no return.
You don’t want to end up like that even in your nightmare. Therefore it is crucial that you are aware and clear when it comes to this and make all the necessary considerations before you make the final choice.
Now is the right time!
That was a lot! But I assure you that you are equipped with all the right questions that you must seek the answers to before you hire an SEO consultant to take charge of your business.
Regardless of the complexities involved in the process of optimisation or even in the process of making the choice to get assistance, it must be noted that Search Engine Optimisation is THE way to go if you are willing to experience the full potential of online marketing.
The size, type, age or any such factors related to your business do not matter when it comes to utilising the power of SEO to skyrocket your business. What matters is that the process is done in the right way by someone who knows what works best.
I hope this article has given you an idea of what queries you must get addressed before putting the future of your business in someone’s hands and I wish you all luck with it. If you are willing to cut to the chase and want to discuss about your business and how experienced expertise can empower it through the power of search engine marketing, feel free to hit me up and I’ll be ready on the other side with what you need.