To achieve higher ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs), it is imperative that you invest more in search engine optimization. This involves a lot of work. You need to develop content that is SEO-ready, follow all the search engine guidelines and also keep up with the trends. You will also need to spend more time in link building and reputation management among other things. Oftentimes, this is overwhelming and may cause you to neglect other fundamental aspects of your business. The good news is that you can outsource the work to a third party.
The best thing about outsourcing is that you enjoy the peace of mind knowing that your SEO needs are in the best hands and that you have all the time you need to concentrate on the core operations of your business. However, before you hire just anybody, it is important to note that not every person that comes your way will help you achieve your goals. There are a number of things you will have to do before hiring a service provider.
Learn some SEO
Hiring the right candidate for the job starts with you understanding the job yourself. The number one thing you need to do is to spend some time trying to learn as much as you can about search engine optimization. You need to know what needs to be done to achieve certain goals and what the whole process entails. When you understand this, you will be able to ask the service provider the right questions and know what sort of answers to expect.
When learning about SEO, start with the beginners’ guide to SEO. You also need to understand links and why they matter. You should also understand the importance of content. It never hurts to enroll in online crash courses such as DistilledU. After understanding the basics of search engine optimization, you will be more competent to discuss your project with the right people.
Understand your goals
It is important to note that businesses have different needs. This is why you should set your goals before contacting a service. Do you need more traffic to your website? Are you trying to fix a bad reputation? Are you interested in more signups? Your goals are what will help you hire the right person for the job. With your goals in mind, you need to ask your target service provider how he will help you achieve your objectives. The right person should have experience helping businesses achieve the goals you are targeting.
Find experts with experience
In an effort to lure in more clients, newbies tend to charge very low prices for their services. Some will even have unbelievable offers. The first thing you need to understand about SEO is that it is not a one-size-fits all thing. Your business and industry will determine how effective a particular strategy will be, how competitive the SERPs are, and how long it will take to start seeing results.
With the above fact in mind, it is good to only work with an SEO expert that has the experience in your type of business and industry. This is because such a professional will be surefooted when working on your business needs. The more experience a service provider has, the better. Don’t take their word for it. Ask for references and take a look at their overall success when working with businesses that are in your industry. In addition to that, you want to find someone with experience working with businesses that have websites of the same size as yours.
Understand the difference between a consultant and an agency
It is very easy for businesses to hire the wrong type of service provider. This happens because most people do not understand the difference between a consultant and an agency. You have to know the type of service that you need before you hire one.
- SEO consultant – An SEO consultant often referred to as a freelancer. He works on his own and mostly focuses on strategy and recommendations to help businesses boost their organic traffic. More often than not, a consultant will not implement the strategies he recommends or fix the issues they find. It is up to you to find an expert who will implement the strategies.
- Agency –An SEO agency has several employees including account managers, strategists, writers and more. An agency will have channel specialists like pay-per-click and SEO teams to help execute several strategies. There will also be junior employees within the agency.
The expert you end up hiring will depend on what you really need for your business. For example, if you need full services in search engine optimization, you should hire an agency. They have everything under one roof. If you just need advice for your in-house SEO team, then you can go for an SEO consultant.
Ask the right questions
The next thing you have to do is to learn to ask the right questions. This is the only way you will be able to narrow down the list and end up with the right person for the job. Some of the things you should ask about include:
- Frequency and type of communication that the company uses
- Reporting and how frequently you get the updates
- The minimum contract that is required
- Whether they implement the work themselves or work with third parties
- Their rates, how their billing is and how long after billing they will expect payment
Ask for references
Last but not least, before hiring an expert, it is imperative that you ask them for references or client referrals. The goal here is to speak with the people who have worked with the service provider and get to understand what they feel about the services rendered. Too many negative reviews indicate bad services. Always contact at least three of the references you get.
Hiring a service provider when it comes to SEO is never an easy thing to do. There are way too many things that need to be looked at. You also have to be wary of fraudsters. However, the aforementioned points will help you find the right person for the job.
Sean Peters is an SEO expert offering services to companies in Vancouver. He enjoys educating people on SEO and playing golf when he is not busy at work. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.