5 Questions to Ask When You Need to Hire an SEO Expert

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Jun 28, 2018

Jun 28, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

SEO is important to any business.

But in this day and age, everyone claims to be an SEO expert. If you want to hire an SEO specialist, it's important to know what to look for. You might be wondering what separates an SEO pro from an SEO no.

If you're not familiar with SEO yourself, let the following questions serve as your guide to getting the best agency to boost your Google ranking.

SEO and Your Business

For the small business owner, SEO might seem like a mermaid or unicorn -- an unattainable idea. Or the latest "must-have" trend that everyone is trying to get their hands on.

But for businesses, SEO is more than just a passing fad. It's a necessity. Here's a quick look at how SEO impacts your business:

  • On-site SEO: this includes page enhancement best practices for increasing your site's Google ranking and domain authority
  • Off-site SEO: this includes things you can do off of your site to drive people to it.

A few factors that influence SEO rankings for small businesses are:

  • Local SEO: These are best practices that make it easier for local people to find your business on a search engine?
  • Link-building: Link-building is the process by which you embed links to your site on other websites, read more here
  • Social media: social media is a great way to drive traffic to your site

Ultimately, practices that bring people to your site or help Google web-crawlers find your site increase your SEO.

5 Questions to Boost Your SEO

With a basic education as to what SEO is, it's time to talk about some basic questions you should ask an SEO consultant to determine if they are a good fit:

1. Who Are Your Clients?

Asking for a client list allows you to learn about the SEO contractor. A robust list of clients can tell you about the overall experience the contractor has working with small businesses and SEO.

But in addition to general experience, looking at a client portfolio can also tell you if they have any experience in your industry; if they work with local or national clients and what kind of work they are most familiar.

It's a good starting point for anyone considering SEO.

2. How Will You Improve My Rankings?

There are a lot of strategies that an SEO specialist should deploy if they are going to win your business.

Asking how they will improve your ranking helps you determine what their level of understanding of SEO really is.

Are they incorporating both on-site and off-site strategies, are they considering your interest in local customers?

Are they going to help you with a PR strategy that includes link-building? Essentially, you want to know if they are a one-stop SEO shop, or if they specialize in one piece of the SEO puzzle.

3. Do You Outsource Services?

Outsourcing services to other contractors is not a winning strategy for the business owner who hires an SEO firm.

Sometimes SEO firms will use websites like Upwork or Fiverr to get services they've promised to deliver on from the lowest bidding freelancer.

Content is a big part of any good SEO strategy. And outsourcing people who don't typically speak American English can be problematic.

For instance, if you are trying to sell your plumbing services to people in Nebraska, do you think your clients go to the bathroom or the loo?

At the end of the day, you want your content to be articulated clearly so your customers don't get confused or bored. It's a stipulation to keeping them engaged.

Plus, if you wanted to get the work from Upwork or Fiverr, you could visit these sites yourself.

If your paying agency prices make sure you get agency quality.

4. How Will You Communicate Changes to My Site?

Communication with contractors is always a big deal. You need to make sure that the SEO specialist you hire has a proven methodology for communication.

Some prefer to use communication platforms, others phone, email and text. But knowing what types of information will be communicated and when is essential for establishing the contractor/customer relationship.

5. How Do You Measure SEO Success?

There are several metrics that an SEO professional can use to determine whether your campaign has been a success. Among these are domain authority, website traffic, Google global ranking and Google local ranking.

Another way to know if your SEO is performing as it should is determining if your site is ranking for keywords important to your industry.

There are a number of ways to measure success and a good SEO pro will be able to walk you through them.

Understanding success is important for you also, to be able to calculate your own return on investment and to ensure client satisfaction.

Always partner with an SEO professional who has the same goals in mind for your website and knows how to measure them.

Hire an SEO Expert

SEO is complex, nuanced and changing constantly. To hire an SEO expert is a great idea for small to mid-sized business owners who don't have the time or adeptness to learn the trade.

Ranking on Google for certain keywords gives your website authority, inspires trust in your consumers and brings you new leads. An SEO strategy should be a part of any small business budget.

But in the modern world of business services where everyone and their uncle is an SEO guru, it can be a task in and of itself learning who to turn to for help.

Before you call Uncle Joe, make sure you find the right SEO specialist with the five questions in this article.

If you're here because you are actually looking for a career in SEO, click here.