If you’re not familiar with SEO, you might wonder where to start. Even if you know something about it, you might find that you don’t have enough time to give it the attention it needs.
In those cases, using an SEO expert is a great approach. You’ll get the rankings you want, and you can spend your time on other areas of your business.
But how do you know who to hire? To help you feel confident in your decision, here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing an SEO expert.
First, though, it’s important to make sure you know the basics of SEO, so you can make an informed decision.
What Does SEO Stand For? And What Is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. This is what you do to make sure people can find your website when they look for information, products, or services online.
SEO has a few parts to it. Some involve technical changes. These are done behind-the-scenes, so you won’t see them on your website.
Other changes are made directly to your web pages. These affect the way you order your pages and present your information.
Finally, SEO includes what’s called link-building. This is when you have links between your site and other quality websites.
Why Do I Want SEO?
Google and other search engines rank websites based on certain SEO criteria, and this determines where you show up in the search results.
Without a good SEO strategy, you won’t show up high enough in the rankings for people to find you. That means you won’t get as many sales. View here for more information about how SEO can help.
Should I Only Look for SEO Services Near Me?
If you’ve got a small business, and you’re looking for people in your area, you might be tempted to only look for a local SEO service.
You might find an SEO expert in your area, but you shouldn’t limit yourself. Remote SEO experts will do a better job for your company, even if you’re going local, than a mediocre SEO consultant who happens to be nearby.
What to Look for in SEO Experts
Now that you know the basics, it’s time to consider what to look for in SEO experts.
History of Success
Unlike buying a consumer product, you probably won’t find many online reviews of the SEO consultants or companies you’re considering.
Instead, you should ask for references. Aim for a minimum of three companies willing to discuss how the SEO consultant has helped improve their business.
You also want to make sure the references are current. Since SEO is constantly evolving, it won’t help to see results from more than 1-2 years ago.
With a good company, this should be easy to do. Happy customers are eager to give testimonials and share how well things are going for them. If the consultant can’t provide you with these, move on to your next possibility.
Some SEO companies might tell you they can’t share their process because it’s proprietary. They might claim to have a “secret sauce” and you simply have to trust them.
If anyone tells you this, you don’t want to work with them. SEO experts should be willing to share their approach with you.
Find out as many details as you can about how they plan to increase your rankings. Even better, ask about their reasons for taking those approaches. This will tell you a lot about how much of an expert they truly are.
As part of their process, the SEO expert should be following search engine guidelines. Each search engine has its own, but Google’s webmaster guidelines are a good starting point.
None of these practices are intended to make life difficult for your company to achieve a good SEO ranking. Rather, the focus is on providing a good user experience, which is a goal any SEO consultant or expert should share.
A large part of following these guidelines is avoiding any tricks meant to artificially improve your search rankings, which are called “black hat” techniques. This includes link schemes, having pages with little original content, and using hidden text.
Sticking with companies that avoid those practices keep you from suffering any penalties. It will also make sure your customers continue to trust you and want to do business with you.
No Promises of Top Spot
Another way to screen out less ethical companies is to ask them if they can guarantee you a top spot in the rankings.
Although you might think the answer should be yes, that’s a red flag. Even if your SEO consultant does their best, they can’t control what your competition is doing.
Additionally, Google doesn’t make their ranking system public, which means no one can say for sure if they’re the best match. Even if an approach worked once, it might not work again, since the algorithm changes on a regular basis.
This doesn’t mean you can’t improve your results. It just means you should be wary of anyone who makes promises that sound too good to be true.
Another thing to look for is good communication skills. Your SEO consultant or company should be able to easily explain why they want to make certain changes.
You also want to make sure that they’re communicating in a way that works for you. That might be with a video conference, phone call, email, or something else.
The key is to be comfortable with the type and frequency of communication, so you’re not left wondering what’s going on with your website.
Finally, price is always a consideration for any hiring.
As with all things, though, trying to go too cheap usually won’t work in your favor. You could end up with someone who takes shortcuts or wastes a lot of your time before producing results.
Your goal should be finding a company that can deliver good quality at an affordable rate. If you like their results, go with them, even if they cost a little more than another, less-experienced consultant.
Choosing the Right SEO Expert
You have a lot of things to consider when choosing an SEO expert. You need to think about how they work, how well they communicate with you, and if you can afford them.
Finding the right one, though means you can leave SEO to them and focus on the areas of your business where you’re the expert.
Curious to read more about searching online, including how to find less common results? Check out this post about the deep web.