Hiring a qualified SEO Consultant does not have to be a complicated matter. While there certainly are a lot of “SEOs” out there, finding someone who not only knows SEO but is also reliable and transparent in their techniques is of utmost importance. Listed below are the Top 5 questions you need to ask an SEO Consultant before giving them the keys to your online kingdom.

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  1. What do you know about our niche or industry?
    The more a potential SEO knows about your business or industry the less time they will take up on discovery. While discovery is an important part of the SEO process, an SEO who has worked in your industry likely has inside info and contacts that can be beneficial to your success. It is also a good time to find out if they have done work for any of your competitors.
  2. How will you be reporting on campaigns and general progress?
    Knowing exactly how your campaigns and website are performing is important. You will want to have a reporting on the basic KPIs (key performance indicators) like campaign performance, site traffic, SERP rankings, and bounce rates as well as general progress reports on things like on-page optimization, keyword ranking, and new backlinks. Depending on your industry or niche some other KPI data could be abandoned carts, top exit pages, or mail list sign-ups.
  3. What sort of ranking increase should we see? What is the timeframe?
    These two questions go together because it takes time to see results in SEO. The hard truth is, we don’t know what kind of increase you will see. Ranking depends on so many factors that all we can do is optimize per Google’s best practices and build qualified backlinks. It can take up to six months before you really start seeing results. The key is to find someone who is thorough.
  4. Can we see some case studies?
    Any SEO worth their salt has case studies. Reading them is a great way to get to know what kind of SEO process they use, what kind of writing style they have, and how they disseminate information.
  5. How do you go about link building?
    This is super important, while you can get quick ranking increases with “black hat techniques” like buying backlinks and private blog networks those links can also get you a “Manual Action” from Google that will essentially de-index you from search. A manual action happens when a human reviewer at Google has determined that pages on your site are not compliant with Google’s webmaster quality guidelines. These can be fixed but the de-indexing often causes huge rankings drops and that leads to lower earnings.

I can confidently say that if you get any push back when asking these questions of potential SEO Consultants then either they are not qualified to do the work or they use techniques that are deemed questionable by Google and the White Hat SEO community. If you have questions about SEO Consulting for your business feel free to contact me.