How To Hire SEO Experts: 9 Key Questions To Ask
If your business website doesn't show up on the first page of your customers' Google search results, it's highly unlikely that a customer will go to the second page, but instead, they'll find a different website. To try and get your website on the first page, you need search engine optimization (SEO).
Successful online businesses have been driven by sales through their websites. It's only possible for websites to find businesses, with all the digital marketing, if they and their products and services are visible to their potential customers when they search for them and find them on the first page of search engines.
SEO experts are there to make the optimization easier for you so that you can drive traffic better to your online presence. While finding SEO experts may not be difficult, finding the right ones for your website can be a struggle.
It's also not recommended to do all the SEO work by yourself, but if you have the resources, it's best to hire an SEO agency that can best do the work for you.
There are a lot of variables that go into deciding the quality and kind of SEO that you need for your business. It's not just about searching for the most experienced and skillful SEO expert, but rather it's about finding a person who can tailor-make an SEO strategy for your business.
So before you hire an SEO expert, these are some of the most critical questions that you need answers to.
1. Do You (The Business Owner) Know Some Amount Of SEO Yourself?
To make the best use of SEO and to understand that the reports given to you by the SEO expert indicate progress, you will need to learn SEO or at least get a basic understanding of SEO and keyword research. There are some standard practices all over the board, but to understand which SEO services work best for your business's website.
Seeing your business higher on the search engine rankings is the goal, but you need to familiarize yourself with the necessary SEO terms, processes, and strategies.
2. Do They Understand What Kind Of SEO Strategies The Business Needs?
To answer this question, you should know your products, services, and your website enough, because even before you start optimizing your website for search engine results, all of this information needs to go into your digital marketing plan.
After you identified a need for your product or service in the market, the first instinct you get from a lack of sales or leads would probably be that your product isn't designed well. However, that may not necessarily be the case. It could be that your site has some offline sales but the online sales aren't fulfilling your business goals. This is a huge indicator that your site needs optimization and a well-crafted SEO campaign.
Before you hire an SEO expert or agency, you can ask if they are OK with providing you with an SEO audit of your site as a part of the hiring process. Also, you can give them a test SEO project relevant to the work of your site. Nobody will offer their services for free, so you should expect to pay for them.
The insights you'll receive from this audit will help you understand the areas where your site needs the most improvement and where you need to work to scale your business. The SEO audit will also help you identify the goals and responsibilities that you would need to assign to your SEO experts.
SEO consultants will tell you what your site needs, but you need it to be demonstrably visible to you.
3. What Do They Offer Or Have Those Other SEO Experts Don't?
When hiring anyone, let alone any SEO expert, the question "what sets you apart?" would naturally come by. When hiring SEO experts, you would want to ask them what are their SEO strategy would be and how would their keyword research point to your target market. The SEO needs to be results-driven.
Because search engines time and again update their policies and ranking factors for relevancy, it's best to keep in touch with all the relevant SEO trends.
For example, Google has more than 200 factors that contribute to relevancy already and for that Google recommends using its webmaster guidelines (and so does Bing and Yahoo). If they are aware of all of Google's advice, then that's a plus.
For example, they may be equipped with better tools and software for content optimization, which aren't readily available in the market. If they can demonstrate the benefits they bring with their tools, this could prove to be a major plus point.
Reviews And Referrals:
Knowing about their past clients and who have they been referred and reviewed by will help you narrow your decision down. This will give them credibility in their abilities.
However, you don't want to look for their current and past clients and don't expect them to provide analytics either. But you would want to look at how their past SEO campaigns had directly helped their clients gain an organic customer base.
If they've worked or have been working with small business owners, you can judge them by the work they did for their local SEO. Search engine results creating a local customer base matter a lot for small businesses.
4. Are They Using Any Dubious Terminologies And Practices?
SEO best practices are one thing, but manipulating SEO to get a better ranking in search results is another. You want organic traffic coming to you, but that shouldn't come by practices which the search engines themselves don't recommend.
For example, if you own a grocery store or a supermarket whose online presence needs to be optimized, you would know what items would be expected. You won't expect keywords of an auto dealer there.
Irrelevant keywords or stuffing keywords can have a counterproductive effect. Also, if the prospective SEO specialist says that they have some insider information at Google, Yahoo, or Bing that could help you rank higher in organic search results, this should be your indication to reject them right away.
While link building and backlinking are important for SEO, it has been confused at times. Some people misunderstand them for directory listings.
Nobody can promise higher results and it doesn't happen overnight, but rather, applying good SEO methods to your site can be a time-consuming process that will eventually yield results.
5. Which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Do They Use To Quantify Their Progress?
You should ask which quantifiers and analytics do the SEO experts use to gauge their performance. You should also have an understanding of those analytics as well. Ideally, it's never going to be just one metric, but a combination of many depending on the methods identified to scale your business.
Google Analytics is a very powerful tool that every SEO specialist needs to excel at. It's easier to keep track of your traffic, conversions, visits, and a lot more from your site and individual web pages, with this asset Google provides.
6. Do They Prioritize Inorganic SEO?
It's true that resorting to inorganic SEO practices can be expensive but at times they can help you strategize. Inorganic isn't as important as organic SEO, but because they deliver quick results and can attract traffic better, it shouldn't be ignored entirely.
Google ads and Facebook ads can prove very effective. Facebook ads are quite cheap as compared to other social media platforms. You can target sponsored posts towards your exact target market for as little as $1 per day.
Pay-per-click ads on Google and other sites might help, but make sure that you're not allocating too much of a budget on inorganic SEO.
7. How Frequently Do They Report The SEO Results?
Transparent communication is crucial for any business. Many businesses hire SEO teams for campaigns that may last for 3 to 12 months. It wouldn't be easy to keep a constant check on your team's SEO effort, but if they meet and catch up with you regularly, then it's a positive sign.
The team's reports should be organized, well presented, and backed up by analytics. You can request weekly, monthly, or quarterly reports. You can also ask how frequently can they send press releases and some reports to your existing customers because keeping customers informed is important.
Set Realistic Expectations:
You should expect the SEO agency you hire to meet a few KPI targets. Otherwise, at the end of your campaign and things keep getting worse, it makes no sense to hire them again. It should be a part of your contract too.
8. How Well Versed Are They In Local SEO?
What any local SEO agency would excel at is knowing the people, their traditions, their cultures, their keywords, their trending topics, and exactly what practices they would bring to improve successes for local businesses. When local SEO is done with respect to local search volume, then traffic from your own geographical area can contribute to your business's success.
They should help you improve your domain authority and backlink profile. Remember that if you don't work to increase your domain authority, a similar article from a competitor's page can rank higher. The best way is to create engaging content, and content that others could link.
9. Are They Skilled In Web Development?
When SEO experts are also technically sound in web development, they can help with on-page optimization and platform friendliness better than other SEO experts. Websites are usually designed for use with web browsers for PC but if the team can optimize the website for mobile (because most searches happen on mobile), then this can give a lot more appeal to your website.