Choosing to hire a professional
– As you evaluate the SEO landscape, you might decide it’s in your best interest to hire a professional. You can hire a resource to provide you with a list of recommendations or an entire team capable of executing on the strategy they develop. Search Engine Optimization has the potential to bring incredible amounts of traffic to your website. Because of this, it’s quite possible that you’ll see a return on investment if you hire the right professional and provide them with enough time to demonstrate success. There are hundreds of factors which determine how websites rank and there isn’t one flip-a-switch type answer.
Because of this, SEO requires a lot of effort and a lot of experience to drive meaningful results. This comes at a significant cost. So before you move towards hiring a professional,consider your budget. A typical Search Engine Optimizer, I’ll use the acronym SEO to refer to them, will charge to audit your site, to build the strategy, and likely a monthly retainer to track your performance and, if necessary, implement changes. For medium size business, expect between $3,000 and $9000 each for the audit and the strategy development.
The implementation cost will be dependent on how much work is needed to achieve your desired result. But expect at least $1,000 a month for an on-going retainer. The earlier you introduce your SEO to the project the better. If you’re about to redesign your website,implement a new technical feature, or add a product to your lineup, bring them on board so they can provide you with a strategy early on. It’s never too late, but undoing bad SEOcan add to the cost. I’m gonna give you some questions to ask if you evaluate a consultant.
But before that, let’s talk about some major red flags that should always be avoided. First, true SEO professionals will not provide you with any guarantees. There is more to SEO than earning a #1 slot. Firms that promote themselves by guaranteeing a #1 rank for a certain amount of keywords are highly suspect. It’s impossible to make that guarantee unless they’re using shady tricks which will only make things worse in the long run. Your SEO should provide you with an honest overview of the type of improvements you’re likely to see.
And these improvements can take several months to really kick into gear. Second, your SEO should not encourage you to participate in a link exchange or use pages of your site to include links to other sites under the premise it’ll increase your rank. All this does is build a link farm and further dilute the authority of your site. Third, there is no such thing as instant results. It’s alluring to see a $700 SEO Special with an instant result guarantee but real SEO takes a lot of work and that expertise will come at a premium.
If you can’t afford a high quality SEO, you’ll find more success in self-studying SEO right here than paying for a quick fix SEO agency. And finally, avoid anyone who claims to have a special relationship with Google or premium listing services. Google doesn’t accept payment or provide anyone with a fast lane to SEO success. Now, some SEOs might have relationships or resources within Google or they could be affiliated in one way or another, and that isn’t a bad thing. Just know there isn’t any special treatment or special inside knowledge.
These are the major red flags. Fortunately, there are a lot of very qualified and talented SEO’s out there ready to take your business to a new level. You can start your search on LinkedIn or even Twitter by asking your network for any recommendations. Talk with colleagues in similar industries to see if they’ve had success with an SEO. Some of the best referrals come from people who have had positive experiences with their consultant. Take a look at conferences and who’s presenting. If the conference is notable, the speakers arelikely bedded and a very good starting point.
Even if they’re out of your price range, they might recommend you to someone that they like. You can reach out via email or Twitter to engage in that initial conversation. As you build out your short list and you should be getting quotes from a few parties to compare,take the following into consideration. Does the SEO have any relevant examples related to your industry? Has the SEO been in business for awhile? How many years of experience do they have? Ask what tools and resources they use. They shouldn’t have any problems being transparent with you and should at least suggest that they use Google Search Council or Google Webmaster Tool.
From there, dig deeper into the qualities of the person or the agency. Get a sense of any reviews on the web. If they’re contributing to their SEO education. And look at their LinkedIn profile. You’re looking for people who have been in the related industry for awhile.A lot of SEO firms will staff “consultants” who are really just fresh, Marketing graduates. No, that’s not always a bad thing. SEO research is fairly cut and dry so long as the strategist seems qualified, they’ll likely employ a qualified team. But it’s worth knowing all of the people who will be interacting with your project because if you don’t align with a particular person on the team, it’ll impact your overall outcome.
Finally, evaluate a person or team on their entire offering. Don’t focus only on price or exclusive experience. There are a lot of expensive agencies that do terrible work and there are plenty of well-studied beginners who can bring a lot of value to your process. Hiring an SEO is a big decision. The wrong SEO might make things worse so do your due diligence and be thorough in your research.