A search engine optimization (SEO) consultant is someone with a specialized set of skills in the digital marketing industry.
At a very high level, their job is to attract and convert and get you found in Google search, meaning they implement a number of SEO strategies with the main goal of attracting targeted audiences from search engines and getting them to turn into customers.
This takes a lot of planning, strategy, creativity, and execution. But what are their responsibilities and what should you consider when choosing your next SEO specialist?
1. Goals Of An SEO Consultant:
An SEO consultant can help with a number of things from off page and on page elements like setting up social media profiles and blogging, to developing an SEO friendly website.
Typical goals of an SEO consultant would be to improve rankings, increase leads through SEO, improve brand awareness, develop clear business strategies online, and increase conversion rates.
2. Competency Level Of An SEO Consultant:
Some SEO consultants perform most of their job on their own, like strategizing and planning, while others have staff that they can leverage.
They most likely have both strong on page and off page SEO strategies. If they do have a team, they are typically managed directly by them, and they educate and train their team on best practices.
They should be able to demonstrate quite a bit of knowledge in most, if not all areas of SEO, and are usually able to give examples of work that they have done for past clients, and for companies that they were part of.
One of the main reasons that clients hire an SEO consultant is the accountable ROI! As an SEO consultant, you definitely should be able to demonstrate the success of previous projects you have completed, and how you can apply your SEO strategies to the clients business.
4. Current Projects:
You many consider talking to a prospect and asking them about their current and upcoming projects. If they have a strategy with a documented plan and goals, then they may be the right fit for your business.
5. Long Term Or Short Term Engagements:
Most SEO consulting engagements are usually months, or weeks long, but nothing is wrong with longer and more strategic engagements. So you may want to discuss this with your prospect and see if they are the right fit for you company.
6. Geographic Location:
Another consideration you may want to think about is whether you want to choose an SEO consultant that is nearby, or if you can afford to go to someone who may be out of state.
Most SEO consultants are strategists, and the hands on work is outsourced to your SEO team. You can have it both ways, but some people say that you get a better ROI if you hire someone locally.
7. Annual Budget:
One of the first questions I am asked by a prospect is how much I charge, and what my signup fee is. Some of the lower end SEO consultants charge anywhere from $500 to $3000 a month, and I am usually on the higher end.
But you can save a good amount of money by hiring someone who knows how to do it for less, but it typically takes more time, patience and skill involved.
So you have to make a decision on where your business is at, if you are willing to spend money to make money!
8. Business Model:
I think it is important to ask your prospect if they have a business model or a personal model! What I mean is you need to know if they are there to help you succeed, and make money for your company, or they are strictly there to make your company successful so they can have you as a client so they can make money.
I think it is important to know who your paying so you make sure you are getting the most value, and you are working with someone who is honest, trustworthy, and a good person to work with.
9. Marketing Saturation:
One more thing to consider is do you have too much marketing saturation in your market? If you do, you might as well not even have a website at all, and if you don’t have enough, then you definitely need an SEO consultant to slow down the process of it taking days and weeks to get to the first page of Google, instead of days and weeks to get to the first page of Google organically.
This is definitely not a comprehensive list to show you everything you need to consider when hiring an SEO consultant, but it should give you a start on the right path to making a good decision.