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It doesn’t take a pro to do SEO.
But hiring one can certainly help.
For business owners who are ready to take their SEO efforts up a notch, it may be time to move beyond the DIY approach and onboard an SEO provider that can get the job done.
But the question is: How do you find and hire the right SEO company that can generate real, tangible results for your business?
Here are our top tips for smart SEO hiring — from weighing the pros and cons of outsourcing to knowing what questions to ask during the hiring process.
Benefits of hiring an SEO company
While there are countless resources online to help you implement SEO on your own, there are also many perks to either outsourcing your SEO marketing or hiring an SEO professional in-house. SEO isn’t always the easiest to figure out, so working with a professional may be the solution to avoiding headaches, wasted time, and marketing dollars down the drain.
If you’re asking yourself if it’s worth hiring an SEO company, it’s time to consider the benefits.
An SEO provider can help:
Take the guesswork out of SEO to start implementing an effective strategy from the start.
Save you money by running data-driven, highly targeted campaigns that make the most of your marketing budget.
Broaden your business’s reach online by expanding your marketing to a variety of channels.
Prevent costly SEO errors and, potentially, Google penalties.
Explain your website analytics, what they mean, and why they matter for your business.
Tips for SEO hiring
Choosing an SEO company or consultant takes careful consideration, as your primary goal is to find a provider that best fits the needs and goals of your business.
For this reason, we’ve included some of the best tips for effective SEO hiring to help you weigh your options and decide on the right choice for you.
1. Ask your network
One of the best sources for SEO provider recommendations is your existing network, particularly those business owners who are in your industry. By asking your network, you’ll already have people who can vouch for the provider’s services, offer an honest review, and point you in the right direction.
2. Request an honest estimate
When you end up reaching out to an SEO agency or consultant, you should request an honest estimate of how much their services will cost for your site and how long they expect those services to take. Any provider that’s cryptic about what they offer or how much it costs is one you should be wary of.
A decent SEO agency will know how much work is required to optimize your site, approximately how long it will take, and how much it will cost. There may be optional add-ons to be discussed later, but their upfront quote should give you a clear idea of what to expect when working with them.
3. Know what’s included
Many providers pitch an “all-in-one” SEO package, but it’s important to be critical of anyone who takes a one-size-fits-all approach. You’re looking for a provider that will take the time to understand your business and craft a strategy that suits your specific needs and audience.
It’s essential to ask what’s included in their SEO package so you can be super clear on what you’re paying for. Some of these services might include on-page SEO, local SEO, technical optimization, content creation, or link building.
4. Ask how they measure results
Every business owner dreams of landing that #1 spot in the SERP, but SEO is about more than just rankings. A reputable SEO provider knows that the goal of any SEO strategy is ultimately to help the business make money, so they’ll look at key performance indicators (KPIs) beyond just rankings.
Some of these KPIs may include traffic numbers, conversion rate, leads, and revenue generated. They should be able to communicate the true value of SEO and why these metrics are most important when it comes to measuring the success of your SEO efforts.
5. Schedule a call
Before you sign on the dotted line, it can help to have a face-to-face (or voice-to-voice) conversation with your potential provider. This will give you a chance to discuss your needs in more detail, ask questions, and get a better sense of whether this provider is right for you.
Before signing on with a new SEO provider, it’s best to conduct some initial research to learn more about their services, approach, and the results they’ve generated for their clients. This involves scoping out their social media profiles, looking out for client testimonials, and checking out case studies on their website.
Scope out reviews and testimonials
Whether you’re referred by someone in your network or stumble across a provider on your own, it’s always a good idea to check out the provider’s testimonials to get a read on how they work, and whether their past clients have enjoyed working with them. Also look for evidence that they’ve generated results for their clients in the form of traffic, leads, or sales.
Check out their socials
Many SEO companies are active on social media, and perusing their content is a good way to get a sense of their approach to SEO and how they work with their clients. Beyond reviews, look out for blog articles and posts being shared on their social media pages to see whether this is a brand you’d like to work with.
Look for case studies and portfolio examples
While you’re searching Facebook, Google, and Yelp for reviews, you should check out the provider’s website to see if they post any SEO case studies or examples of their past work. Testimonials may be able to tell you how much clients have enjoyed working with them, but case studies are a stronger indicator of whether their services actually move the needle.
During your research of a company, ask yourself: Do they communicate an in-depth understanding of analytics and how to interpret them? How do they measure success? Are they fixated on rankings, or on more discernible metrics?
These are all important questions to ask yourself as you read their case studies and website content. Their answers can build—or break—your confidence in their services, helping you determine whether they are the right provider for your business.
7. Communicate your business’s SEO goals
“Rank at the top of Google” may seem like a noble goal, but it’s likely that you have other, perhaps more tangible goals in mind. Be sure to communicate these to your potential provider so they know what you hope to achieve and to ensure you are both on the same page.
The right provider should be able to help you articulate your SEO goals and establish new ones. They should know what’s realistic for your business and be able to set your expectations from the very beginning.
8. Compare your options
You don’t have to pick the first SEO provider that comes your way. Feel free to compare your options, shop around, get a second opinion, or otherwise check out different providers so you can choose the right fit for your business. Ultimately, it should come down to who understands your business the best and proves that they have what it takes to bring your business positive results from your SEO campaigns.
Hire the right SEO for the job
Finding the right SEO agency for your business requires researching your options, asking the right questions, and looking out for proof of results. Any agency worth its weight will take the time to understand your business and come up with a strategy that serves to bring your business the best SEO results possible. This guide gave you some ways to identify a good SEO agency and choose the perfect fit for your needs.