Improving your search engine visibility can be crucial to increasing your website traffic, leading to increased brand awareness and more sales and profits. But what if you have no time nor technical ability to meet your own site’s search engine optimization (SEO) needs? You may have to hire a reputable SEO consultant.
Here are steps and considerations to make as you screen your prospects:
A good SEO consultant should be happy to give you a list of present and past clients with their contact details. Make sure you talk to these references, asking them about their experience with the consultant. If they won’t give you analytics, at least they should tell you whether their search ranking actually increased and if they are satisfied with the overall performance of the SEO consultant.
Methods to Be Applied
If an SEO consultant isn’t willing to discuss their methods, find another prospect. Also ask them whether they provide “off page” SEO, which is a way of letting people know about your content through other channels, such as social media, blogs, and press releases.
Strict Adherence to Webmaster Guidelines
Pick a consultant who abides by Google’s public posted webmaster best practices, which particularly prohibit 12 specific SEO tricks, such as spamming and using hidden links and text. Otherwise, your site could end up with a very low search ranking, if not banned outright.
If an SEO consultant promises you the the number 1 spot on Google, or claims they have insider relationship with Google, Yahoo or Bing, forget it. Only bogus experts do that.
Search engine optimization usually entails making a few adjustments on your current coding. You have to know exactly what those changes will be, and which particular web pages they will be applied to. If you want to be informed before any changes are made, tell the consultant.
Consultants should use Google Analytics in tracking various important data, such as your site’s rankings, the keywords people use to locate your site, volume of traffic coming from other sites to yours, etc. They should show you the stats and explain them, as well as make recommendations as to how your search ranking can be improved on an ongoing basis.
Most SEO consultancy projects are paid per project, with rates ranging from $1,000 to $7,500, depending on the complexity of the task. They may also be paid a retainer from $250 to $5000, or an hourly rate of $75 to $200.
End of Contract
Finally, make sure the contract states what happens when it expires, or if you decide to terminate it prematurely. In particular, all optimized web content should remain yours, and they must not remove or change anything up to the last content they added or modified. Whether or not there is a fee for early termination,it should be specified in the contract as well.