Wondering how to hire the right Freelance SEO consultant? Here are my instructions:
If your website doesn't appear on the first page of search results on Google, Bing or Yahoo, your potential customers may not even know you exist. Improved search engine visibility can be critical to driving visits to your website, which can lead to greater brand awareness and increased sales and profits.
But what if you lack the time and technical expertise to improve your site's search engine ranking? It may be wise to hire an experienced and reliable freelance SEO consultant.
Today, increasing organic traffic and improving inbound marketing are both related to search engine optimization (SEO). Done right, your website will rank well in search results when your target audience searches for keywords related to your services.
Many brands don't know where to start to improve their website's ranking, which is why they seek professional search engine optimization services. The decision to hire a freelance SEO consultant can be a difficult one. If your brand is struggling to make a name for itself, you probably don't have extra cash in your budget. But by hiring the right consultant, you can turn things around. Not only will an SEO professional help you increase your traffic and conversion rates, but it will free up your time to focus on more important things, like running your business.
If you're not sure how to find the right SEO consultant for you, here are six tips to point you in the right direction.
Know the warning signs
Knowing the signs of bad SEO consulting is incredibly important when you're trying to choose the right service for your brand. There are tactics that some services will use to try and convince you that they know what they're doing and are the most qualified, but these can be empty promises.
One of the biggest red flags is what we call the black hat tactic in SEO. This is buying links from other sites, keyword stuffing, or writing poor, irrelevant content for the sole purpose of improving page rankings. These tactics can result in penalties from Google, and if you knew the consultant was doing this, you'll pay the price - not the consultant.
You should also be wary of big promises with vague descriptions. If a consultant says they can quadruple your website traffic in two weeks with a strategy only they know about, you can be sure it's too good to be true. SEO is a science and there are clear steps you can take to improve your ranking. If someone claims to have special knowledge or claims to know how to get incredibly good results, they are selling you a flashy presentation rather than demonstrating their expertise (or lack thereof).
Get references from your peers
One way to protect yourself from contracting with a bad SEO consultant is to read reviews from real people and your peers. Googling "best SEO consultants" may not be the best way to find the right consultant for you. Sure, they have shown their ability to rank high on that SERP (search engine results page) and that may seem to show their expertise. However, that doesn't tell you if they give the same care and attention to their clients.
Talk to others who have worked with a consultant to improve their inbound marketing strategies. Who did they work with? Were they satisfied? If not, why not? Talk to someone directly and ask them questions, otherwise you'll have to try to find your answers in reviews on third-party sites.
Have specific goals (and kpis) in mind
KPIs, or key performance indicators, are the metrics you'll use to determine if a consultant is actually helping you improve your inbound marketing strategy. You'll need to check in with the consultant regularly to see if these KPIs are improving.
When choosing a professional SEO service, keep in mind the specific goals you hope to achieve. Also think about the KPIs that will be used to measure whether those goals are being met. Some important KPIs include the number of organic sessions you have, search engine rankings for specific keywords, conversion rate, phone calls, etc. Ask the consultant how exactly they are improving these KPIs so you know you will get the results you need.
Ask for samples
Asking an SEO consultant to provide you with concrete examples of their work is a great way to determine if they are a good fit for you. Ask them if they've worked for brands like yours and find out what results they've achieved. This is the time to be picky.
Also, take the time to check out their website. Are they writing good content? Is their site easy to navigate? These are good indicators of their capabilities. Keep in mind, though, that many consultants focus more on their clients' sites than their own, so don't lose confidence in them just because some things aren't what you expect.
Look for good communication
Good communication is key to choosing the right SEO consultant. It takes months or even years to establish a good SEO strategy. When you make a long term commitment like this, you need to know that they will communicate with you effectively.
Determine how often and how you will communicate if you hire them. They should be easy to reach even when you are in the middle of a review. If you wait a long time to hear back, or even if you are not on the same page with the consultant on a personal level, it may be time to move on.
6. Ask the Freelance SEO Consultant Questions
You can never ask too many questions when deciding on an SEO consulting service. Before you hire, make sure they can meet your needs and that you understand how they will do it. Here are some questions you should ask before hiring:
- What fees should I expect?
- When will I start seeing results?
- What happens if I want to cancel?
- Will I own the website if I leave the contract?
- What will you need from us to be successful?
- Do you offer multiple contract or budget options? If so, what are they?
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