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 neither the time nor the technical expertise to work on your site’s search engine optimization (SEO) needs? Hiring a reputable SEO consultant could be key.
Consider the following as you vet 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. They may hesitate to provide specific analytics, but they should at least tell you whether their search ranking actually improved and if they are satisfied with the SEO consultant’s performance.
Methods to Be Used
If an SEO consultant isn’t open to discussing their methods with you, look elsewhere. As well, inquire whether they do “off page” SEO, a technique that drives attention to your content with the use of other places on the web, like blogs, social media, etc.
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 website could end up way, way low down the SERPs, if not banned altogether.
If an SEO consultant promises you the top spot on Google, or claims they have an insider relationship with Google or any search engine, run! Only bogus experts do that.
The process of search engine optimization often includes making changes to your existing coding. You need to know what exactly those will be and on which specific web pages. 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 must show you the stats and explain them, as well as provide recommendations in terms of how you can improve your search ranking on an ongoing basis.
Usually, SEO consultants are paid per project, with rates starting at $1,000 going up to $7500 or even more, depending on how complex the task will be. They may also be paid a retainer from $250 to $5000, or an hourly rate of $75 to $200.
End of Contract
Finally, be sure that the contract includes the picture after it expires or if you want to end it early. In particular, all optimized web contained should remain your property, and they must not change or remove anything down to the content last added or modified. Whether or not there is a fee for early termination,it should be specified in the contract as well.