10 questions to ask when hiring a SEO consultant

10 April 2019 Consultancy.uk 5 min. read
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Getting your business to be visible online all starts with a search engine query. Your site’s chances of getting visited increases as your webpage URL ascends the list of fetched matches for every online search conducted. SEO consultants can play a large role in achieving greater online visibility.

To improve your site’s chances of reaching higher ranks in the search engine results, you will need to employ search engine optimisation (SEO). And while you may have the basic SEO knowledge (i.e. you know what is SEO and its benefits), eventually, you will need to turn to experts in the field and bank on their expertise.

Whether you plan on hiring an independent SEO consultant or one that belongs to an established SEO company, you will most likely conduct an interview process to gauge which candidate matches your business’ needs. To help you in this decision-making phase, Consultancy.uk’s editorial team has drafted some important questions you might consider asking potential SEO consultants.

Can you tell me about your experience and your clients?

Ask the consultant head-on about how much SEO experience they have. While the number of years in the field may not necessarily determine overall expertise, more exposure to SEO often adds more credibility to an aspiring SEO consultant.

Also, asking about the applicant’s background can pave the way to client testimonials and reviews. Either they will voluntarily name drop their top clients to let you know their best work, or you can direct the Q&A to this route. Whichever the case, do not forget to politely ask for the clients’ contact details so you can personally hear their feedback about the end results of their SEO campaign.

10 questions to ask when hiring a SEO consultant

Will you be conducting a website audit?

Optimising your website starts with examining it so your SEO consultant can offer plausible SEO solutions. Logically, the consultant should answer yes to this question. If they say you need guest blogging services without even taking a peek, then it may be a red flag, as SEO consultants use technical site audits to give their campaign direction.

What SEO methods will you most likely use?

SEO is all about strategy. Hearing about both on-page and off-page SEO techniqueswill most likely give you a clue to which tactic is the consultant's strongest suit. For example, if they hint at working closely with any link-building company, then they probably take pride in their off-page SEO strategy.

How long will the optimisation process take?

You will also have to ask about the timeline of the planned SEO campaign. Generally, white hat SEO practitioners will quote several months for the results to kick in. Conversely, steer clear of those who boast of overnight success, as they most likely employ black hat SEO. 

Can you share some best practices that you observe?

Whether it is a link-building agency or an SEO company, most SEO experts observe similar best practices. Look for those that abide by webmaster guidelines and keep track of algorithm updates. Those that play by the rules will most likely lead your website to SEO success. 

How strong is your local SEO game?

Local SEO is also a vital question to ask, especially if you have a small business with a physical address and/or a brick and mortar store. A valuable SEO consultant will not hesitate to give out sample tips on improving local SEO for your business. 

How will we keep track of our progress?

You can set expectations on communication and updates with this query. Clarify the preferred means of communication, frequency, and the content of reports you will be receiving. From here, you can weed out which ones fit your standards and preferences. 

Have you done previous work with others in my niche?

Although SEO transcends several industries, it is also worth knowing if your prospective SEO consultant has enough knowledge in relation to your niche. Such knowledge can better assist in coming up with and executing suitable SEO strategies, especially for highly specialised areas. 

What are your payment terms and policies?

Given that you are hiring a professional, this one clarifies the financial transaction that will take place in exchange for the SEO services that will be provided. Remember to also ask about policies in relation to contract termination and other similar important fine prints.

Can you make my website rank on the number one spot?

Everyone wants their website to rank first on the SERPs, but not all SEO consultants will answer yes to this question. The good news is, you should hire the one that says no. Because no matter how great their SEO tactics and guest blogging service plans are, no one can predict and control the ranking factors. Aside from being honest, answering no to this question shows that the SEO consultant understands the complexity and uncertainty of the SEO industry.