Every single business wants to be visible, relevant, and of course, on the very first page of its search engines the likes of Google and Bing. And yet, few companies understand the scope of search engine optimization, and the necessity to tailor a specific team that will suit their particular business needs. SEO is based on an entire network of constantly changing factors, among which are search engine algorithms, content quality, audience search behaviors, and trends. To cover all of these essentials, and many other technical aspects of SEO, members of your SEO team need to be truly well-versed in the practice. The trouble is, how can you tell who you can trust your business with your SEO needs?
Luckily, those who excel in the industry and those who’ve had the chance to work with many SEO consultants have gathered valuable experience in choosing the finest people for your team. If you’re on the hunt for a trustworthy, expert SEO consultant to skyrocket your brand’s search engine visibility, here are a few key factors to keep in mind so as to make the right choice for your brand.
Short-Term vs. Long-Term Hire
There are so many different ways you can build a relationship with your SEO consultant. Among them, the two most relevant are project-based work that is typically short-term in nature or based on a retainer, where you’d work on a long-term basis. One way to strike the perfect balance when looking for a new consultant is to start off with a single project before you decide whether or not you should commit for a retainer.
Another factor to consider when determining the best type of relationship for you is, of course, your budget. You need to balance hiring a top consultant for their potentially sky-high fee, and hiring someone who will deliver the work you need for your website. This “quality-quantity” balancing act can be a challenge when you have a limited budget and a wide scope of SEO work needed. It’s best to evaluate your budget first and then determine your most viable options.
Look for references in addition to experience
Competitive markets affect not only brands but potential employees and their careers. If you look at Australia’s fast-growing tech industry and the flourishing startup scene, you’ll see that people will do whatever they need to get the position of their dreams. If you’re looking to target the local market, it makes sense to hire someone locally, and the sheer number of candidates can make it difficult for you to nail down that perfect consultant for your brand.
One of the key prerequisites for people eager to qualify for jobs in Brisbane and other thriving regions in Australia would be to provide stellar references and referrals. This helps you determine how qualified they truly are, and not merely look at dry numbers that represent years of experience, education, or projects completed.
Talk to someone who has had the chance to work with your ideal candidate for the position of the SEO consultant – that will give you a far better idea of their qualifications and abilities to meet your needs to target the local market.
Choice of SEO Methods
Even if you yourself are not an expert in SEO, you need to have some basic working knowledge in order to be able to tell which consultant qualifies for the job. Now, times and trends change, but certain golden rules remain timeless in the SEO industry, and recognizing the right approach might help you decide if you’re about to hire a real SEO enthusiast, or someone who prefers risky shortcuts, no matter the cost for your brand reputation.
You want someone that knows all the ins and outs of their field. You would hire social marketing help, because of their knowledge and experience in social. You would hire an email marketing agency to do your newsletters and mailings because of their grasp of the email channel. So your job is to know just enough to assess their quality as a search marketing consultant.
This is particularly vital if you’re running a large operation together with a complex website that requires technical SEO as well as ongoing content creation and SEO refinement to stay high in the SERPs. If you cannot ask the right questions in the interview, you can hardly decide if the consultant will protect your brand’s image in the eyes of search engines or if they’d risk implementing black-hat strategies.
Ask them about the tools they use to conduct your SEO audit, which solutions they implement to specific SEO issues you’ve been facing lately, and dig a little deeper to see the reach of their knowledge of current SEO trends.
Set expectations from day one
Hiring the right person means that you also need to be prepared to take the right SEO route in order to reach the ranking you need. Much like consultants who don’t shy away from shortcuts cannot be a healthy choice for your brand in the long run, your own mindset needs to be focused on the long game. That said, are you prepared to set aside a budget for a long-term SEO strategy that will help you earn the organic reach you need, or do you expect a miracle worker by your side?
Compare your brand to your competitors and evaluate your own brand presence. Since there are no cookie-cutter solutions, and every brand needs time to grow its reputation in search engines and for its audience, you need to be prepared to invest in the long-haul.
That might mean hiring several different consultants instead of just one or working with a dedicated team of experts, but you need to be realistic about your brand’s true potential. Some brands can afford to compete with industry giants, while others need to embrace the fact that they cannot possibly bring thousands of people to a particular page on their site that sells shoes if the very same page exists on hundreds of other websites out there.
Developing an SEO strategy is a lengthy process that requires skill, expertise, and ample creativity. If you want your brand to rank higher than others and to reach more people every day, you need to be prepared to search far and wide for that perfect consultant to help you reach your goals.
About the Author
Jacob Wilson is a business consultant, and an organizational psychologist, based in Brisbane. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for Bizzmarkblog.com.