Any improvement in your search engine visibility can be helpful in increasing visits to your website, building stronger brand awareness and greater 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? 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 have no qualms providing a list of past and present client references. 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 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.
Webmaster Guidelines Adherence
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.
The process of search engine optimization often includes making changes to your existing coding. You should know what specific changes they will make and on which particular web pages. If you want the consultant ask for your permission before changing anything, let them know.
Consultants must use Google Analytics to track various data such as your site’s search rankings, number of external links bringing traffic to your website, keywords people use to find your site, etc. They have to show you the actual stats and provide an explanation, as well as recommend measures to improve your search ranking on a continuing basis.
In most cases, SEO consultants are paid $1,000 to $7,500 per project, depending on how complicated the task will be. Some consultants are also paid retainers of around $250 to $5000 or hourly rates that could be anywhere from $76 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 content should remain yours, and they must not remove or change anything up to the last content they added or modified. The contract should also indicate whether or not there will be a fee for early termination.