Running a successful business doesn’t always come easily; there’s so much that you need to be aware of. You have to know how to collaborate with your team, be an effective leader, understand your customers from a marketing perspective, and familiarize yourself with different tasks. One area that I believe most businesses need to progress in is SEO (search engine optimization), especially if you plan on expanding your online website.
If you’re new to SEO, you don’t need to worry. You can talk with a professional SEO consultant to understand how you can benefit from SEO services. Unsure what exactly you should be asking your SEO consultant? If only you had an informative guide that narrowed down the top twenty questions to ask an SEO consultant in 2023. Oh wait, you do…
Let’s get to it:
What Do SEO Consultants Do?
Before I get to the questions, let’s go over what an SEO consultant does. An SEO consultant uses data to inform and develop a strategy to help businesses reach their KPI (key performance indicator) goal.
Most businesses will reach out to an SEO consultant when:
- The business is having trouble being found online.
- There’s traffic coming to the website, but the conversion rate is low.
- The company needs to use organic keywords and become less reliant on PPC (pay-per-click (paid ads)).
- No one on the marketing team has the expertise to analyze data and find actionable solutions.
A good SEO consultant can help you achieve your business’s marketing needs as long as they have a clear picture of what your strengths and weaknesses are.
The technical aspect of SEO is something that can’t go untouched. A technical SEO consultant can determine how search engines crawl your current site. In addition, they can provide a solution that involves recent methods and processes.
There are numerous issues that an SEO consultant can help you resolve, such as:
- Website speed problems
- Indexing issues
- Poor website structure
- Lower conversion rates
With small business SEO, a reliable consultant who specializes in helping smaller entities find success can provide even more assistance. They can share tactics for local SEO and provide other SEO services that small businesses might not be as knowledgeable about.
Finding a Good SEO Consultant
There are many things to consider when finding the right SEO consultant. You should figure out their background and area of expertise and whether they align with your SEO needs. Asking the right questions can help you identify what they can offer.
Question 1: What Services Do You Provide?
Every SEO consultant’s answer will be different but asking this question can help determine if they’re right for your business’s needs. Before you commit to a working relationship, you must ensure they have the proper experience and credentials. A good SEO consultant will be able to provide case studies for their work. The case studies should detail the strategies they implemented when working with other clients and the results. Once you have a clear picture of what they can offer, you’ll feel more comfortable hiring your own SEO expert.
Some further services they can provide may include:
- One-on-one consulting
- Audit checklist
- Keyword research strategy coaching
- Technical SEO advice
- Competitive analysis tactics
- Link-building strategies
- Content-building strategies
Question 2: What Industries Do You Have Experience Working With?
Most SEO consultants start as SEO specialists in the marketing industry. Their experiences with past clients would have garnered them some insight and knowledge within various businesses and industries. You can ask your consultant what areas they have the most experience in or which fields in the marketing industry they’re most acquainted with. Getting a sense of their experience will help you decide if they’re what you want for your SEO work. For example, if most of their time has been spent working with B2C companies, and you’re a B2B, they might not be an ideal candidate. You’re going to need someone familiar with your specific industry.
Question 3: How Long Have You Been Working in SEO?
You typically want an SEO consultant that has been in the field for a minimum of five years. You can look out for a potential SEO consultant who has gone the extra mile to obtain certifications, attended industry events, and has worked with other SEO companies.
Question 4: What Kind of Certifications Do You Have?
There are Google products from which various certificates can derive. A good SEO consultant should have completed training in numerous programs related to well-known industry software and platforms. Furthermore, additional certifications in business and data are always a bonus, as they’ll have a deeper insight. Check to ensure your consultant’s certifications are up to date.
Question 5: Why Did You Decide To Become an SEO Consultant?
While it may seem trivial, it’s nice to know whether your consultant has a passion for SEO work and helping businesses succeed. Transparency is paramount when conducting SEO services. Find out more about what drew them to this type of work and what keeps them motivated. If they answer that they only plan to stay in SEO consulting for a short period, that may be a deal breaker for you, as you should want someone who’s going to be dependable.
Question 6: How Long Does an SEO Consulting Service Typically Last?
You may come across a consultant that works through a monthly plan. Some may charge by the hour, and others offer a one-time package before moving on to another business. It depends on whether they already have a few clients they’re working with. The issue regarding your business’s website traffic may also factor into how long you’ll need SEO consulting.
Remember that if a consultant tells you they can wrap up your SEO work in a matter of days or a couple of weeks, that’s not a good answer. Sure, it sounds nice, but SEO optimization takes time and effort. There can be a lot of trial and error before finding a solution that sticks.
Question 7: What’s the First Thing You’ll Do if We Hire You?
It’s pivotal that you ask your potential SEO consultant what they plan on doing for your business. Most SEO consultants will start by running an audit to see how your website is doing and how to achieve your marketing goals. They’ll have to see what is and isn’t working before implementing any further strategies. If they can share an SEO guide that details what they can start doing for you, you may want to hear what they have to say.
Question 8: How Do You Stay Up to Date With the Latest SEO Tools & Trends?
Like almost everything else in the digital age, SEO tools and trends are constantly changing and expanding. You need to ensure the SEO company you’re looking to hire stays on top of those changes. Otherwise, what good can they do for your business? When interviewing an SEO consultant, get them to tell you how they plan to offer you solutions using up-to-date SEO tools and efficient methods.
Question 9: What Will You Do To Improve Our Search Engine Rankings?
While SEO consultants can show you how to get your business’s website found on Google, they can’t promise instant results. Google algorithms are continuously changing, and there are just too many variables to promise immediate results, such as competitor websites or your business’s reviews.
After an audit, your consultant should do some keyword research to figure out what keywords to target your website with. They should also look at your competitors’ marketing strategies and efforts to see what you’re up against and how you can improve your overall SEO results.
After your SEO consultant does their research, they should be able to determine where to place the backlinks and what to link to. It’s important to remember that not all backlinks are the same, so you can’t just place them wherever and expect Google to give you the attention you want. Your consultant should work with you when finding valuable backlinks to avoid making any mistakes that will cost your business.
Question 11: What SEO Tools Do You Use?
You’ll want to invest in a consultant who uses good SEO tools. Ask your potential SEO consultant about the tools and programs they utilize for SEO research, link building, technical analysis, and reporting. Having the proper tools for all corners of search engine optimization is a good start when hiring an SEO consultant.
Question 12: How Many SEO Team Members Will We Be Working With?
You may want to ask about the number of members on the team. It’s not out of the ordinary to want to familiarize yourself with the people you’ll be working with. Understanding each member’s role will help you feel more comfortable and at ease moving forward. This way, you’ll also be able to identify what each person can deliver to the table and how their role will get you the results you want.
Question 13: Are Members of the Team SEO Certified?
Seriously committed SEO agencies will have their employees improve their SEO knowledge by completing courses in understanding SEO. Proper training and education can teach employees how to utilize different SEO strategies to optimize brand awareness for clients. Hiring a team of certified individuals is just another bonus, as they’ll be able to provide extra dedication and experience for your business and website.
Question 14: What Type of Reporting Can We Expect From You?
The biggest perk of hiring SEO specialists is that they take on all the technical stuff that you may not be as familiar with. However, you’ll still want to understand what they’re doing for you and your business. If their reports are the length of Moby Dick, then that’s just not going to work. As a client, you need to understand the information and monitor what is and isn’t working. Ask for sample reports to see how they operate and how often they plan on conducting SEO audits.
Monthly reports are the standard, but it’s not irregular to receive quarterly reports as well. These reports will be able to capture information that may be useful for your website. Your consultant’s reports should include a detailed summary of their SEO strategies, where you rank with the chosen keywords, and the rate of conversion from website visitors. In the end, you should hopefully see an increase in traffic which will be detailed in the reports.
Question 15: How Would You Measure Success for Our Company?
When it comes to how your SEO consultant measures your company’s success, you should listen closely to what they have to say. Spare no time for blanket statements such as “we can bring you more traffic” or “we can make you number one on Google.” If anything, the consultant should be asking you what your goals and needs are before determining what your success should look like. They’ll need to thoroughly understand the issues you’re having with your site and how they can develop KPIs that measure the progress leading toward your goals.
Your consultant will either increase your numbers or they won’t. If not, then they’ll have an explanation as to why and a new plan of action. A good SEO consultant will also know when to push back on your goals if they’re unrealistic or not ambitious enough.
Question 16: How Do You Keep Updated With Google’s Algorithm Changes?
As mentioned, algorithms are always changing, which is a surprise to no one familiar with Google. However, your consultant should explain how they keep up to date with the changes. If they can provide websites, conferences, or experts in the field they follow, then you can identify whether these are reliable resources. The last thing you want is to hire an SEO consultant who gets their news from Twitter. As the world of SEO changes, your consultant’s awareness should be on point.
Question 17: Will You Need Administrative Access to Our Website?
You won’t want to hand over the reins so soon. You should first find out why your consultant needs access to your site and what they plan to do. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities for an SEO consultant to require administrative access to your website for some testing and page optimization. If you feel uncomfortable giving them access to your website, you can always request that one of your employees be present. It’s important to be clear and upfront when your business is on the line.
Question 18: How Much Does SEO Consulting Cost?
SEO consulting services can vary depending on your consultant’s skill level, hours worked, SEO experience, and more. It’s normal to ask for a price range when it comes to the consultation and what type of payment methods they accept. Remember, good SEO comes at a cost. If you do enough research, you can determine what’s unreasonable.
Question 19: What Is the Process for Contract Termination?
If you decide that you no longer need SEO resources or you’re not getting the results you want, you may consider terminating your contract. However, that’s something you should ask your consultant before you hire them. Clearing up this question from the start ensures both parties aren’t blindsided by the request. A contract termination option is a good safeguard in case you aren’t happy with the service.
Question 20: What Are the Next Steps?
If you’re confident after the consultation, you might want to ask for a detailed quote and a realistic timeline. If you’ve decided that you want to interview other candidates, there’s no harm in saying so. Take the time you need to choose the right SEO consultant for your business.
The more research you do to understand SEO, the easier it’ll be to ask the correct questions when hiring a consultant. I hope these questions help you on your journey toward success. Good luck!