Okay so your business is growing in length and breadth and you need professional SEO guidance to keep up the rank of your website. You are told by someone to hire an SEO but not sure how? You’re already occupied with building content/products/services and hence have little to no time do the SEO.
You must be desperately looking to hire an SEO but are overwhelmed by too much of information, don’t worry I’ve got you covered. This post is to solve your need of hiring an SEO expert.
Here you will find advice to hire a good SEO rather than hiring a bad SEO who can miserably screw up your business. Maybe you are already paying a handsome amount of money but not getting positive results or maybe getting your website penalized? Hiring an SEO is really important for your business. As important as hiring a lead developer, designer or even a CEO. A search engine optimizer (SEO) is responsible for making or breaking your site rank, clients, customers, leads or users.
Without taking further time, let me share the tips & tricks to hire an SEO for your business.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. If your intention is to rank quickly then this guide is not for you. Ever since I have had myself as SEO consultant I have learned one major thing about SEO – SEO is slow.
If done right, slow SEO will bring big results. However, it depends on how is it done. SEO is the bridge between high visibility and your product(s). With SEO, you can not only reach great, greater or greatest heights but also effectively retain the existing user base.
SEO is all about doing what the search engine recognizes with respect to users. Search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Baidu put the users in the front seat and hence you as a publisher should focus on user experience so as to rank well in the SERPs.
Role of an SEO
A successful SEO will help you plan the roadmap of your online business and will help you place the right foot forward. There are frequent updates in the search engine algorithm and an SEO helps your site stay up to date on the search engine algorithm grounds.
Search engine optimizer is responsible to
- Place your website on the top spot in a right way. Where all the results are unbiased, including yours.
- Designs a really great user experience on your website, especially those coming from the search engine.
- Plots the SEO practices from search results, clicking on it and eventually converting them to potential customers.
- Implements white hat SEO techniques (best and legal practices) like meta tags per page, alt text etc.
- Update existing pages in case there are any traffic drops.
- Do keyword research for upcoming posts or existing ones as per the current rankings
- Design SEO friendly web pages as and when required
- Perform on page and off page SEO activities
- Competitor analysis for keywords, domain, pages, posts and a lot more website entities.
SEO is a very vast practice and cannot be performed as a regular activity. However, if you are an individual business owner you can manage the basics of SEO on your own but the technical SEO is not that easy to put hands in without experience.
General process to hire an SEO
There are basically 4 steps whether or not to hire an SEO.
- A two-way interview: To check if they are interested in your existing business.
- References: Check their past work (if any)
- Technical audit: This is to know how well they are familiar with SEO best practices.
- Decide if you want to hire.
Let us break down each of the process steps one by one.
#1 Questions you need to ask to hire an SEO in a two-way interview
Q: How long will it take to see benefits?
Typically, a good SEO takes around 4 to 12 months to recognize and implement the area of improvements. Once implemented, within the 12 months of the time, you should see the benefits. It takes quite a long time to study the stats and figure out things that are keeping your site from reaching the top of search results for the keywords you target. Once the flaws are recognized they’re cleared and then the implementation of corrective measure happens.
So if the person you are interviewing says this time duration, you’re in safe hands.
Q: How do you justify the changes that my website needs?
When you approach an SEO, they point the loopholes and flaws. It is important to support the same in a documented format. A supporting article or video would do.
- The description of the issue and
- The approach to get rid of it.
If the person you are interviewing gives you these two pieces of information you will not only avoid hiring a bad SEO but also get this vital information for free. A bad SEO would try to bring the discussion to buying links or stuffing the content with keywords.
Q: What can you do to increase my website’s ranking?
Frankly speaking, a good SEO will not focus only on ranking your website (which will get them a paid) but will focus on what makes your business worth being on the top spot.
They should ask you questions like
Q: What makes your business unique and hence worthy to be on the top spot of SERPs?
This information is helpful because this information should be highlighted on your website. The current and the would-be customers/user should know this.
Q: What are the mediums that you use to get in front of people? Who are your customers?
With this information, a good SEO can target, polish the existing ways. Or find newer & better ways than existing ones. If an SEO knows the customers/users, they’d know ways to reach or get in front of them. They should be looking for information on mediums by which people get to know about your websites, like social media or offline ads.
Q: What is the revenue structure of your business? How can SEO help?
Knowing the revenue structure will help a good SEO to scale it in parallel to the traffic growth. This piece of information is a very important input to make traffic goals.
Q: Whom are you competing with? How well do they perform online and offline?
Many times, our competitors make smart moves. Keep friends close and enemies closer. A good SEO would keep an eye on competitors moves. There are premium platforms like SEMRush that give this data and free tools like Google alerts. A good SEO should keep an eye on competitors as well.
#2 Check references
If the SEO you are interviewing has a past record with other clients, make sure to check it from their end. How well was the SEO able to provide value to the client. How well did the SEO mix with the developers, UX researchers, and marketers to bring out the best out of them for the benefit of the business?
A good SEO is someone who understands your business like you do and is a good person to work with. The sole purpose of hiring an SEO is not only ranking high, as the site rank will vary with or without an SEO. Hiring an SEO should lead to teaching from them on how search engines work so that SEO becomes an integral part of your business. Better the SEO collaborates with the team, better will be the results. If the person you are interviewing is an I-want-to-work-alone type then their efforts will barely last long.
#3 Technical & search audit
So far if you find the SEO candidate suiting your requirements it’s time for some practical. Give a restricted access to them of the analytics data to conduct and technical & search audit. An audit is a documented list of things that they feel needs improvement as part a search engine optimization.
A good SEO candidate would prioritize the audit in structure like
- The issue: Issues like site loading speed, meta description, image optimization, keyword research, interlinking, crawlability, URL parameters, response codes should be listed in it.
- Improvements: How to the site load faster, how to have a better meta description, how to have keyword rich but spam-free content should be on the list.
- Estimate of investment: Each improvement comes with a cost. A good SEO candidate knows the best cost of doing so (in a number of days multiplied by the cost per day) effectively.
- Estimated business impact: A good SEO is able to project the impact that these improvements will cause. The projection can the site ranking, visitors, conversions or whatever the major flaw is noted.
- CAPA: As part of the corrective and preventive action(CAPA), a good SEO will experiment, fail fast and iterate the improvements.
As part of improvements, a good SEO will spend time in analyzing what keywords are bringing the most traffic and use those keywords wisely. This way, the visitors can easily find what exactly what needs and become a recurring customer. For the keywords that not doing good for your website but is doing great for your competitors. A good SEO will provide a detailed structure of the workflow of the competitor’s success. An SEO will provide a detailed analysis of why some things work better for other and the same things do not work for your website.
A good SEO should find the poor ranking content and optimize it right. Updating the content would do great in this regards. Social media optimization is another medium that a good SEO candidate will spend the time to get further more visitors/customers/users.
A good SEO candidate will manage to come up with ideas that can bring you more business at least investment. When an SEO meets the developers and marketers, they will be able to pinpoint at the flaws that are stopping your business grow.
Lastly, a typical SEO should be made available and reachable to all the team members. It is really important for the whole team to be on the same page as a team is as fast as the slowest member of the team. Now that you have SEO in your side, spend the time to keep everyone updated about the SEO improvements. Not doing this will keep differences among the team and will ruin your efforts irrespective of whom you hire.
Over to you. What was the worst part of hiring an SEO for your business you faced? What is/was the experience of working with an SEO? Share your views in the comment section below.
Do you know someone who’d love to know this information? Share this with them and also in your network.