Your website may not appear on the first page of search results on the major search engines (Google, Bing, and Yahoo). This could suggest that your potential customers may not know that you exist. Optimized search engine visibility is essential for driving website traffic. Good SEO leads to improved brand awareness and increased sales.

Understandably, you may not have enough time and resources to dedicate to SEO management. You also may lack the technical expertise to improve your website’s search engine ranking. If this is the case, then you require an SEO consultant.

But you may ask, “where can I find an SEO consultant?” Well, perhaps it’s not a question as to “where” can you find an SEO consultant, but more importantly, what you should look in an SEO consultant. 

The main thing to remember when considering hiring an SEO consultant is communication. Asking the right questions and gathering all of the necessary information on the SEO consultant or SEO company is essential. Have a sit-down discussion with the SEO consultant and discuss the following information.


List of Current and Past Clients

A top-notch SEO consultant should be open to providing a list of current and former clients to a new client for reference. It gives you, as the new client, reassurance that they are qualified and experienced to handle your SEO efforts. They should provide the name of the business, and the contact information of the client.

Just like a job application, these references can help you to gauge how experienced and capable a candidate is. They also help to verify that the SEO consultant has experience. They determine if the consultant ever worked on SEO campaigns, SEO audits, digital marketing, page optimization, internet marketing, and other SEO projects. They should talk about what they did for specific SEO projects for each client and provide some background information on how their methods impacted search results. 


How the SEO Consultant Will Improve Search Rankings

The primary purpose of hiring an SEO company is for them to develop an in-depth, customized SEO strategy. And most importantly, you want to be able to trust your SEO consultant. To trust your SEO consultant, they should explain their SEO strategy in a way that you can fully understand. 

If they are trustworthy, then they will divulge such information to you. SEO consultants who refuse to discuss their SEO methods in detail are not to be trusted. This could suggest that their methods are sketchy. 

The CEO & Co-Founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin, expresses extreme caution against these types of SEO consultants. They tend to tiptoe on the subject of how they improve your search engine rankings and even use specific terminology that is impossible to understand. 

A reputable SEO consultant should explain the SEO strategies that they would apply to your business’s SEO plan. They should discuss in detail how they plan to drive traffic to your website and increase your website’s search engine rankings. They should also provide you with an estimate on how long it could realistically take to achieve your SEO campaign goals. 

Their SEO consulting services should include an initial website audit to identify any problems with your website. These problems can harm your search engine rankings. They should identify these issues, like broken links, poor content, and 404 error pages. They should ensure that your website is mobile-friendly and responsive to all digital devices. This involves improving your website’s URL, internal link building structure, web page titles, headings, tags, etc.  


Search Engine Webmaster Guidelines

Every SEO consultant has their style in which they conduct an SEO strategy. However, the SEO consultant that works for you strictly must adhere by Google’s publicly posted webmaster practices. This incorporates common SEO tricks, tools, and resources. 

If an SEO consultant doesn’t abide by these guidelines, then your website’s search engine rankings could suffer as a result. Also, if an SEO consultant performs sketchy SEO methods, then Google can flag your business name. Search engines can even ban it from search results altogether. This is the worst-case scenario and will cause the inevitable demise of your business.

Along with Google, Bing and Yahoo also post webmaster practices that SEO consultants should follow. These guidelines are put into play for a reason. An SEO consultant must abide by the rules and regulations that are set by the search engines so that everything is copasetic and no laws are broken.  


Past Experience With Improving Local Search Results 

Take into consideration how many years of experience that an SEO consultant has. If they have many years of experience, then this validates that they have lots of experience. If they have one year of experience or less, then they are relatively new to this practice. This may suggest that they don’t know what they’re doing. 

You want to make sure that you hire an SEO consultant that has expertise in the field of search engine optimization and search marketing. Also, since local SEO is a significant factor in ranking on the search engine for a specific geographic area, your consultant should be well-versed on local SEO. 

For instance, if you want to rank for your niche market in Fort Lauderdale, then you should push your search engine rankings based on searches in that area. This means that if someone nearby is searching for keywords that are relevant to your business, the SEO consultant should display your business accordingly. They should add your business’s city, state, title tags, and meta descriptions. This will get your website listed on Google, Bing, and Yahoo’s local listings. 


Keeping You In the Loop

As we mentioned prior, communication is everything. You’re placing your SEO in the hands of someone other than yourself. This means that an SEO company or sole consultant is making specific changes, alterations, and adjustments to your existing web page coding. The SEO language may be too complex for the typical small business owner to understand; however, this doesn’t mean that they should be kept in the dark.

Depending on what you want to know, you and your SEO consultant will agree upon how you wish to communicate SEO changes made to your website. Perhaps you would like a list of these changes, or maybe you’re satisfied with a monthly report on how the changes impacted your search engine rankings. 

Whatever method of communication that you decide to use make sure that you’re in the loop. This will give you peace of mind that your SEO consultant is working hard on your website to increase your SEO to the highest level. 


Measuring the Success of SEO Campaigns

Tracking the success of SEO campaigns is paramount. SEO consultants should be experienced in using Google Analytics so that they can track the improvement of your website’s search engine rankings. They should also measure what type of quality links, keywords, social media ads, and content is affecting how people are being directed to your website. 

Make sure that you communicate how often you wish to see these results. Will it be monthly? Every three months? Six months? How about Annually? These are all critical questions to ask when it comes to measuring and tracking the success of your SEO campaigns. 


Communication Methods

Communication styles may vary. Some people prefer texting or emailing, while others prefer a phone call. You and your SEO consultant should discuss the best means of communication to ensure that you are always on the same page. 

Whether you decide on Skype, email, text, Slack, or an old fashioned phone call, make sure that it’s agreed upon so that there are no issues.  


Fees and Payment Terms 

Money is significant. The costs and fees associated with SEO consulting services vary from agency to agency. SEO consultants are usually in it for the long term, in which they handle a business’s SEO for a prolonged time rather than just a one time service. 

Depending on the amount of SEO management that you require, an SEO’s cost could range from hourly to monthly retainers, or even project size and complexity. Most contracted SEO projects range between $1,000 to $7,500, while monthly retainers typically fall between $750 and $1,500 per month.

For hourly rates, an SEO consultant that charges anywhere between $75 to $100 per hour is considered rather fair. Whatever your SEO consultant charges, make sure that this is discussed in great detail before starting any SEO consultation. Once you agree on a price, you can then get started on making your business the best that it can be. 

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