4 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring an SEO Consultant
What Exactly Will You Be Doing to Increase My Exposure on Google, Bing and Yahoo?
If a Search Engine Optimization consultant is unwilling or unable to answer this questions, move on. SEO is not top secret, not hard to understand, and not magic. It take diligent, consistent, specific work to get to the top of Google. But there’s not anything top secret or mysterious about it.
Do You Guarantee Your Search Engine Optimization Work Will Get Me On Page One of Google?
If an SEO consultant answers “yes” to this question, run! No one can guarantee a Google top ranking. Your Search Engine Optimization consultant should give you a detailed analysis of your current position compared to your competitors, then explain realistically what it will take for you to increase your Google ranking. A good Search Engine Optimization consultant will also give you monthly reports that show your site’s performance compared to competitors and gives you detailed information on what she will be doing each month to help you increase your ranking. If you’re interviewing an SEO consultant and she’s making guarantees about where you’ll end up in the Google rankings – run! She might be employing some black hat SEO techniques that could get you a temporary rankings bump but ultimately get you penalized by Google.
What Companies Have You Helped With SEO and What Improvements Have They Seen?
You’ll want to see a track record of success from your Search Engine Optimization consultant. Get the names of some of his SEO clients and check out their sites. Find out what keywords the site is optimized for. Check to see where that site is appearing in Google for those keywords. Pay attention to the number of search results returned for those keywords. (see below). It’s easy to get your site to the top of Google if you’re optimizing for a keyword that does not have a large number of results returned. I searched the keywords “Cincinnati Baby Photographer” and Google came back with 928,000 results. Obviously that’s a keyword phrase in high demand. But you can see in the graphic below, optimize for the keyword phrase “Cincinnati infant portrait studio” and you only get 139,000 results returned. Not a very competitive keyword phrase, so it would be pretty easy to get your website to the top of Google if you optimized for that phrase. Make sure the SEO consultant is successful at increasing a client’s Google ranking with popular keyword phrases – not the low hanging fruit keywords.
How Much Experience Do You Have Optimizing for Google Local Results?
If you have a local business as opposed to a national business, you will definitely want to make sure that your Search Engine Optimization consultant is experienced with helping local businesses rank in Google local results. A lot of the same methods work for national and local results, but there are specific SEO actions for Google local as well. Make sure your SEO consultant is up-to-date with Google local and can help you get exposure on Google Maps, Google My Business, Google Knowledge Panel and Google Snack Pack. If your SEO consultant does not know what these things are – keep shopping!