SEO Consultant confusionYou can always find stories of the classic SEO rip-off, clients entrusting their hard earned dollars to unscrupulous or perhaps worse, an amateur SEO consultant. The details of each story are different, but the same grievances continue to resonate with dissatisfied clients. They follow the same complaints:

  1. I’ve spent too much for little if any results. 
  2. My SEO company took my money then I hardly heard from them again.
  3. I have no idea what my SEO consultant does or if it’s even working.

It’s no wonder clients are skeptical. Don’t be misled by quick talking salespeople and a flashy website. SEO is complicated, and it’s essential that you do your research and find the right consultant. Here are some important questions to ask your prospective SEO Expert and how they should respond before signing that contract.

Why does SEO even matter?
  • It should matter to your company because it matters to your competition. Whether SEO is necessary for business will be the easiest question for your potential hire to answer. Between 80-90% of today’s customers now check online before deciding on a purchase. This number is expected to rise in coming years so brace yourselves. The days when virtually everyone searches for products or services online are almost here. If you don’t have strong organic SEO in place, your customers will not be able to find your business. They will go to your competition because they came up at the top of the search rankings.
  • Mobile phones are getting smarter, and technology is answering the consumer’s demand for better accessibility. Advanced SEO techniques and local search optimization make it possible for businesses to not only access the world but to zero-in on their communities. Your SEO should be able to talk about the importance of optimizing not only your website but your mobile app as well.
What can you do for my website that I can’t? 
  • An expert SEO Specialist will know how to review, analyze and implement changes to maximize traffic to your site. They will be able to give you a breakdown of how they will do it. As the internet evolves, so do the search engines’ algorithms. Techniques that were relevant a few years ago could now be ancient history. Your consultant should be an expert in the changing demands of the various search engines. Professional SEOs will know how to use the various tools available to evaluate your website. They will implement or recommend changes that will make your site appear in the top page rankings.
  • There is a word used in the SEO world called black-listing. This term often happens when discouraged, amateur SEO consultants try and take a fast route to gain ranking success. Trying to obtain the attention of the SERPS (search engine results pages) can backfire and cost your business dearly. To be black-listed means to be de-listed from the search engines’ results page. Black Hat SEO refers to techniques that overanxious optimizers use: invisible text, doorway pages, and keyword spamming and crowding. A real SEO Expert will stay far away from these black hat practices. They will concentrate on building your company’s rankings naturally as they are aware of significant search engine policies which a novice may accidently break.
I already have an IT department and a marketing team. Why can’t I just get them to do the work?
  • The major search engines constantly tweak and fine-tune their algorithms. Trying to navigate this ever-shifting landscape will put a strain on any business’ IT or marketing department. An SEO Expert will be able to tell you what makes their work different from the important jobs done by IT and marketing.
What outcome can I expect to see if I hire you?
  • How many times have you gone past the first 2-3 pages in a search engine? Exactly. It’s crucial that your site appears at the top of the page rankings and the faster, the better. However, a good SEO will not only get you to the top but have a strategy to keep you there. SEO is no longer just about adding keywords and links, and doing some great marketing to promote your site. That may give your site a temporary push to the top but in this changing internet climate, it will not stay there indefinitely. A good SEO Expert will monitor your already optimized content, keeping up the search momentum of your website. Look out if he wants to do a one-time search engine optimization on your site. Your potential hire should give you an understanding of what ongoing techniques he’ll use to keep it at the top.
Why should I spend resources on an SEO Consultant when we have a great online marketing campaign?
  • SEO is one of the most cost-effective venues for getting your business on the world stage, starting with your neighborhood. There is no question that online marketing may drive revenue and strengthen your company’s image. Even with the rise of social media marketing, PPC advertising (Google Adwords), and email marketing programs, a robust SEO strategy likely has a better ROI (return on investment). It’s your site’s organic SEO that is the cornerstone of your online presence. Your potential SEO Consultant should let you know how SEO will save you money compared to other online marketing techniques.