Hiring an SEO specialist? Know These Things First!
In our last blog, we discussed how important it is to invest in an SEO strategy as early as now so your business can compete better with other businesses which also uses internet to reach their target markets, too (link to article here). Now, you will know how important it is to also invest in a SEO specialist.
You may say that you can learn SEO all by yourself because information is just a fingertip away. However, SEO is tricky and very technical that SEO experts have been studying and practising for many years. I’m afraid that you may not have all the time in the world to study and be an expert in putting your website at the top of Google search results. You may also have a hard time to update yourself and adjust with the always changing search engine algorithms that can affect your website’s ranking. So, better yet, let the specialists handle your SEO strategy and work their magic. For the meantime, use your time in creating profits and making your business more successful.
Now, that you need an SEO consultant beware of the ‘experts’ on the internet. Before you hire anyone to do the search engine optimization (SEO) for you, know these things first:
- Check their skills.
Just like any other hirings, you, as the employer, must know the skills of your prospective SEO freelancer. Kindly, ask for their credentials (resume/ CV) and look for their specific skills for SEO such as the following but not limited to these:
Just like any hirings, you as the employer must know the skills of your prospective SEO freelancer. You can ask for their credentials in a resume or CV form, but you must be on the lookout for their skills specifically for SEO such as the following but not limited to these:
- HTML, PHP, etc programming
- Keyword research
- SEO-friendly content writing
- Link building
- Traffic analysis and other analytics
Also, be observant in how your prospective freelancer discusses how s/he will handle your website. The more specific s/he in the discussion, the more you will know that s/he knows what s/he is talking, thus s/he may be a good candidate in taking care of your website.
- Ask for their past project results.
A legit SEO consultant must not be afraid of sharing his portfolio. He may not share the specific analytics and figures, but he must not be hesitant in giving you websites of his past projects. This will give you an idea of how effective and how good he is in his work. When you search for the websites of his past clients and you easily discover them in the search results page, that means he did his job very well.
You can also ask if the freelancer has a website or portfolio. Most of the time, legit SEO specialists have websites that ranks high on the search results page. Of course, if they really know how to put your website on the top, their website must also be on the top. Walk the talk principle, that’s all.
- Know how you and the consultant will communicate.
Every freelancer has a different approach to a project. As an employer, it is important to know what mode of communication you and your consultant prefer. Would both of you like to have a personal communication? Via skype? Calls or text? Or a combination of all these things?
Another thing that must be clear to both of you is how frequent your freelancer must update you regarding the project. Do you both prefer to have a daily update or a weekly update? Also, you must know the duration of the project. Knowing this will help both parties in setting realistic expectations. These things may be simple, but communication is vital in the success of your project and because ideally, both of you wants minimal dispute.
- Ask for the consultant’s goals and methods for their campaign for your website.
You, as the business owner, must not shy away from asking questions, especially about the specialist’s specific strategy for your website. This conversation can also give you a hint if the consultant is a professional or just a beginner. This discussion can also save you tons of funding for hiring a self-proclaimed SEO expert but cannot really deliver.
You can ask the consultant to technically review your current website. You may ask what factors contributing to your low rank and what can be done to improve your website. You can expect answers like you have low ranking because of broken or erratic pages. The consultant may give solutions like improving URL, web page titles, and tags. You may also ask if the consultant does “off-page” optimization such as blogs that can be published to other websites and other social media platforms. This technique is good for your brands’ exposure and linking to your business’ website.
- Set or ask for the terms and conditions of the project.
Payment terms and conditions may be a sensitive and complicated topic in any project, but the clarity regarding the price and what comes after the project must be discussed upfront. This will give both parties an idea of the expected results and directions to take a while and after doing the project.
Regarding the price, you must first do a survey of how much SEO freelancers charge in your area. Project rates abroad may vary as compared to the Philippines or in whichever country you are. Knowing about the rates will give you an idea if your price is fair for you as an employer and for the freelancer.
You must also clarify if you are hiring a consultant on a project or retainer basis, or if you have any other setup, whatever works for you. In SEO consulting industry, project-based gigs are most common, but it still depends on your project’s objectives and direction. You must also identify how you are going to pay the consultant. Is the invoice due every 15 days? 30 days? What payment mode will you use? Through paypal or bank transfer? These things must be well-documented to avoid future disagreements.
What will happen after the project has finished? You must clearly declare in your contract that after the project, you still have full ownership of your website and other optimized web contents that the consultant has done for the website. You may also put in that the consultant must not do any alterations to your optimized website. You must be clear and specific in the contract so you can protect yourself and your business.
Hiring any personnel seems easy, but hiring the person best fit to the project can be tedious. However, all these efforts eventually pay off if your website can have the best rank in search results. Remember, good SEO strategy made by a true expert can be converted to great revenue potential. All this hard work will have great returns in the end.
Good luck on your SEO expert hunting!
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