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How To Find A Good SEO Consultant

Finding a good SEO consultant is like trying to find a personal trainer.

They all come with different experiences, expertise, strategies, and methods.

What’s most important is finding the best SEO consultant for your situation and goals.

seo consultant

Hiring an SEO consultant is an investment in the future of your business, so you must spend your hard-earned money wisely. This article explains everything you need to know when finding, vetting, and hiring your SEO consultant.

Finding Your SEO Consultant

Google Search

Contrary to all the popular gurus and blogs, we think the first place you should look to find a good SEO consultant is Google. If they can’t rank themselves for what they do, how can you expect them to do it for you? No matter what industry you operate in, you can follow this search guideline to find an excellent SEO for your specific industry (usually).

Go to Google and type in [your industry] + [SEO Company]

Google does a great job showing you who is currently your industry’s top-ranked SEO consultant. It’s important to scroll past the paid ads and only look at who is ranking organically.

Network

Ask around throughout your network. You’d be surprised how many people you know indirectly. Hopefully, someone in your network knows a good SEO consultant.

Vetting Your SEO Consultant

Just because you found an SEO consultant doesn’t mean that they’re any good. Thankfully, you can look for a few tell-tell signs to know your SEO consultant is good at what they do. Here’s our good SEO consultant checklist:

  • How does their website look? If it looks like something from over a decade ago, that’s a bad sign. A good SEO consultant should always be at the forefront of website designs since having a user-friendly website is part of good SEO.
  • How good is their online reputation? Inspect their Google Listing review section; you can find this on Google Maps. 4 stars and up is typically a good sign; anything below that, we recommend you further inspect the reviews and use your better judgment. For the most part, they should have at least a dozen reviews to be good, but much more to be considered a great SEO consultant. Remember that not all search engine optimizers are great at asking for reviews.
  • How good is their SEO? You’d be surprised how many people purchase SEO from someone who doesn’t even rank their own site for anything valuable. It’s a shame, but it’s true. We highly recommend you get an account with either SEMrush or Ahrefs to audit the SEO consultants’ website. We find that Ahrefs has more accurate data while SEMrush has more features when writing this article.
    • To audit a site within Ahrefs, follow these steps:
      Site Explorer>Type in the Domain>Organic Keywords>Sort by Position.
    • To audit a site within SEMrush, follow these steps:
      Organic Research>Type in the Domain>Sort by Position.
      • We ran the results for our own website and took screenshots. Neither of the tools is completely accurate, but they still give a very solid idea of how well-performing our website is overall.
  • Ask the Right SEO Questions. Any good SEO knows the difference between good and bad SEO tactics, but you might not. So we’ll provide you with some questions you can ask an SEO consultant, and we’ll tell you what a good or bad SEO consultant would say back.  
    • How many backlinks will I get after the first six months?
      • A bad SEO consultant will tell you how many backlinks you can expect. If they provide you a number of backlinks you can expect upon service delivery, they are either purchasing backlinks (which is against Google’s guidelines), or they are using poor SEO tactics and are not spending their time wisely.
      • A good SEO consultant will tell you, “there’s no way of knowing exactly how many backlinks you can expect.” You can expect to see backlinks increase with a good SEO service, but there is absolutely no way of guaranteeing how many backlinks you can expect. A Good SEO Consultant will have a backlink outreach strategy.
     
    • Can you get me on the first page of Google?
      • A bad SEO consultant will tell you they can get you on the first page of Google. If anyone guarantees you a #1 or first-page ranking, run. The only person that can determine where your website ranks in Google and nobody else.
      • A good SEO consultant will tell you it’s possible, but there’s no guarantee. We tell our prospective SEO clients that if a first-page ranking is possible within the budget and competition, we will do everything we can to get them there, but there is still no guarantee, as we are not Google.
     
    • How many new pages are you adding to our website each month?
      • The answer to this is tricky, seeing that your budget should directly impact this answer, but generally speaking, a bad SEO consultant adds too few or too many pages to your website each month. There is certainly a balance between quality and quantity regarding effective SEO, but every SEO consultant might have a different approach for your specific needs, goals, and budget.
      • A good SEO consultant will consistently create 100% original content each month, and each page should target one specific keyword. Your budget is the only determining factor as to how many pages a good SEO consultant can make. Generally speaking, our agency aims to make one piece of content per $100, but we also use the budget for other activities outside of creating new content so you can expect to pay upwards of $150 per page added to the website.
      • What’s most important is that new content is being added to your website consistently each and every month!
     
    • Is there a long-term contract I have to sign?
      • A bad SEO consultant WILL lock a small business into a contract longer than three months or six months for a larger business.
      • A good SEO consultant WILL NOT lock a small business into anything longer than three months or six months for a larger business.
      • It was normal to see agencies have annual contracts with their clients back in the day, but today it’s simply not the norm. We have no long-term commitment beyond one month with our clients. If we don’t earn your business, we don’t think you should be locked into us. That said, we do communicate that seeing measurable results and ROI will take time.
     
    • Can you show me a website you currently provide SEO services for?
      • A bad SEO consultant will ask full price and not be able to show you a website with good organic SEO.
      • A good SEO consultant will be able to show you a portfolio of websites, performance, and more.
      • That said, a good SEO consultant could be just starting out and might now have a lot of clients or time behind them. In this case, the good SEO consultant will likely lower their prices slightly for you, but don’t expect a massive discount as costs in our industry are rising every year.

Hiring Your SEO Consultant

Now that you’ve found a good SEO consultant, you must understand the working relationship. Every SEO consultant is slightly different in how they operate their business.

For example, we offer our clients a communication dashboard where we communicate between our team and the client. This allows the team to be on the same page, and we can access anything related to a specific project in one place. Most SEO consultants will operate strictly through email and shared cloud-based file systems.

A good SEO consultant might ask you to sign a general service agreement but not a long-term service arrangement.

Fairly quickly, they should provide you with a list of keywords, search volumes, and additional data highlighting what specific keywords they plan to target with their strategy.

You shouldn’t expect much in the first few months if you’re just starting out with SEO. After at least three months, you should begin to see some activity in the search results.

The results of your SEO campaign will vary depending on your existing SEO performance, your SEO budget, the competition’s SEO budget, and the strategy itself.

A good SEO consultant should be able to tell you exactly what to expect at different budgets. More importantly, they should be able to audit the competition and tell you the amount of work (or budget) necessary to compete with them.

Auditing Your SEO Consultant

Once you’ve found, hired, and have been working with your SEO consultant for a few months it’s time to audit their work. It’s incredibly important you understand how to audit your own SEO performance because we’ve found that sales representatives will say just about anything in this industry to steal a client.

Thankfully, auditing your website is easy. Remember earlier when we talked about auditing your SEO consultant’s website? We’ll use the same process here but on your website. Use SEMrush or Ahrefs for auditing your website using the same steps we discussed earlier.

  • To audit a site within Ahrefs, follow these steps:
  • Site Explorer>Type in the Domain>Organic Keywords>Sort by Position.
  • To audit a site within SEMrush, follow these steps:
  • Organic Research>Type in the Domain>Sort by Position.

In addition to your current performance, the reports generated should also show your website’s SEO performance overview over time. The only two things we want you to look for is growth and to make sure that growth looks organic. Here’s what we mean:

This is what good SEO looks like (Our Website):

Notice how the growth is moving organically upward over time. Sometimes the results go down, but over time the results are all consistently going up. If you look at the results carefully you’ll notice the number of pages on the website has doubled. The number of backlinks to the website has doubled. The organic traffic has exploded!

This is what bad SEO looks like (Random Roofing Website):

Notice how the results are over the same time range of two years, but the performance is radically different. We won’t name the website, but we know they have been paying a different SEO consultant to work on their website. Their performance is now 50% of what it was two years ago, and recently there was a massive change in backlinks.

When backlinks change radically like this, and you don’t see an improvement in rankings or traffic volumes, those backlinks were likely purchased in bulk. Purchasing backlinks is a Black Hat SEO technique that this website has clearly deployed. It’s likely that the business owner did not know the implications of this, but it only harms the SEO performance.

If we were to come in and help this website, the first thing we would do is audit and disavow any toxic backlinks.

We believe you should never have another SEO company audit your SEO consultant. It’s unfortunate, but we’ve seen a lot of slimy sales tactics to steal customers in our industry. This is why we recommend you learn to audit the SEO consultant yourself. Don’t be afraid to switch to stay with your SEO consultant. The most important thing is to keep investing in your SEO over time and your results should look organic.

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