How to Hire an SEO specialist

By Mike Miello

You have a website AND NOW...

It's time to grow. Drive traffic, eyeballs, sales, and all that good stuff.

But maybe you want help and are thinking about hiring an SEO specialist.

Confusing? It can be.

SEO itself sounds technical, which isn't everyone's cup of tea. Plus, there are many choices, from SEO freelancers to SEO agencies. 

Who should you pick?

Since I'm a freelancer specialised in Webflow SEO, I intend this to be BIASED. 

But if anything, factually, I hope to shed some ideas on evaluating SEO partners and any partners for those matters.

What to consider when hiring a Webflow SEO consultant

When it comes to hiring an SEO specialist, here is a list of factors that can help you distinguish one from another:

  1. Proposal (Understanding your business)
  2. Referrals - (Case studies, previous clients, relevant problem solving)
  3. Availability (Service level agreement)
  4. Chemistry (Good feeling)
  5. Reporting (Clarity)
  6. Price (Types)

Le's dissect each one.

Your SEO proposal should align with your business today

Your SEO strategy is meant to drive traffic to your website by ranking higher in search engines for search keyword searches.

But every SEO consultant tackles this uniquely, and this is where timelines and costs can be greatly different. 

When you review the SEO proposal, make sure that it sounds achievable about where your business is. For example, if you're a new health insurance startup, there is zero chance that your website will rank #1 for a keyword phrase like "buy health insurance." 

And so within the proposal, make sure that the SEO consultant recognizes your business needs of today and can offer a plan that will bring you value soon. The proposal should be clear on what they are delivering and what isn't included. For example, content writing, keyword research, link-building strategies, technical issues like website speed/load time, backlinks analysis are all part of SEO and can be tackled at various levels.

Referrals from past SEO jobs

A person with a successful track record can be a good way of finding good talent over the web.

When looking for an SEO specialist, you can tell a lot about a person based on how they present their previous work and the types of reviews they get.

  • Case studies of driving traffic
  • Google reviews from clients
  • Being able to speak with a previous client

All can act as referrals.

As you investigate their previous experiences, try to identify the specific problems they were solving and how they were addressed. 

Even though I freelance, I hire people for jobs and find those fellow freelancers that can explain how they solved problems tend to be the best type to hire.

Your SEO expert availability

What are the hours of operation? What is their availability to answer your questions? What are their response times?

These are all important things to think about when evaluating an SEO specialist. It's good to know what hours they are available, how responsive they are, and what you can expect in terms of customer service.

Many freelancers will be able to answer emails outside of normal business hours. They may also be more flexible with meeting any deadlines than a full agency might be.

Many SEO companies have strict policies that require employees to take vacation time or unpaid days off before they can come into the office, which could pose a problem if you need them urgently.

At the end of the day, it's important to evaluate your needs and choose accordingly based on what is best for your business. If you need someone 24/7 or quickly, go with an agency; but if you want someone who has flexibility and isn't tied down by rigid work schedules, freelancers might be for you!

Good chemistry in first meetups

"Bitch don't kill my vibe." 😀

A song by Kendrick Lamar, it's a great one. And it's true.

Choosing an SEO partner should leave you peace of mind knowing that your website performance is in good hands.

This is the power of good chemistry. 

When you have a good feeling about each other, there's a greater chance that both sides will want to be proactive in making the relationship work.

I've found that having good chemistry might be the most important element to success. Why? Because it has to do with the person's attitude.

You can teach people how to do things, but you can't teach attitude. 

SEO people will have different ways of working. Some like to remain secretive or not go into details about tools being used. Some may not be comfortable talking when something seems concerning.

But no matter how people work, it will influence how you work together. You just want to make sure that it works to your advantage.

Good SEO Reporting

This is particularly important with projects involving many people

  • How often will you be in contact with your SEO freelancer?
  • Will they report back to you regularly or every once in a while?
  • How can you make sure you stay on top of the progress and the work being done?

When working on an SEO project, you want to make sure that you're being informed about what is done have a good idea.

It's very easy for anyone to create a 60 page SEO website audit report that will list out a bunch of possible fixes. But for most people, this report says nothing more than your site is not SEO optimized, and here's a lot of work you must do.

A good SEO consultant will understand that they prove their value by showing results. Even if they can show immediate traffic results, particularly if the project just started, he or she can show the work accomplished and give you a good feeling where it leads.

Again, it's all about having that good feeling. Good reporting helps you feel that.

How much for SEO

Price.

Everyone has their price. And it can get confusing rather quickly when seeing such different prices when the language around the proposal feels like you'll receive more or less the same thing.

In my pursuit of offering SEO services, I've tried to be creative to fit all sorts of client needs and expectations. And this has a direct influence on price.

Where smaller businesses are more focused on hiring to complete tasks, larger companies might want that, but also want to have clarity around topics.

When you see a company that is charging lower fees or low fixed fees across the web, just know that this is equivalent to a car mechanic giving a quote to fix your car without actually seeing your car.

For some things, this can work. Changing the tires of a car, for example, is pretty much started across all cars. Making sure that all pages contain a header, is a standard SEO action that can be done on any website.

But for SEO to be effective, knowing what words to target in headers and how to optimize sites to the fullest require some form of inspection, which costs time and money. 

The advantage of working with an SEO freelancer vs an agency is that there's a greater chance that more time will be spent solving your website SEO as opposed to admin and coordinating among people.

Find your website expert to get results

With the right SEO expert, your website can rank higher in search engine results and drive more traffic to your business. But how do you find the right expert for your business?

First, make sure you know the basics. Read up on best SEO practices and be prepared for questions about your business and strategy. Then, check out a few proposals to see how they build on your current strategy and what the pricing is, before making a decision.

Mike Miello profile image

This post was written by me, Mike, owner of Webodew. Please feel free to contact me anytime.

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