How to hire an SEO
How to Hire an SEO Expert
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a strategy for producing or updating a website so that it customers can find it more easily. A good SEO expert will have a working knowledge of the industry, a multi-faceted strategy and several happy references. Hiring the right consultant can improve web performance and increase sales exponentially.
Learn the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).It is hard to hire an SEO expert without understanding what they will provide you. Start with the Wikipedia entry or a free online tutorial.
Separate SEO from SEM.Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is paid search engine marketing, such as pay-per-click ads. SEO is an organic form of advertising, where your website improvement results in higher search engine results. You may want to hire an SEO and SEM expert to be in charge of your digital marketing strategy. If this is the case, search for a digital marketing consultant instead of an SEO expert.
- SEO and SEM should work together to form a strategy. Keyword strategy is essential to both efforts.
Get to know your customer’s habits.Start gathering data on your website. If possible, use Google or social media analytics to find out how people are getting to your website. These are statistics that a good SEO expert can use to your advantage.
Understand keywords.These are the words that people type into search engines to find the websites they are looking for. Think like a consumer and come up with a list of 50 keywords that people are probably using to find your site.
- An SEO expert will be able to do further research to refine them; however, you should be well aware of keywords and long tail (specific, multi-word search queries) before they begin.
Ask fellow businesses for recommendations.Referrals suggest satisfied customers. Businesses that have recently built a new website are likely to have invested in SEO.
Attend a search marketing conference.Trade conferences allow you an opportunity to interview companies and freelancers individually. With so many candidates, you are likely to find someone with experience in your industry.
Search for local companies before hiring off the Internet.It will be easier to vet them based on research and former clients. There are a lot of SEO scammers online.
Look online in oDesk or Elance.You will need to be more conscientious about hiring people who work remotely; however, you can always ask for a trial period.
Look for candidates who are currently working in the industry.Unfortunately, taking time off in the SEO world means you’ll most likely have missed several industry changes. Search engine marketing is a constantly changing environment.
Emphasize years of experience, rather than schooling.Most business and marketing programs can’t keep up with the pace of online marketing. For this reason, candidates who are self-taught and have worked and adjusted to the changes are more likely to have a working knowledge of what you need.
Choose a candidate with some experience in your industry.Although an SEO expert can adapt to a new industry, they will require less research if they already know the keywords and tactics that are effective with your clientele.
Ask about their strategies.Make sure you ask this as an open-ended question so that they list the following answers:
- Technical knowledge about building a searchable website. This means they know how search engines crawl and use meta tags, meta descriptions, alt tags and more.
- High quality content creation. This may also be known as on-site building. They should have experience writing using keywords and HTML tags. At the same time, they should understand that content is effective and interesting.
- Off-site optimization, such as link building. This is the trickiest part of the equation and should lead to a follow up question.
Discuss their link building strategy.If they aren’t in the business of building relationships with content producers that link back to the site, then they are using an antiquated method. Search engines now penalize websites that use linking that is irrelevant to the product or the site.
Ask for references.Call the references so that you can be sure they were pleased with the work.
Request a strategy proposal.This will help you understand their depth of understanding. Ensure they include the three pillars of SEO, as well as reporting on website traffic.
Choose someone who you can communicate with easily.This is true of any contractor, but is especially important when you are hiring an expert. They should be able to work through problems and update you on progress in an effective way.
- Understand that SEO is a constantly changing industry. Strategies change as search engine algorithms change. Search engines are constantly trying to improve the search experience, and they try to penalize websites that are cutting corners.
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Video: How to Hire an SEO Expert to Drive More Search Traffic to Your Website
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