If your company has an online presence, chances are you’ve heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Through SEO, you can plan how to bring your company higher on the search charts and drive more traffic to your website. This helps build brand recognition and boosts sales.
Yet, figuring out how to navigate the SEO waters can be tricky. There are formulas, acronyms, analytics, jargon, and more. This can make finding success more confusing and complicated than it should be. But the good news is you don’t have to do it alone.
Today, we’re taking a look at how to find the best SEO expert for your business.
Leaving your SEO strategy in the hands of an expert isn’t just good business sense. It could also save you tons of valuable time and money in the long run. Your teams are then free to focus on what they do best, without worrying if their SEO efforts are paying off.
Consider this: Retail studies show that 82% of customers consult the Internet before making a purchase. As such, optimizing your search rankings is one of the most effective ways to make sure yours is the name they see first when conducting their online research.
When you’ve made the decision to outsource all or a portion of these SEO services to an outside expert, you’ll want to be sure you’re choosing an SEO consultant who’s not only well-versed in SEO. You’ll also need someone who is qualified, certified, and experienced enough to be the best SEO expert for your needs.
Not sure where to get started? That’s why we’re here. Let’s dive right in!
Before you can find the best SEO expert, you need to make sure you’re attracting the right kind of applicant.
Begin by considering the level of SEO help you need. Not sure? Think about how much competition your business is up against. Is the market saturated with similar offerings or are you a standout in a new or niche market?
If you answered affirmatively on the former, you may need to boost your SEO efforts significantly. In this case, an SEO company or SEO agency can deliver the team of experts you need to help your company shine. Yet, if your SEO efforts are smaller scale, an individual SEO consultant may fit the bill.
It goes without saying that you’ll need someone who’s worked in the SEO field and is comfortable with the environment. The best SEO expert will be someone who’s been immersed in SEO long enough to recognize trends and understand new algorithms. This means he or she will know how to steer your company toward the tools that will prove the most valuable.
To this end, experience cannot be overstressed during the applicant review process. It can even trump credentials and certification because hands-on time spent behind the screen working with SEO is invaluable.
An experienced professional can help your company cater its SEO strategy across departments. He or she will also be familiar with local SEO and other strategies designed to help consumers find and frequent your business. On the other hand, someone new to the game might try to apply the same formulas across every sector, which could result in some areas that are vastly stronger than other.
A form of search engine optimization has been around since the mid-1990s when website creators began optimizing their sites to show up in early online search engines. Yet, as a defined practice, SEO has been around a far shorter time. As such, though you may be able to find someone with a decade or more of SEO experience, as a rule of thumb, 3-5 years is a solid amount to consider when looking for the best SEO expert.
While the “References” section is often near the end of an applicant’s resume, it should be top of mind here.
With the proliferation of SEO strategy across the web, there is an abundance of information available to read, research, and digest on the topic. This means that almost anyone who comes in for an interview will probably be able to wax poetic about keywords, title tags, and meta descriptions.
Yet, the best SEO expert won’t just talk the talk. He or she will also have solid work samples, robust references, and a client history that speaks for itself. When you get that reference list, make sure to use it. Contact past employers to see if the level of value and ROI they found in the applicant’s SEO efforts.
While they might not be able to provide direct statistics, they should be able to tell you if they saw an improvement in their search engine rankings and online traffic. You can use this data to help drive and influence your hiring decision.
Open-ended questions such as “Tell me a little about yourself” help companies gauge an applicant’s personality and background. Yet, they can only reveal so much about an applicant’s skill set and corporate goals.
As part of the hiring process, consider asking applicants to review your current digital platform. Then, ask them to discuss their ideas on how to improve it with SEO. This quick audit is a more direct way to determine if they have the knowledge and background necessary to take your teams to the next level. It’s also a great way to see who can think on their feet!
Require them to be specific. Ask them to give you a timeline on when they believe you can begin to see a difference in your search engine rankings and number of website visitors.
Be sure to listen for both “on-page” strategies (those that deal with page-related content, such as internal linking and tagging). Then, listen for “off-page” ones (those that deal with promoting your website on other platforms, such as blogs and social media). Both should be included to make sure you’re getting the total package.
One key strategy to listen for when they’re detailing their proposed methods? Their method for building backlinks. Backlinks are essential to driving traffic back to your website. They are also important to boost its rating for performance and popularity. The best SEO expert won’t just discuss ways to improve your website.
He or she will also be able to share how your backlink program can be optimized to organically build up your company as a thought leader in its space.
“I can get you a top ranking on Google in three months.”
That sort of promise might sound encouraging at first. Yet, the truth is that even the best SEO expert can’t guarantee that sort of success. In reality, only the Big Three search engines (Google, Bing, and Yahoo) can adjust how high a website ranks.
Rather than looking for an applicant who assures success, look instead for one with a rock-solid plan to analyze it.
You applicant should be able to speak freely on how he or she will measure the website traffic you receive each month. Then, there should be a plan on how to use those insights to drive stronger, more effective SEO strategies. Whether using Google Analytics or other software, the applicant should have a list of measures to investigate.
These will include (but are not limited to) how many web pages are linking back to yours, how users are searching for and finding your site, and how your site is faring on the search engine scales.
As with any other hire, you’ll want to be sure the SEO professional you hire will be a natural and seamless fit with the other employees on your teams. Your SEO expert will interact on an almost daily basis with myriad departments, from marketing to IT support. So it’s important to make sure their personality and business approach are aligned with your work environment.
Someone may be a rockstar in terms of credentials and experience. Yet, even the best SEO expert can prove wrong for your company if he or she doesn’t mesh well with the employees that keep your wheels turning.
Look for someone who works well with others, is team-oriented, and is willing to adapt and adjust to existing best practices and protocol. One way to determine these elements? Include such questions in your conversations with the reference list.
If you’re ready to take the next step toward a stronger and more successful SEO strategy, I’d love to help. I’m an SEO expert and B2B marketing consultant who helps small and mid-size businesses generate more leads and sales and grow revenue online. I offer expert advice on marketing your company the right way through performance-based digital marketing, web design, social media, search engine marketing and many other online practices.
If you are looking for a professional SEO expert in Toronto or Canada to take your website to the next level, look no further. I’ve been creating and implementing SEO campaigns to improve rankings, traffic and sales for small and medium-sized businesses since 2009.
I specialize in organic and local SEO, content marketing, conversion rate optimization, SEO strategy, keyword research, inbound marketing and link building.
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