How to Hire an SEO Expert

how to hire an seo expert

Table of Contents

You may be thinking: “If SEO is such an important marketing strategy, then we should all be SEO experts, right?”

SEO should indeed be integral to any business that could benefit from an online presence (these days, that’s almost all businesses). And yes, every business owner should learn the basics of SEO and its business value

But it takes time and lots of hands-on experience to become an SEO expert. Your time is best spent on developing holistic marketing strategies and finding the right people to help you scale your campaigns. 

You also want someone with experience outside of your brand. When you’re too close to your business, you miss opportunities that an expert outsider would see.

You achieve so much more by working with a good SEO consultant who understands your company, your audience, and the digital marketing space. That’s why your best next move is to find someone who’s a good fit for your company’s marketing goals.

how to hire an SEO expert

The 5 Steps for How to Hire an SEO Expert 

1. Understand the value of SEO for your business  

Before you begin your search for an SEO expert, take time to learn how SEO transforms your company. Look at relevant case studies of companies in your industry that enjoy great returns from investing in SEO.

When people have a problem, the first and easiest step they take is to Google it. Search engines give such excellent and instant solutions that we always do a web search to find the best restaurants around us, learn how to DIY a minor home repair, and even how to hire an SEO expert.

Your ideal customers – the people who have the very problem your company solves – are searching the web for answers, too. SEO allows you to reach them at their moment of need. SEO helps them get to know your company, evaluate if your product is a good fit for their needs, and eventually pay for your service. All of these happen while your company is busy expanding their product line, meeting with potential partners, or finding opportunities to grow.

Once you understand how much impact SEO brings, it’s time to search for a consultant with the experience and expertise to wield its full potential and boost your marketing efforts.

Let’s discover how exactly SEO helps you grow your company. Get in touch and let’s find the best ways to improve your brand visibility and online reach.

2. Look for someone with proven results

This is the part of your search where you really must be critical. Anyone can call themselves an “SEO expert”, so you have to be discerning.

Start by writing a clear job description specifying your desired results. Don’t focus on just increasing traffic to your business website – you want an SEO expert who improves the quality of your online visibility and reach. Look for an expert who tackles SEO and online marketing holistically.

When you screen your SEO applicants, look at their results. Ask for case studies and a description of the overall business impact of their strategies. Ask for references and talk to a few of their previous clients to see how your applicant’s SEO strategies have helped other businesses improve and sustain their online marketing efforts.

Look for someone who is a good fit for your company. Have they done SEO work within the same industry? Ideally, you want someone who has done industry-specific SEO but also has experience in other sectors. This gives them a unique viewpoint and a diverse skill set that help them tackle SEO challenges creatively and tactically.

3. Get to know them during a free discovery call

A good SEO expert requests a discovery call to understand your needs and identify your goals. 

Discovery works both ways. The call should feel like a collaboration and not a sales pitch or a laundry list of SEO tactics. Every company has unique characteristics and opportunities. No one SEO strategy works for every company all the time. A good SEO consultant develops a personalized approach to every business.

On my discovery calls with potential clients, I always try to get a good grasp of their business and marketing objectives. As an SEO consultant, it’s my job to give the best-fit strategy to companies I work with. While I have SEO systems and best practices that I always refer to when developing and executing my strategy, creativity and adaptability play a massive role in finding growth opportunities.

After all, SEO’s ultimate goal should not be just to increase traffic – it’s to grow a business’s impact and income. The discovery call gives both my potential clients and me a chance to see how we can work together and complement each other’s strengths.

When an SEO lets you outline your goals and pains at the moment, then it means they want to know more about your company and your existing marketing strategies. Take advantage of the free discovery calls to learn more about these SEOs you shortlisted. Are they skilled enough and committed to help you scale your marketing efforts?

4. Align your budget with their deliverables 

After the discovery calls, you now have a shortlist of SEO experts who have the potential to boost and scale your marketing efforts. Now it’s time to find a person who fits your objectives and your budget.

Businesses at different stages have different SEO needs. Go with an SEO expert who can scale their deliverables to your needs and resources. At the same time, don’t ask for too much for too little. Be realistic about your budget and what an SEO expert can do with it. With good initial results, you can then scale and allot more resources to your SEO project.

Ask for fees and payment terms – will the consultant be paid hourly, by retainer, or by project?

As an SEO consultant, I find working with clients on a retainer basis to be the best arrangement. This is the best way to develop a long-term SEO strategy that grows their businesses steadily and within their marketing budgets.

5. Outline your expectations

One last step before you sign the contract: make sure you and your SEO expert are on the same page. Are you working towards the same goals?

Be wary of SEO experts that guarantee your business will rank at the top of search engines. No one can guarantee specific results because SEO relies on so many factors that are outside our control. 

Experienced SEO experts usually under-promise and over-deliver. I personally want you to have realistic expectations of the impact of SEO and a clear timeline on when to expect results. That’s why with my clients, I always start with strategy development. I spend up to a month (depending on the project scope) to outline a personalized SEO plan and summarize my process. I give an estimate of the overall investment and the expected business impact. Because SEO works best in conjunction with other digital marketing techniques, I also make recommendations on optimizing their online marketing strategies to best increase their visibility and reach.

Also ask your applicant about their long-term strategy. Quick wins are great, of course, but when you’re outlining your expectations, make sure to think long-term. 

For my clients, I develop SEO strategies built to scale and be sustainable, even when my engagement with a company ends. I also educate and train point team members of the company’s marketing department so that SEO becomes an integral part of their business processes.

One last thing to consider before you commit to an SEO expert is if their approach fits your needs or if they can adapt to your management style. Ask them:

  • How do they plan to measure the success of their SEO campaigns?
  • How will you know if you are on track to achieve your business goals? Will they send you monthly progress updates and reports?
  • How will you communicate, and how often?

In my experience, twice-monthly strategy and check-in calls have been great in keeping my client and I aligned to our long-term goals. Working with a client who knows the basics and business value of SEO also improves my ability to tackle SEO projects creatively and sustainably. That’s why client education is a big part of my strategy.

About the Author

Adriana Stein is an Online Marketing Consultant based in Hamburg, Germany. Originally from the US, she is a native English speaker and specializes in helping companies with their SEO & content marketing strategies, along with graphic design, brand copy and website development.​

Real people, real results, real international market growth

“Working with the AS Marketing team has been a pleasure. The team was able to not only craft a content and email marketing strategy to help us reach our goals, but also to lead us throughout the whole implementation process with dedication and expertise. I would highly recommend them to any company looking to up its game in content marketing.”

Tobias Arns

Chief Marketing Officer, Kindly

“AS Marketing has been very helful in developing and executing our SEO content plan. Before working with her, we didn’t know how to approach our content marketing in an efficient and cost-effective way. But from day 1, Adriana gave us a concrete plan that was really centered on the needs of our customers. Thanks to her, our organic traffic continues to increase, and with that, our user base and revenue. We’ve never worked with an SEO consultant like her before with suck a holistic and customer-centric approach to marketing.”

Anja Zschörnig

VP of Marketing, Loyalty Prime

“With the launch of the new company, we were looking for an agency to place us effectively. We started working with AS Marketing, and so far, it has been really good. Not having to micromanage the project was one of the key advantages of working with them. While it’s only been 6 months, I am sure we will have our desired results in a year. AS Marketing delivers regular content and audits, so we know we are on the right truck.

Kanika Choudhary

Brand Marketing Manager, Restructum

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