Hiring an SEO Consultant? Ask These 9 Important Questions


The job of an search engine optimisation guide is to create and handle search engine optimisation duties to enhance an internet site’s efficiency in engines like google. All of this could finally result in rising the enterprise’s income.

Hiring an important search engine optimisation guide can skyrocket what you are promoting, as natural search is the principle site visitors supply for a lot of web sites. Alternatively, a improper rent can do plenty of hurt which will take a very long time to repair.

So what does it take to separate the wheat from the chaff? Ask your candidates the next 9 inquiries to make the correct hiring determination:

  1. What’s your track record of success?
  2. What do you do best?
  3. How much can your work impact my business?
  4. Do you guarantee the results of your SEO work?
  5. What’s your approach to Google’s SEO guidelines?
  6. What SEO tools do you use, and how do you use them?
  7. What does your SEO reporting look like?
  8. How much do you cost?
  9. How do you hand over the work when we part ways?

Let’s dive into every of them so that you’ll know what to search for in your candidates’ solutions.

What’s your monitor report of success?

There are 3 ways to return throughout a possible search engine optimisation guide:

  1. You get a reference.
  2. You get accustomed to them based mostly on their on-line and offline presence.
  3. They attain out to you, providing their providers.

If it’s the primary case and you actually belief the individual recommending the guide, be at liberty to skip many of the qualifying questions on this article. Nonetheless, for the second and third circumstances, it’s best to first deal with a candidate’s monitor report of success. And that may be tough generally, as folks typically current themselves in the perfect gentle doable.

So what’s tough right here? Let’s see an instance. Final 12 months, I used to be requested to guide an search engine optimisation workshop for one of many Massive 4 accounting corporations. If I had accepted, I’d have simply positioned its emblem on my web site and claimed the agency was my consumer. That might technically be true but in addition a bit deceiving (relating to my search engine optimisation consulting expertise).

Any search engine optimisation guide ought to have the ability to disclose just a few web sites they have been engaged on. Most consultants record just a few shoppers on their web sites. However this info isn’t usually adopted by testimonials or case research reflecting the consultants’ efficiency. In case you’re lacking this info, you possibly can nonetheless get it earlier than getting in contact with them.

You possibly can open Ahrefs’ Web site Explorer, plug in one of many web sites, and test the natural site visitors chart within the overview:

Overview 2.0 of Ahrefs' website

In case you see an upward pattern, then it’s a superb first signal. However all the time focus on just a few circumstances with the guide if you get in contact with them. They will inform you the durations once they labored for a sure consumer and even present the charts and numbers, as anybody can lookup the information.

Typically, you received’t see a lot progress or could query the efficiency in different methods. Let the guide justify their outcomes. search engine optimisation is a long-term sport, and also you hardly ever see any vital adjustments in natural site visitors within the first months of cooperation.

There’s no one-size-fits-all search engine optimisation guide. As an alternative, attempt to discover the perfect match for what you are promoting.

For instance, I reject all e‑commerce gives. E‑commerce search engine optimisation is a class by itself. I’ve by no means accomplished it, and there are numerous different consultants who can do a greater job for cheaper charges. I’ve all the time labored for SaaS companies, and that’s the place I can present essentially the most worth.

In addition to a normal data of promoting, an search engine optimisation guide must be good in any respect search engine optimisation disciplines (on-page, off-page, and technical). Nonetheless, only a few handle to be consultants in all of them, and that’s not needed. Some consultants deal with only one space like hyperlink constructing or technical search engine optimisation. They double down on their strengths and supply a distinct segment service. That’s a superb factor.

This query merely helps each side perceive if there’s a superb match between your wants and their focus, data, and experience.

How a lot can your work impression my enterprise?

There are just a few elements that come into play for estimating the potential impression of search engine optimisation on what you are promoting:

  • Natural site visitors potential – Is there a excessive search demand in what you are promoting class?
  • Advertising and marketing technique – How a lot ought to natural search be prioritized amongst different advertising channels?
  • Developer sources – Do your builders have the room to implement required adjustments in a well timed method?
  • Content material creator sources – Do you have got a group to supply search engine optimisation content material? If not, do you have got the required price range to rent freelancers?
  • Hyperlink builder/PR sources – Do you have got a hyperlink builder and/or PR specialist? If not, are you able to afford to rent them?

guide ought to assess all of those elements once they’re requested concerning the potential impression of their work. To be clear, don’t anticipate the guide to offer you any numbers at this stage. For now, your objective is to return to an settlement that investing in search engine optimisation is the correct selection.

Do you assure the outcomes of your search engine optimisation work?

If any search engine optimisation guide ensures their work will skyrocket your natural site visitorsrun. Sure, it is a dealbreaker.

Regardless of how good an search engine optimisation guide is, they will’t assure any ends in search engine optimisation. There are simply so many variables (rating elements) concerned. Sure, you’re hiring somebody to make a constructive impression, and there’s a excessive likelihood {that a} good guide will repay fairly shortly. However it’s by no means 100%, and also you’ll usually have to attend many months to see any constructive outcomes.

Right here’s one other instance. I acquired concerned in consulting for an internet site. It didn’t get again on monitor after being severely hit by Google’s algorithm replace regardless of having nice search engine optimisation consultants all alongside. I’ve discovered some new alternatives and helped repair just a few issues. However I can’t attribute any success to those efforts as a result of it nonetheless took one other six months for the natural site visitors pattern to look good once more:

Line graph showing gradual improvement of the website

An excessive instance of an internet site that was managed by nice search engine optimisation consultants however noticed its natural site visitors enhance solely after a very long time. Screenshot from Overview 2.0 report in Ahrefs’ Web site Explorer.

By the best way, the surge in site visitors occurred after one other algorithm replace. We, search engine optimisation consultants, have accomplished good work. It simply took plenty of time for the outcomes to kick in (nearly two years on this case).

What’s your strategy to Google’s search engine optimisation pointers?

There’s no proper reply. However leaning towards the extremes (doing every thing/nothing in keeping with Google) must be taken with warning.

Google has grow to be a lot better in search engine optimisation suggestions and documentation up to now few years. Nonetheless, each good search engine optimisation disagrees with Google’s pointers every now and then. Some greater than others.

For instance, the principle matter of disagreements between Google’s statements and SEOs is hyperlink constructing. What works in observe when constructing hyperlinks and what Google recommends are generally two utterly reverse approaches.

signal is listening to about just a few examples the place the guide disagrees with Google and why.

What search engine optimisation instruments do you employ, and the way do you employ them?

Each good search engine optimisation guide wants to make use of one of many three main all-in-one search engine optimisation toolsets: Ahrefs, Semrush, or Moz. Listening to one in all these manufacturers is an efficient begin for this query. Utilizing Google Search Console and Google Analytics is taken without any consideration.

Nonetheless, accessing the perfect search engine optimisation instruments is just the start. Let the guide inform you a bit about their processes. How do they audit an internet site? How do they discover hyperlink constructing alternatives? What about key phrase analysis?

There could be numerous proper or improper solutions on utilizing the instruments. In case you’re not an search engine optimisation skilled, you received’t have the ability to choose them. However regardless of the solutions are, they need to construct extra confidence and rapport.

What does your search engine optimisation reporting look like?

You possibly can simply inform a superb search engine optimisation guide from a foul one based mostly on their search engine optimisation reviews. If they supply an instance report, right here’s what it’s best to look out for. report is concise and simple to undergo; you must also perceive the gist of it in a couple of minutes. Right here’s an instance of a superb slide taken from my search engine optimisation report template:

Powerpoint slide containing key highlights of the SEO progress

However most consultants received’t ship you different shoppers’ reviews as a consequence of non-disclosure agreements and delicate information. Inquiring about their search engine optimisation reporting course of is the second-best selection right here.

What to search for right here particularly? Effectively, see in the event that they speak about search engine optimisation KPIs and the way they strategy them. That’s a lifeless giveaway. You need to hear about metrics tied to what you are promoting progress. These are, most universally, natural conversions and share of voice (search visibility).

Beware that natural site visitors progress alone shouldn’t be a KPI except you monetize all of your web site site visitors utilizing show promoting networks.


What I’m speaking about right here solely applies to hiring somebody for total search engine optimisation session. In case you’re hiring a hyperlink builder or a technical search engine optimisation, then they in all probability can’t tie any of their metrics to what you are promoting progress instantly.

One other essential factor is the mix of knowledge sources. Each good search engine optimisation guide ought to create reviews by combining metrics from Google Search Console, Google Analytics (or options), and impartial search engine optimisation toolsets like Ahrefs. That’s as a result of each instrument has its distinctive information. Additionally, some metrics are simply extra correct in a single instrument than one other.

It’s greatest to have some pricing estimates as quickly as doable in order that neither aspect wastes time. Some consultants disclose their charges publicly, however you all the time want a quote in your particular wants.

You’ll principally encounter three kinds of pricing:

  • Hourly charge – That is essentially the most easy pricing mannequin. It’s the most typical one within the Czech Republic (the place I reside). However it’s not so standard within the West, in keeping with my observations.
  • Undertaking-based pricing – That is most probably for use in case you want search engine optimisation assist in a sure space for a shorter interval of time.
  • Month-to-month retainer – That is standard for long-term cooperations. You agree on a block of time the guide will present every month to what you are promoting and the way a lot it’ll value you.

Some consultants use all three pricing fashions, whereas others follow only one. You must also speak concerning the minimal contract size and fee phrases.

search engine optimisation is usually a profitable occupation, so anticipate the perfect consultants to be fairly costly. On prime of that, it’s possible the demand is increased than what they will meet, so some consultants are choosy about new shoppers.

In fact, the pricing will drastically differ relying on the nation. Within the U.S. (and different nations with a excessive buying energy parity), it’s best to anticipate to pay not less than $100 per hour to get a stable search engine optimisation guide. To rent the perfect English-speaking consultants, you possibly can anticipate to be charged $200+ hourly charges.

Advisable studying: search engine optimisation Pricing: ~350 Businesses, Consultants, and Freelancers Reveal How A lot search engine optimisation Prices

How do you hand over the work after we half methods?

You received’t work along with your guide ceaselessly. Any guide ought to attempt to do their greatest at hand over their work and guarantee a straightforward transition if you rent somebody new. You need to make sure your guide will do that.

Truly, one of many first issues any good guide ought to ask you initially of your cooperation is your search engine optimisation historical past. Has anybody already accomplished key phrase analysis? Is there a content material plan? What a couple of record containing the statuses of technical search engine optimisation points and alternatives? Hyperlink prospecting and outreach lists? What do your previous reviews appear like? What has been accomplished and why?

You see, there’s a ton of data and information you possibly can present to your new guide that may save money and time. It might additionally reveal potential points which will hinder your search engine optimisation efficiency.


Just remember to personal your information and don’t grant admin entry to folks outdoors of your group. I’ve heard horror tales about consultants and even businesses that created or overtook Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts after which refused at hand over the entry.

Ultimate ideas

Judging the experience of a possible search engine optimisation guide isn’t simple if you’re not accustomed to search engine optimisation your self. However you possibly can very effectively assess their communication abilities based mostly on the 9 questions above.

In the event that they don’t clarify the search engine optimisation stuff with ease, simply say “it relies upon” with out going into extra particulars, or give iffy solutions that simply don’t really feel proper, you’re in all probability higher off hiring another person.

So the place do you discover the perfect consultants? It might be tempting to make use of Google as a result of, effectively, rating on the prime should imply that it’s good at search engine optimisation, proper? Sure, however you’ll be lacking out on probably higher suits. In spite of everything, there are far more nice consultants than prime search outcomes.

I like to recommend you ask individuals who have employed search engine optimisation consultants up to now, your social circles, or search engine optimisation consultants. Even in case you don’t rent them for search engine optimisation consulting, they may help you with some suggestions.

Any questions? Or extra concepts to qualify search engine optimisation consultants? Ping me on Twitter.