Ok, it’s settled. You finally decided to get your SEO efforts started for real. Time to call upon an SEO expert to help you get started. No more DIY SEO with Yoast or with some ancient advice you were given in a blog post years ago. It’s time to up your SEO game. Well, it’s decided, you go for it! You will call upon an SEO specialist. No more SEO DIY with Yoast or by following the advice you were given in a blog post 5 years ago. It is time to move on to the next phase. It is true that the field of organic SEO (référencement naturel in French if you want to sound fancy AF) has become so complex in recent years that it is better to leave a specialist in charge when you hesitate.
What to ask any SEO company
If you are looking for an SEO consultant, we have a first tip: aim local when it comes to SEO services. What do we mean when we recommend going with a local expert mean? Well, in our case, we work for clients around the world. The first question you should ask is: “what does an SEO specialist do?” If the person cannot summarize what they do in 1 to 3 sentences, that’s a red flag. A digital marketing agency may tell you that SEO is “included” in their bundle but that doesn’t mean they actually know how to optimize websites for Google.
Questions to ask if you are looking for an SEO consultant in Montreal, Luxembourg, Zurich or another bilingual city
However, in cases like Québec, a French SEO expert in France would not be able to do the job properly. The words are still French but they are not the same. Search intent is different, habits are different, etc. So be aware that you may need to go local. The important thing is to always make sure that your expert understands the local Web landscape to give you the best advice. You need someone who has local SEO expert knowledge.
Proven track record: hire an SEO profesionnal who’s seen some sh*t
If you are going to hire an SEO consultant (or work with an agency), you should always aim to work with someone that has at least some experience in the field. A junior mistake can be disastrous when it comes to search engines. Many experts are improvised or do not keep up to date. Indeed, the first one I ask when I am told that a specialist has been doing SEO for 10 years is: “Does he practice SEO as he did 10 years ago or has he been evolving in this field for 10 years while keeping up to date?
Any freelance SEO specialist should have at least 3 years of experience
Ideally, you should aim for someone who has at least 3 years of experience in site optimization for search engines. This means that the person is at least intermediate. Now, if you want to do business with a consultant rather than an agency, it is advisable to target someone with at least 5 years of experience to ensure that the expert will not return to the agency or accept a job offer. Indeed, it is important to know that many consultants in Montreal return to an employer after one or two years. You don’t want to do business with someone who’s going to let you down along the way!
On the other hand, it is also important to avoid SEO experts who rely on outdated techniques or who are penalized by search engines. It can cost you a lot of visibility and traffic if they trigger a penalty. A good SEO specialist can implement different types of strategies depending on the situation. You have to know how to adapt in this field rather than applying the same recipe like a robot.
The years of experience will also have brought their share of situations and site types in various industries. An SEO expert must be able to understand your business area in order to conduct appropriate SEO campaigns. Want to know more about our experience? Contact us!
Passion + pertinence over silver bullets
The world of SEO is constantly evolving. This means that a good consultant must have a real interest and be passionate about search engine marketing in general. When you have a good knowledge of SEO trends, you can predict what will happen fairly easily. Then you can use this knowledge to give your customers an edge over the competition.
An SEO expert must be armed with so much knowledge in his field that he can offer you different ways to achieve the same objective. Of course, this requires experience but also passion. Having so much knowledge about their field that they can find multiple methods to achieve a goal. Of course, it takes experience, but to really have an advantage, you also need passion.
Get someone you understand
You can have the best experience in the world, if you don’t communicate it well, it’s almost useless. You have to be sure that your SEO expert will be able to explain key concepts to you, the customer. Never underestimate the importance of understanding what your expert is telling you. If you do not understand what is said at the initial meeting, ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask! If despite your questions, you are still not convinced of the SEO consultant’s communication skills… it is time to look for another one! If a growth marketer can’t explain major algorithm updates that impact online businesses, you are talking to the wrong person.
Many companies make the mistake of hiring the best candidates “on paper”, only to find that they are very uncommunicative or even completely absent. This can lead to a SEO strategy that doesn’t really meet your needs (and a lot of frustrations).
Is the SEO Approach Tailored to Your Company?
Sometimes being a good communicator is not enough. Your SEO specialist must also be in line with your corporate culture. It is sometimes better to work with the candidate who is more suited to your corporate culture than the SEO rockstar. If you hire or retain someone who does not fit well with your corporate culture, this could lead to many problems in the future.
For example, it is not desirable for your SEO specialist to leave the company before the end of his contract. This wastes time, money and energy that have been put into forming this resource. On the other hand, hiring someone who does not fit your corporate culture could also lead to workplace disputes, resulting in huge losses in productivity and motivation.
When you talk to a candidate, you should always make sure that he or she has the skills they will need to do the job. But you should also make sure they get along well with the people they will be working with during their stay in the company.
What SEO tools are they using?
Do you have specific tools in mind for your SEO specialist? There is a wide range of available options on the market. In this case, you must ensure that they have experience in using these specific tools. Or you should be willing to give them the time they need to learn how to use them. One of the tools we use a lot because it is cheaper than competition and just as effective is SERPStat. However, we have experience in the most commonly used SEO tools: Ahrefs, Moz, SEMRush, etc. It is impossible these days to do SEO effectively without a suite of paid tools.
Bonus : Need a Yoast SEO Expert ?
If you work with specific plugins like Yoast SEO or SEO Press for example, you must find someone who knows that tool. It’s important because you will need specific advice from someone who knows exactly how to use your WordPress plugin. If you use Wix or Shopify, you must also find someone who knows how your specific CMS works. Ask about that before you sign a contract.
Understanding the Big Marketing Picture
Some SEO specialists are geniuses when it comes to organic SEO, but they have a poor knowledge of marketing. Ideally, you want your SEO specialist to have a good knowledge of marketing theory and techniques. Understanding the psychological aspect of marketing is just as important as making sure your website contains all the keywords you need.
SEO content must not only make your page appear on Google, but it must also keep readers’ attention once they enter the page. A good SEO specialist can create a page that is not only a success on Google, but is also great from a marketing point of view.
Proof That Their Search Engine Optimization Works
When you hire a specialist to support search engine optimization, you need to look for someone who has a proven track record. What results have they achieved for their clients? Have they proven their ability to help increase conversions? Or get companies the online visibility they need?
Whenever you do an interview, be sure to focus on past results. SEO knowledge is easy to obtain nowadays, but getting results isn’t that easy. Proof is in the pudding as they say. Be sure to ask for and follow up on references. But make sure to be mindful of the fact that some SEOs cannot legally share their customers’ data for contractual and confidentiality reasons.
Can they work well with your web developers?
If you want to hire only one SEO expert, make sure you go with someone that understands the technical aspects of SEO. This expert should be able to speak to developers and make sure that key concepts are communicated properly. They must be able to work closely with your web developers. SEO does require some programming knowledge. Since your web developers need to work with SEO on a regular basis, you need to ensure that they also have the opportunity to approve the profile you want to embed in the project.
Take your time before hiring a local SEO expert (freelancer or employee). Finding the right search engine optimization specialist can take time. Do not rush making a choice or you could end up in a situation that it counter-productive. You need to find the right candidate or company to support you in your web marketing efforts.