How to find a good SEO consultant? Tips to hire a good SEO expert

Do not rush making a choice or you could end up in a situation that it counter-productive.
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July 5, 2023

Questions to ask an SEO expert before you hire them.

Ok, it's settled. You finally decided to get your SEO efforts started for real. Search engine rankings are now something you care about. Time to call upon an SEO expert to help you get started. 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) has become so complex in recent years. 

There are quite a few questions that you should ask SEO professionals you meet before you make your decision. The first question you should ask is: "what does an SEO specialist do?" If the person cannot present the basics of SEO to a non-expert in a sentence or two, this could be a red flag. A digital marketing agency may tell you that SEO is simply an "add-on service" which may be a red flag.  They may or may not actually know how to optimize websites for Google.

Questions to ask a professional SEO consultant

Your SEO Consultant Myriam
SEO Consultant: Myriam Jessier

If you want to find the right fit for your business, you need to figure out how to evaluate each potential SEO consultant by asking the right questions. 

International SEO is different

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 a quality SEO consultant needs to understand your market(s). You need someone who has local SEO expert knowledge.

Proven track record: a skilled SEO consultant has seen some sh*t

Looking to hire top-rated SEO consultants is not always the best way to go about things. Aim to hire someone who has experience in the field. A junior mistake can be very costly. You need someone who keeps up-to-date and is able to answer any questions you, as a business owner, may have. 

They 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 SEO industry 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.

Make sure you understand the process

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 most reputable SEO consultant, 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). 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.

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? Make sure to be mindful of the fact that some SEOs cannot legally share their customers' data for contractual and confidentiality reasons.

Technical SEO issues? What you should look for in a technical SEO specialist

Here are a few questions you can ask them:

  • Do you have experience with our CMS (Shopify, Wix, Magento, WordPress, etc.)?
  • What are the most common technical issues that you have encountered?
  • How do you handle these issues?

This expert should be able to speak to developers and make sure that key concepts are communicated properly.

Look for someone who shows an ability to work closely with web developers. 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.

How much does it cost to hire a SEO?

It depends. You can find some folks offering SEO starting $80 an hour in Montreal for example while some highly specialized and experienced experts can cost around $300 an hour. You need to figure out a few things with the price you get: is it a bundle? How many months are you signing up for? If you pay by the hour, do you save a lot of time and money by talking to a senior expert? How would it compare to a cheaper consultant? 

We hope this was useful!

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. Find out more about Myrian Jessier. ‚Äć

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