The majority of SEO consultants are a scam. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to avoid paying someone who won’t really do much for your website rankings. I’ve heard plenty horror stories from small to mid-sized business owners who have wasted thousands of dollars on companies who have guaranteed higher rankings but with no result. I often get the question, “How do I hire a SEO consultant?” Here are some things you need to know when picking the right person for your business’ website.
Educate Yourself on Local SEO
You should start educating yourself on SEO before searching for the right firm. Amazon.com has dozens of good books on the subject, and Search Engine Optimization Secrets by Danny Dover is one of my favorites. It may also be valuable to you depending on your existing knowledge of the subject. Many people invest in SEO without understanding what they’re actually buying, so they’re buying while crossing their fingers and hoping for a good turnout. The best strategy is to understand what you should receive with a reliable SEO firm, so you can check up on them to see what they’re doing with your dollars.
Look for Specialized SEO Services
Sure, the majority of SEO companies are a scam; there are some good firms out there, and some of the better firms focus on particular geographic areas, business sizes, and industry niches. For instance, Noggin focuses on improving the digital presence of small to mid-sized business owners in the St. Louis metro area. A local SEO consultant has a lot of benefits.
Understand What the SEO Consultant Provides
A lot of SEO consultants blind their services with the “science you don’t understand” mantra. The subject of SEO itself isn’t rocket science and fairly easy to understand. Most business owners hire these consultants because of the labor involved with ranking higher on search engines. If you’ve been reading this blog, you understand that SEO is time-consuming and labor intensive. For example, if the firm says they’ll get you X amount of blog links a month, you should be prepared to ask them some questions. Are the blog links follow or no-follow links? Are the blogs themselves indexed by Google? How many links will I be getting? Are the links from places of high authority? Don’t be the person who’s buying something that costs a lot and has little weight on Google's algorithms.
Know What the SEO Firm Expects from You
Many business owners have signed up for SEO programs that do little work for them. Over time, they realize the firm they hired is telling them what to do instead of doing the work. Some of the emails say, “Here are some good places to get links from.” Or, some of them say, “You should be using keywords like ‘St. Louis painter’ in your on-site content.” Remember, a good SEO firm does the work and doesn’t tell you what you should do. There are plenty of blogs (like Noggin Bloggin) that explain what you should do, and they give you the information for free. Don’t pay for and SEO firm to tell you what to do.
Find a SEO Firm Who Provides Reports
A legitimate SEO firm should provide you with monthly reports that are easily digestible. By digestible, I mean useful information that you can understand. There’s no point in receiving reports with charts, graphs, and numbers that doesn’t make any sense to you. Millions of dollars have been spent on website optimization without knowing the results. Be sure to consult someone who is willing to have monthly meetings regarding report data.