Things to Look Into When Choosing An SEO Specialist
If your business goes digital, SEO can be a defining key to decide whether your business is going to thrive or flop instead. The problem is, working on your SEO requires money as a start. And then, you still also need to give it a time before you get to see the results.
With so much money and time to spend, a failed result may significantly harm your business. Instead of going forward, such bad luck may bring your business a few steps backward for losing valuable resources. You can't take such a high risk for your business. With proper consideration, you can lower the risk.
Not all SEO specialists are the same. Even if you hire the best SEO specialist in the country, it doesn't guarantee your success. Instead, you might lose a lot of money for their hefty fees, but not get any significant revenue.
What to Look Into
You need to find one that suits your business situation the most to make the investment most efficient. There are many factors to consider for this. If you are not careful enough, the money and time you spend on this might go to waste instead. Now, here are the things you need to look into from each potential candidate and compare with each other:
There are many questions you can ask to measure how skilled the team is. Here are a few ideas:
If your website is still rather new and simple, you might not need any specialist with high expertise. But if you have specific issues or expectations, you might need to find someone who knows how to do it. For example, if you plan to improve your SEO on Yandex, you need to hire an SEO expert in that platform in particular.
Usually, longer experiences constitute finer skill and higher reliability. But, experience is more than just about how long they have been practicing on the field. It is also about how good they were at doing their tasks.
Ask your potential SEO specialists to show you their portfolio. You can judge their skill based on seeing how complex the projects they have worked on are. If your website is pretty simple, there is no need to hire an SEO specialist experienced in avant-garde websites.
A new company with little to no reputation doesn't mean that it is a bad company. Even so, choosing a well-known one is the safest way to go because you can lower your risk of getting terrible service. Because a poor SEO is worse than no SEO at all, then you might not want to gamble your luck on a company you can't fully trust.
You can check out your potential vendor's ratings through online directories like Yelp or Angi. If you are hiring an individual, check out their ratings on the platform you hire them through. You can also ask your friends or family for recommendations if possible.
Search engine webmasters usually have strict guidelines about websites to submit. Make sure your SEO specialists understand and abide by the rules. Even more than that, they also need to get themselves updated because algorithms keep changing from time to time.
You better not believe it if they say they can do tricks to game the system. Chances are those tricks will play out just for a while before getting detected, and your website gets penalties from these later on.
Ask them to look at your existing website and let you know what they have in mind. A professional SEO expert will use tools to analyze your pages, so you can expect a thorough examination of your website.
They should be able to identify the problems you have on your website without you having to point them out. Furthermore, they should even know which area that they can improve for a better performance of your website. The more detailed their inspection, the better.
You deserve to know the strategy they plan to do your SEO, especially the changes they will make on your website. Don't hire any SEO experts with secret tactics or straight-up saying fishy things like "I know an insider on Google who can boost your rank". If they can't let you know what they are going to do, you shouldn't trust them to do it.
Strategy is probably one of the most vital points to consider. It shows the quality of work. Try comparing the plans and strategies from several candidates to make a thoughtful decision. Usually, the most elaborate and detailed strategy will deliver the most impressive outcome.
Payment is a crucial thing. Everything about the payment should be clear before you start the contract. Many contracts fell into a tangled dispute due to vague terms on their contracts. Hence, don't hesitate to communicate any queries to avoid misunderstanding.
Besides the total charge, your vendor should provide a breakdown of the costs. This way, you can add or subtract some tasks as necessary. You also need to discuss when to issue the payment. Usually, the clients pay in terms; 25% when the project starts, 50% after it finishes, and the remaining 25% after reviewing and editing.
Make sure to get everything written detailedly on the paper signed by both parties. Otherwise, you wouldn't get a legal standing in times of trouble.
Having a schedule is just as vital as the payment. A delay in the SEO project means another delay to get a traffic boost, which further delays revenue generation. It may hurt your business, especially if you invest a lot of money in SEO improvement.
A professional should have an elaborate schedule for every little task they plan to do. You also need to discuss the possibility of project delays, so you can spare some time to tolerate the schedule. If a company has a bad reputation for repetitive delays, you might want to avoid hiring them.
Providing a warranty means a company is responsible for what they deliver. If the results were not as satisfying as they promised, you can make them accountable. Scam SEO companies will never offer a warranty because their incredible submission will start falling apart after a while.
Nonetheless, when a company gives you a warranty, make sure to have it written and signed. Professional companies even have detailed terms about their warranty, such as which types of failure and error do they cover and which are not.
There are many times a project goes chaotic due to misunderstanding or failed communication between two parties. Therefore, maintaining proper communication is a must. If a candidate is difficult to have a discussion with, it might be better to move on to the next potential vendor.
Your vendor needs to listen and understand the expectations you set for the project. They should also provide timely updates about their progress, or at least answer when asked. Any changes of plans or unexpected issues also require a proper discussion between the two parties.
Know what to expect at the end of the project. You can't gamble your money on things that "we'll see how it plays out". There should be clear targets to achieve, so you can consider whether it would be worth it or not to invest in. Also, ask them what consequence entails if they failed to deliver the outcome as promised. Get it written down on the contract so you know they are not just scamming you.
When discussing expected results, it is more than just about what you will get at the end of the project. But, your SEO specialist should also have an estimation in mind on when you can start to notice the results.
12. Special Advantages
Some companies, or individuals, offer a unique trait that no other vendors do. It could be something beneficial for your business. For example, there are SEO experts who offer free notifications every time there is an algorithm change in search engines.
Hiring an SEO specialist would help you a lot in this process. However, it doesn't mean that you can just let them work by themselves. You still have to supervise them and make sure they are always on the right track. Take action immediately if you notice something goes off of the plan. After all, this is the website they work on. You can't risk a project messing up your whole business.
After Finishing the Contract
If you are running a website, you might need an SEO specialist again in the future. And, it will be much easier if it is the same party that handles your SEO. Hiring new vendors every time is more likely inefficient.
Thus, you need to carefully evaluate the one you have hired previously to judge whether you should hire them again next time. Now, here are your guidelines about it:
The goal of SEO is getting your pages ranked up, generating more traffic, and converting more leads. Here are the most important parameters you need to evaluate. Of course, you also need to watch out for other things as well, such as bounce rate, dwell time, and social sharing. It is also important to notice whether the improvement is growing, stagnant, or even decreasing in time.
Did they even bother to evaluate or was it you who reviewed it by yourself? And when things didn't go as initially expected, what did they do about it? If your vendor offered a warranty, how much can you rely on them? Being responsible means they are reliable, as you wouldn't need to spend much time supervising them. In the long term, dealing with irresponsible vendors will do more harm than good.
Indeed, you can't expect to notice the results instantly. But, you need to calculate how long it takes for the approach to start showing. If your SEO specialist has given you an estimation before, see if their prediction comes true. Patience is necessary, but sticking to a schedule is crucial. If the results come out longer than predicted, at least your SEO specialist should analyze them to find the reasons.
The most crucial aspect of this is communication. If you can communicate properly with your SEO expert, then you are halfway already. Other than that, you also need to consider their professionalism, discipline, work habits, and any other thing that may impact your business dynamic.
After evaluating the results, you can ask yourself whether the money you spent on your SEO specialist was worth the results you earned. You can even go further by calculating the profit increase to see if it pays off the investment you initiated. Is it possible to get the same or even better boost from other vendors with lower rates?
If your answers imply that it is worth it to spend that much for that specific time, then maybe you can consider hiring them again for next time. But the problem is, does your company still have the budget for it? Sometimes, an SEO project can be so thorough and effective that you only need minor touch-ups every once in a while. For such a case, a less experienced SEO specialist might be enough.
Even if you have been careful in choosing the SEO specialist to work on your website, you can't just let them work all by themselves without supervision. Even more, you need constant evaluation on them, especially if plan to rehire them again next time.
Indeed, it is more ideal to have the same SEO specialist to handle your website in long term. But sometimes, you may need to change your vendor to fit your situation better.