9 questions to ask a SEO Consultant.

SEO is such a buzzword these days, and SEO is ever-changing with Search Engine updates, how do you know if you are getting a SEO Consultant of good repute?

There are a few questions you can ask a SEO Consultant to give you an idea of the quality of work you can expect.

1.Get referrals and testimonials.

SEO is not just about ranking on Search Engines it is also about the user experience. Firstly look at websites you think work, is the information is easily available, is it is easy to navigate and is the website continually updated? Email or contact the web owner for a referral to their Design Company or SEO Consultant.  That way you know the quality of work already. If you would prefer just to hire, ask the SEO Consultant for a list of clients for whom they have done optimisation work, so you can see for yourself!

2. Ask about how they go about improving your rankings

SEO consultants won’t delve into details about exactly how they go about improving a website’s rankings. However they should be open to telling you a few points on SEO such as:

  • Onsite SEO – make sure your labeling is correct, whether it be your images or your meta tags. Creating fresh content
  • Offsite SEO – How they build links to your site.

3. Keywords

If you are link building (doing offsite SEO) and optimising your site, your SEO Consultant should be doing keyword research. These keywords are an important aspect of SEO and you as the website owner should be involved in which keywords your SEO is link building on and using for content on your site. This is imperative for 2 reasons: 1. These are keywords your potential clients are typing into Google to find YOU, they need to be keywords that are used often (high traffic) yet relevant to your business. 2. You know your business better than a consultant and your input is key to keeping your content and the keywords therein relevant. Look over your keyword list your SEO is working on, ask which keywords are high in traffic (typed into Google Search Engine often). Not all the keywords relevant to your business will have high traffic, your keyword list should be a mix of high and low traffic, and vary in length, from one word to a phrase.

4.Which guidelines do they follow?

Most SEOs will follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Google ensures that it publishes all it’s latest SEO updates and has a well-known guideline to how an optimised website should be built. W3C standards are also to be adhered to, this is the World Wide Web Consortium, and their mark up validator is an imperative tool for any Web Developer and SEO.

5. How often can I expect reports?

An SEO consultant should send you reports monthly on your rankings for your website.

6. Who Owns Any SEO content that is created on your site?

All content created by an SEO consultant for your site or blog remains the property of the site owner if you and your SEO consultant part ways.

7. How long will it take for my website to rank?

SEO is not an immediate solution for rankings, and if your SEO consultant says you should start ranking straight away, be wary. SEO, both offsite and onsite, take a while to start showing results. The average is 4-6 months. Link Building is a time-consuming and lengthy process as all links built need to be focused on creating quality links on good and relevant sites. If your site has bad SEO and spam links your site will be penalized by Search Engines and your ranking will be dropped.

8. Where do you build your links for Link Building?

Ask where your SEO is building links. This is one of the main reasons website rankings drop is due to bad linking strategies. Your website should be linked to relevant blogs, wiki pages and article spots as well as other websites of good standing. You can also help your link building by asking your suppliers, sponsors and relevant business parties to create a link on their site.

9. SEO Audits

If you hire an SEO consultant to create regular content, link building and/or social media updates, ensure they audit your site regularly to ensure your site is up-to-date with any SEO changes. This should be done about once or twice a year.

On an end note, your choice of SEO consultant is an important business decision as it will effect the visibility and invariably the traffic you receive on your website.

Prepared by J. Shaw

Web Smart SEO Consultant