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December 20, 2017

3 Things to Know Before Hiring an SEO Pro

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Photo Credit: Augur Marketing via flickr

Search engine optimization is still on the rise. Even though it has been around for decades now, SEO is just starting to seriously interest a wider range of small- to medium-sized businesses.

According to the Borrell Associates study, SEO as an industry is now worth $65 billion. Even though Google continues to bring major changes to the industry with its frequent updates, MarketDrive’s study explains that a large percentage of today’s marketers feel that SEO is becoming more effective. Around 80 percent of marketers questioned have gone on record to say they are advising more clients to start investing larger pieces of their marketing budgets in SEO, while 40 percent of them have stated that effectiveness is steadily increasing in this department.

This kind of statement should officially put an end to all the “SEO is dying” theories. There’s undeniable proof out there that SEO is now stronger than ever.

According to MarketDrive’s study and its focus group, SEO will continue to bring in even more ROI in the next couple of years to brands and companies that continue to work on their rankings and overall online presence. The above-mentioned Borrell Associates research predicts that SEO as an industry will grow to an estimated $72 billion by the end of next year.

Having all these statistics and projections in mind, it is clear why SEO is slowly becoming the go-to practice for everyone interested in building a noticeable presence online.

However, even though more brands and companies are now starting to see the value in this way of promotion, SEO is still far too complicated for most people to handle. It’s a complex concept, including various technical aspects and marketing practices, that requires a lot of manpower and experience. That’s why most businesses employ SEO specialists, consultants, or agencies to help them make the right calls in this continues game of chess against the search engines.

But finding the right people to handle your SEO for you is never an easy job. There are a lot of so-called experts out there whose only goal is to take your money. Even if you find a good agency to take care your SEO-related efforts, you need to have in mind that their overall success rate will still (to a certain extent) depend on you. In the following segments of the article, I’m going to list everything you need to know in advance before you decide to hire someone to work on your SEO:

1. Every Option Has its Pros and Cons

When it comes to doing SEO, companies have three options:

  • They can build their own in-house team;
  • They can work with freelancers and consultants;
  • They can hire an SEO agency to take care of their SEO-related activities for them.

Regardless of what you choose, every single one of these options has its positive and negative sides.

Hiring an entire in-house SEO team is great, because you will have a group of people dedicated to making the most of your online presence. They could instantly tend to all your SEO-related needs and fix all the issues as soon as they occur. Their job would be to work on your domain authority, link profile and exposure. However, even though this all sounds great, having an in-house SEO team costs a lot of money. Especially if you want to bring in experienced individuals. Most small- to medium-sized businesses can’t afford that, so they outsource their SEO efforts.

Working with freelancers and SEO consultants is not a bad idea, because they can guide you in the right direction and provide a great plan on how to do something smart in this field. The only real downside to working with these individuals is that they cannot help you execute the plans they create for you. Their job is just to advise you and show you the way on how to improve your rankings and achieve meaningful results with your SEO efforts.

The third and final option is working with an SEO agency. This is often the best solution for small- to medium-sized clients. It’s cheaper and more convenient than building your in-house team, and it’s far more profitable than working with independent consultants and contractors, because an agency has the capacity to design and implement smart SEO strategies on your behalf. The only trick is to find the right one and learn how to track relevant KPIs.

2. There are No Promises and No Guarantees When It Comes to Rankings

As I already said above, SEO is a complex game. No one really knows (except the people who work for Google) how the engine operates. Some ranking factors have been publicly discussed, some remain in the dark.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The thing that makes SEO difficult is the fact that it is ever-changing and ever-evolving. With each algorithm update, Google introduces new rules to the game, which automatically change a lot of rankings and force SEO specialists to reshape their strategies to comply with Google’s new updates.

So, having all this in mind, it’s imperative to understand that there are no guarantees here. Regardless of how good or confident your SEO specialist may be, they can’t guarantee top rankings. If they do, they’re a hack. It’s up to the engine to rank your site and calculate where you’ll be positioned in search for your desired keywords. The only thing that your SEO specialist (or team) can do is help you come up with and execute strategies that have a high potential for improving your website’s presence. They can build links to your domain, audit your site and fix crawling errors, optimize your existing pages, create new landers, etc.

Measuring the ROI of a particular SEO specialist or agency effort should only be focused on ranking. Their work will impact every stage of your buyer’s funnel, so it should be calculated accordingly. It is more focused on quality for the user than rankings and links.

3. Get On Board With the Procedures and Find a Pro who Understands Your Niche and Market

Before you decide to work with a particular SEO expert or agency, you need to see if you’re on the same page when it comes to procedures and results. You don’t want someone doing something in your name which you’re not comfortable with.

Legit SEO professionals respond with a list of questions, which are focused on the audience, industry, goals, and KPIs. They need to know how you operate and if your day-to-day activities will have a negative impact on their work. In addition to that, a good SEO company/freelancer will usually present a list of activities they think will get you where you want to be. The goal here is to go over all of them and truly do your best to understand what every single one of these practices and changes means for your business.

If you want your SEO agency/freelancer to achieve results, you need to be willing to implement the requested changes. You’ll have to allow your SEOs to actually do their job, and give them enough space to work their magic.

It’s all about making compromises and collaborating with your SEO company/team/freelancer every step of the way.

That’s why it’s important to find an agency/freelancer that has some experience in your industry. You’ll have an easier task defining the metrics that mean “success” to you, and they’ll have better chances of meeting your expectations.

Over to You

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope it has helped you understand everything you need to know when it comes to hiring someone to work on your SEO. The idea is to find the option that works best for you, and understand that SEO results cannot solely be measured by rankings and income. Also, regardless of who you hire to handle your SEO for you, you’ll still need to keep in mind that this isn’t something that you can just assign to someone else and forget it exists.


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Dan Radak is a marketing professional with 11 years of experience. He is currently working with a number of companies in the field of digital marketing, closely collaborating with a couple of eCommerce companies. He is also a co-author on several technology websites and regular contributor to Technivorz.

5 Responses to “3 Things to Know Before Hiring an SEO Pro

    Nice article.

    avatar Prosper Noah says:

    Cool stuff!

    SEO is a task that requires care, if not could harm a site rankings on google

    Well, am not always encouraged to use third-party SEO expert. I guess reading and exploring opportunities is the best

    avatar Mazahar Khan says:

    Very detailed post I found. Thanks for sharing.

    avatar Lucifer says:

    good clear advice & steps to follow . very useful

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