Before you start working with an SEO consultant, you must either meet him or talk to him on the phone. Find out the answers to the following questions.
- What is the consultants SEO process? What can you expect to see happen in the first month? The process should make sense to you. If he can’t explain it, don’t hire him.
- What is the first thing he would do on your site? The SEO professional should look at your Web site before speaking with you. Or, he should ask whether he could look later. Either way, don’t demand a lot of information – this is what you pay them for, and they shouldn’t have to give information away for free. Instead, look for a sensible recommendation that demonstrates that they gave your site some thought.
- How are results reported? If he mentions ranking reports, don’t hire him. Traffic matters more than rankings. Any good SEO consultant will know that.
- How long has he been an SEO professional? There’s no specific correct answer here but a response like, “I’ve just started”, should give you pause.
- If you’re unhappy with the service, can you end your contract before the scheduled end date? Many unethical agencies bind you to a contract and charge your credit card month after month.
- How often will he speak with you? Your SEO consultant needs to periodically review your results and strategy with you.
- Does any service cost extra? Many SEO firms charge extra for copy writing and other work. That’s fine; just make sure you know before you start.
The main thing you are trying to get is an impression of the person or company you’ll be working with. SEO is marketing, and it requires a lot of communication between you and your consultant.
Knowing What To Expect
More SEO campaigns have fallen to incorrect expectations than any other form of marketing. Here’s what you should know before you start:
- SEO takes a long time. I typically require a one-year contract with any SEO client. Two years is better. If you try to sign an SEO professional to a shorter contract, you’ll likely either rush him (so he won’t do solid long-term planning), or you’ll chase off the best consultants.
- Don’t expect fast results.
- Do expect regular reports
- Expect that your SEO consultant wants a certain amount of work from you. He is going to give you lots of recommendations and requests for changes to your site. He’ll ask for content and he will want information about your competitors.
Costs can vary widely from one SEO firm to the next. Some can charge as little as $100 a month. Others can charge up to $10,000 or more per month. The difference is the level of service. For $100 a month, don’t expect much. The SEO firm probably won’t do much work except for a few automated directory submissions, and might not get you results. At the top end of the scale, an SEO consultant writes SEO optimized articles for your website, researches keywords, analyzes your website for potential problems, and does whatever it takes to move you up in the search rankings. Most SEO consultant’s charges are based on a monthly fee. They might also offer one-time reviews where they check your website, write a report recommending changes, and then leave you hanging. If you don’t have your own team you are probably better off going with the monthly agreement.
Good SEO consultants often negotiate their fees depending on the difficulty of the campaign and the amount of work that will be involved also how long you plan to work with them. If you have a website that’s already fairly well optimized but just needs a little help and you are hiring them for only a year; you should expect your monthly fees to be lower. If you have a site that’s a complete disaster, as far as SEO and you’re in a very competitive industry, and you want everything done in three or four months; you can expect to pay more each month.
Remember when it comes to costs, the real question should be, what makes sense to you and your budget? You usually get what you pay for and that rule is no different here. Sometimes what looks like a bargain is really just a waste of money? When it comes to your website and your business, you can’t afford to waste your money on sub par SEO advice.