How To Choose A SEO Consultant ?
For any web based business today it is impossible to ignore the search engines and search engine optimization or SEO has become really big these days. While some business owners might decide to do it themselves most others look for specialized service providers. Unfortunately, taking advantage of the increasing demand and the unorganized nature of SEO industry there has been mushrooming growth of “SEO Experts” ( and these days some of them call themselves “SEO consultants” too ) who would often not have any idea about search engines optimization or Internet marketing strategies.
It often becomes difficult for business owners to identify proper qualified SEO consultants from the self proclaimed experts. If you are one of those people, looking for someone to help you with your Internet marketing strategy but not sure how to find the correct person these pointers might be of help.
a) Ask for Portfolio – Ask the SEO consultant to show some of the other sites that they have been successful with and the keywords for which they have achieved rankings.A successful and experienced SEO consultant would never have a problem providing you with a comprehensive portfolio. Check a few keywords from the portfolio to verify the rankings and also check the competitiveness of the keyword.
b)Ask for References – If you are not convinced by the results they show ask for references and try to speak to them.
c)Search Their Keywords – If the SEO consultant has a blog or website search for related keywords and see if it comes up. If they cannot do a good job at their own website how do you expect them to do good with yours ?
d)Ask for Process Details and Transparency – This is extremely important because a bad SEO can actually ruin your site. Ask the consultant if they would share with you their work process and how transparent would be their activities. A good SEO consultant would never have issues with sharing processes and stuff that he does on your website. If the consultant comes up with statements like “We have a proprietary method”, “we have a private process” or anything on these lines make sure you don’t waste another minute speaking to that guy.
e)Answerable – Ask your SEO consultant if he would be answerable to you for all the activities that he does on the website and about the improvements/deterioration that happens to the website. Any experienced SEO consultant should be fine with it.
f)Guarantee – When you discuss the previous point, the SEO expert might just offer you a guarantee or even if he doesn’t you can ask him for one. If your SEO consultant gives you a guarantee on search engine rankings better keep away from him. No SEO would give a guarantee on rankings. See what Google says.. Google on SEO
While the points above are cautionary points to avoid choosing a so called “SEO Expert” and putting your website and business in trouble, here are some points that you should remember and / or check while working with a good SEO consultant.
a) High Demand – Experienced SEO consultants are always in demand and can have their hands full when you approach them. Some of them might not accept your project due to this while some other might just ask you to wait for some time. If the waiting period is reasonable it is always wise to wait than to go an hunt in the dark to find another SEO.
b) Answers to Questions – While we have discussed about what all you should ask a SEO consultant, Freelance SEO consultants at times might be a bit reluctant to give out all information before the project is signed off. This happens because there are many time wasters in the market who bug these people to get useful information from them and run the campaign on their own. However , a SEO consultant would ideally never disagree from providing his credentials.
c)Only SEO or More – Check with the consultant if he is just a SEO consultant or is he also experienced in other avenues of Internet marketing.It is always betters to work with Internet marketing consultants who can help with SEO as well as other activities like PPC, Web analytics, lead generation etc. Usability is often a major issue with many website, check if your SEO consultant can help you with improving the usability of the website.
d)Payment – Experienced SEO consultants might be relatively costlier than the newbie “SEO Expert” who works for $8/hour but trust me its worth putting that extra money. Also, most experienced SEO consultants would not charge the complete payment upfront but they would definitely charge a certain amount as advanced payment and then lay out the remaining amount in periodic payment terms.
e) Working with SEO Consultants in India – Being an Indian it actually bleeds my heart to say that be a little extra cautious while working with an Indian SEO consultant. While there are some really good SEO and Internet marketing professionals in India, there are too many newbies and clueless people who are out in the market to take advantage of people who are trying to find a SEO consultant in India for cheap price. I would strongly advice, if you identify a SEO or Internet Marketin consultant in India whom you would like to work with, have a few email communication and then try calling him atleast once and speak to him – it will help you understand the consultants confidence and most necessarily his skills with the English language. Remember to be a good SEO it is important that you do fairly good with the language and also you will need to communicate with the person on regular basis. So if you find that your SEO consultant is not confident on the call or his mails are full of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes – save your money for some one better.