How to Find Quality SEO Consultant for my Business?

If you are a small or mid size business planning to grow your business in the organic world, you probably would have given a good amount of your marketing budget to search engine optimization a.k.a SEO. Apparently by now, you know the importance of SEO and how it can help your business grow and c more customers online.

The next job is to find an agency, consultant or in-house SEO that is right for your business but as SEO does not contain any certification, course, degree or anything authentic, it is incredibly difficult to find the right person to do that job!

Major Problem!

This digital marketing industry to be precise SEO is very effective and can offer amazing return on investment if you find the right person for the job but unfortunately there is huge crowd of people who have absolutely no knowledge about how it works but still they are busy selling the snake oil services to the businesses who are in need of online growth.

When businesses hire the wrong person to do the job, make the situation worse and instead of any online growth they usually face Google’s penguin and panda penalization.

The only way to escape from Google penalties and perform better in the online world is to find the right person for the job. Now the question is How to find the quality SEO for your business?

How to find the Quality SEO for my business?

There is no defined process or checklist for business about how to find the quality SEO resource but I will try to compile the step you should consider before contacting or hiring a quality consultant to fulfil your digital marketing needs.

1. Look for Confidence

SEO is a continuous changing industry so saying that there can be a person who will be able to answer every question of yours correctly is almost impossible. What you should really look in to a person is confidence and honesty; see how they are explaining the issue and coming up with solutions of it and does it making sense to you.  The best advice in about finding a good SEO was given by Ian Lurie in one of his previous articles:

“Ability to really think a problem through. We ask some fairly tough questions. Some are those annoying giraffe-in-a-fridge variety ones, some are SEO-focused. I’m not looking for a ‘right’ answer.

I just want to see the thought process. Too often folks just shrug and say “I don’t know” or, even worse, they give a completely incorrect answer and then babble for 3 minutes.

I need someone who’ll say “I don’t know right now, but here’s how I’d figure it out.”

- Ian Lurie (@portentint)

I believe this the best way to find if this person can actually help you tackle your online marketing issues. Check if he is able to answer the question reasonably and logically or they get flustered and defensive by pointed questions?

2. Level of Transparency

There are multiple techniques in SEO that might lift up your website for a short period of time and once Google notice you, it will penalize you and the business will get buried forever.

When looking for a consultant, always ask him what strategies he is going to implement if he is going to work on your website. If the answer contains keywords like clocking, doorway pages, 1000+ directories, do follow blog commenting then you should consider moving to the next person in your list and if the answer is more like nice commenting, guest blogging, link baiting, local submission, media links then you are spending time with the right person.  If you ask Cyrus Shepard, according to him before hiring a SEO you should check for his :

“Link building skills. And I mean creative, white-hat, scalable link building that doesn’t rely on paid directories and low value press releases.”

- Cyrus Shepard (@CyrusShepard)

3. Beware of Long Term Contracts

Usually SEO Contracts allow 30 days and 60 days out so if the contracts ask to you stick with a company for long period of time even after notification or don’t include the clause of notifying a few days prior to opting out from the contract then this is the perfect time to consider other options.

4. Odd Pricing Model

The era of selling SEO services on number of keywords basis are gone. So if someone tells you that they are going to do SEO for 10 or 15 keywords then you should raise your eyebrows and move towards the other option that you have in your list.

These are the common things that you should consider while you are in a meeting with a consultant or a company but there are several things you can check on the internet before you are finalizing your decision.

5. Google Consultant/Business Name

SEO consultants are also known as internet marketers so it is quite logical that they will be having active profiles around the internet. The idea is to search their name on the internet and see how they are performing in the online world. Here is an example of two mastermind in the SEO industry:

Julie Joyce

 

If what you see appeals to you then it’s a good sign but if your observation puts you in confusion then it is advisable to take some more time and reconsider your decision.

6. Check twitter and Google+

Social is a part of complete digital marketing sphere so it is simply impossible that a consultant will not have an active twitter or Google+ profile or both.

The reason why you should look in to the social profile is because it will give you a hint of how he communicates to his friends and followers in the online world and this will give you a good idea about his knowledge that he posses and his attitude towards work in general.

 Julie Joyce Twitter

 

Google+

 

Usually people don’t use facebook for professional reasons but twitter and/or Google+ are the right choice especially in the SEO niche like the above mentioned examples of some awesome peers of SEO industry.

7. Trace their activity on forums

This will tell you about two things. 1) How you react to people who are in need of some quick help 2) how knowledgeable that person is.

In the SEO industry the finest forums where interaction is great are Webmaster World, SEOmoz QnA, Quora and more like Barry or Gianluca who are always ready to help people through different forums.

If you see that the consultant have a positive image on discussion forums and QnA websites then you should give extra points but if they are not present at all or they have made no valuable contribution then you should better reconsider your decision.

Moz Points

 

8. Activity on Leading Blogs

This is not must but usually helpful and positive SEOs tend to write about tricks and tactics from time to time on other industry related blogs that includes blog like SEOmoz, Search Engine Journal, Daily SEO tips, Search Engine Land, Raven and more…

A little homework is always good.  Research and see if they have their posts are live on any known SEO blogs, if yes, then this person definitely have a good insight of seo and can easily help you with your online marketing strategies. Don Rhoades and Sujan can be a great example in this regard.

Blogs

 

9. Endorsements

This again is not a must but it can surely give an SEO some extra advantage over others. SEO industry is quite engaging and industry leaders are usually happy to pass recommendation for the people who have done something really interesting in the community or personally with them.

You can easily find out about such people (some one like Jason Acidre) by following other industry peers to see if they are talking about him in a positive way.  It will make your job quite easier however, this is never fundamental.

Endorsements

 

I guess the points I have mentioned above are enough to find a quality SEO for your business, so next time when you are planning hire a SEO consultant or an agency try considering all these points and probably you will find the right gem for your business.

 

About the author

mmhemani

Moosa Hemani is a SEO bloggers and an Inbound Marketing Governor at SEtalks.com

9 Comments

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  • Great post Moosa, and very detailed!

    I think my next post is somehow related to this one (more on how brand strengthening affects conversions). Given that how people perceive the value of a brand through what other people are saying about it can really impact buying decisions.

    This doesn’t just apply to our own industry, so I believe that the points you have mentioned above can also be very applicable in other professions.

    • Thanks for your valuable addition Jason I am really glad that you like the post!

      Would love to what you are coming up in your next post but I really agree that people’s endorsements does impact a lot in the buying process not only in our industry but within other niches as well…

  • Excellent points here Moosa…and I, too, think that Ian Lurie’s comment “I need someone who’ll say “I don’t know right now, but here’s how I’d figure it out.”” is dead on. I worked for someone who got enraged when I would tell a client that I didn’t know the answer to something but that I’d find out, and after that, I have not been afraid to say it. None of us can possibly have the answer to everything. I’ve been doing this for over a decade and I still run to Debra Mastaler and ask questions. I also like the points about transparency. Too many people come to me and when I ask what their last SEO did, they say they have no idea.

    We buy links for some clients, for example. These clients know the risks and have been given a heavy warning about why that isn’t always a good idea, but they know what we’re doing and they’ve signed off on it. If a company or consultant refuses to talk about their methods, I’d definitely walk away. I wouldn’t expect to get a detailed proposal that would let me just take it and do it myself of course, but as a client, I would definitely expect to be told what types of work would be done and what were the expected results.

    • I am glad that a search celebrity like Julie Joyce is backing the point that says “I don’t know but I can find out for you”. I think if one has guts to say no and then research to find out the answer of it then probably this is the kind of person business should look for their SEO needs.

      No one knows everything not even the Mr. Matt Cutts! so it is not important that you answered but what’s important is how you answered the question how much research you have at the back of your answer.

      Thank you for your detailed comment!

  • The main problem here is, that most small business owners have no idea which effort and steps have to be taken to fullfill their needs.
    And most small business owners don’t read blog posts like this. So they end up by choosing an agency/a consultant through different aspects (words of mouth etc.).
    Like that they can succeed or fail.

    In my career I stumbled upon a lot of different aspects during our work with the customers. E.g. for one customer we “only” designed a new website with the basic seo steps – without any further consultants work what so ever. By chance I found out that they cooperated with a company who sold them a link network from all over the world and boom – they jumped up to the top of the results (until now dear Google!).
    So the only thing I could do was to inform the customer that those practices won’t guarantee a 100% happy end. But the customer only saw the great results.
    What I want to say is, that the customers don’t choose the right way sometimes.

    But back to your blog post.
    Item 2 -> transparancy is one of the most important aspects.
    Don’t promise the customers top results. Talk with the customer which aims you try to reach.
    Show the customer regularly you work (in simply ways. Like that he knows what he is paying you for.

    If all customers would read your blog post they certainly could find the right consultant :-)

  • For this all kind of stuff client or customer should be educated with related niche and its very less. And moreover, most of the time client ask how many keywords you will target in this package and how many days will take too see website on first page (Holy Crap). SO this post is must read for all business owners. Good work mate. Hope this post will able to differentiate and help clients to hire right spammer or marketer.

  • A great article written by somebody I know to be an effective member of the industry.

    I completely agree the most important thing I can say is DO YOUR HOMEWORK, as Moosa says – if you want proof just ask.

    I Always offer my prospective clients the names & phone numbers of my current clients, for that my current clients get treats.

    That said, I had a struggle the other day to publish a progress report for a local builders merchants, I wanted to publish it on THEIR SITE and they were against it stating that ‘they want to develop & grow in the shadows so that their bigger competitors don’t take them out’

    I tried to explain that marketing is about standing under the spotlight & shouting your name as loud as you can (as long as you’ve got something to shout). Once I had explained it to them they understood that exposure & transparency are the keys to growth.

    Just as well since I was relying on them to advertise me!!

    Some people just don’t understand the possibilities of social media/ inbound marketing and having your name broadcast throughout the digital medium.
    Some people and more so, local cultures just don’t understand what or why they are buying marketing and that is where being able to give an example of work you have done as opposed to being the bill-board for you clients can change the dynamics.

    If somebody appears in a search for themselves or their business they probably know what they are talking about. If the client only and not the marketer appear in a search for their clients, don’t take it personally they may be working on a white-label or just have been asked to hide their identity from the competition.

  • Hello Moosa!

    Thank you for sharing the steps on how to find the best SEO for our business. I believe that when we look for a consultant, we should always ask for strategies he/she is going to implement if he/she is going to work on your site. This is actually very important.

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