Google recently released an official how to hire an SEO video. This had us thinking. Let's combine Google's awesome advice with other additional tips on SEO and the hiring process.
Here is google's video:
GOOGLE’S RECOMMENDATIONS ON HOW TO HIRE AN SEO:
(As mentioned above in the video)
Tip #1 SEO takes about 4 months to a year for implementation improvements and to see a potential benefit.
Tip #2 Request that they provide you a description of what needs to be improved and how they would do it.
Tip #3 Conduct a 2-way interview. They should be interested in the well-being of your business.
Tip #4 During the interview, talk about:
What makes your business/content stand out?
Who your common customer is?
How does your business make money?
Who are your competitors?
What channels are you using?
Tip #5 Check the business’ references.
They provided useful guidance
How they helped their business as a whole
An estimate of how much it would cost
An idea of how much of an impact it will have (long time vs initial growth)
Make sure they show you URLs
Tip #6 Ask for an SEO audit (technical and search audit). You will probably have to pay for this since you will be using an SEO expert’s time.
Branded vs Unbranded
Branded terms - Your website is providing a great experience, they can easily find what they need. They can recommend improvements to this process.
Unbranded - Your competition. What keywords you should aim to work for. What your competition is doing well.
Tip #7 Big picture ideas they might include could be:
Improving internal linking
Generating a buzz on your site
Tip #8 Don’t hire SEO companies that email you out of the blue.
Overall: A good SEO expert will offer you the best option for optimal improvement at a reasonable cost.
More Tips on How to Hire an SEO
#1 How they describe themselves compared to other companies
You want to find a company that prides themselves on being a cut above the rest. There's definitely a line in the sand in 2016 - between companies that conduct SEO the right way and companies who stick to promising impossible ranking results. You want to make sure they're on the good side, doing work with integrity. A good way to get to the bottom of this is to see what they say in response to "How does your agency stand out from other SEO agencies?"
#2 Where are they located?
Make sure the business has a legit location. SEO agencies can have fake business fronts and hide behind a website. You don't want that.
#3 Who would you be working with?
You should be able to talk directly with the SEO expert that will be working with you. This way you can connect with the SEO expert and decide if you like them, not just the company. Some SEO agencies will talk with you and then assign you an SEO expert later, once you've signed their contract. Make sure you know who they are before signing!
SEO is complicated to most people. If you can find a company who explains SEO to you in relatively simple, straightforward terms, you can be pretty sure that they'll be good to work with. Two things to request of them: regular reports (monthly, quarterly, whatever), and phone time to ask questions or just check in. If they're handling your SEO, you want to be able to talk to them about it.
#5 How do they report?
Your SEO company should have an extensive report for you every month. Weekly reports would be redundant and quarterly reports would be ridiculous. These reports should cover more than keywords. It should be cover the analytics and performance of your site.
#6 How confident are they?
I'd be wary of anyone who hands you a list of 50 keywords and says, "I've got these nailed! Piece of cake!" A great SEO agency will be upfront with you about potential challenges, but also positive and excited about the potential they do see for success.
#7 Can they show you case studies?
Any company that promises results should be able to show you case studies to prove they've actually achieved the results they promise.
#8 If they say they can rank you #1, run!
That is a load of baloney. As an SEO expert, I would never say that to any clients of mine. With Google’s paid ads and neglect of organic traffic nowadays, it is harder than ever to make a site #1 on Google. Any honest SEO company will educate you on what to expect.
#9 They audit your site before creating a SEO strategy.
You deserve to see an SEO audit of your site to see where your site is strong, and where it could use some help. BEFORE you sign anything. It is easy for someone to pick keywords and stick them into a site.
Let's take keywords, for example, they are a big part of SEO. What matters is the thought process behind why these keywords were picked. You need to approve these keywords. Do they properly represent your services? An SEO audit will get you and your SEO company on the same page. Happy Dog also has a custom SEO audit app. Please contact us if you would like an SEO audit, however, our extensive audits are not free.
#10 Is there a contract for an X amount of months?
We can't believe other SEO companies do this. We never make someone sign for a set amount of months. You should stay with an SEO company for at least 3 or 4 months, just because it takes a while to see SEO results. But, we would never make a company stay with us if things aren't working.
The Benefits of Hiring an SEO Agency
Frees up your time and worry
You won’t need to worry about finding time to market and optimize your site. Hiring an SEO/digital marketing agency lets you focus on what you do best- your job.
Have your site technically sound (site performance, code, etc)
In order for SEO/marketing efforts to be successful, the expert will make sure your site is perfectly sound.
Abide by Google’s best SEO practices
A reputable SEO agency will make sure your marketing, SEO tactics, and website follow Google’s recommendations for a great user experience.
Gain more traffic to your site
A proper SEO strategy should bring more users to your site over time.
Grow your brand’s presence
More traffic and a higher ranking mean your brand’s presence will grow online.
Increase conversion rates
Experts will be able to identify ways to improve the conversion process on your site. So, along with more traffic, you will get more conversions.
A wise return of investment
It can be hard for business owners and marketing managers to spend money on things that are new to them. But, SEO almost always has a great ROI for the client. Especially if you choose an agency that truly cares about your success.
Avoid Google penalties
SEO specialists will know when new Google updates are coming/have been rolled out. They are a fantastic security blanket for your website.
Get a full team of specialists to support your site
A proper SEO company is usually a full-service digital marketing company. That means your business/marketing strategy will have professional content marketing, SEO, paid ads, social media management, email marketing, etc.
Learn more about your site performance and audience through data
Specialists can track and gather a large amount of data from your site.
- The location and age of your users
- How users navigate throughout your site
- Your bounce rate
- The quality of your traffic
- Phone calls
- Form fill outs
- And more
Stay up to date with changing, competitive web trends
The web is a constantly changing medium. Employing an SEO agency ensures you stay on top of your competition and current trends.
A proper agency will determine realistic goals for your investment. This way you feel comfortable and are aware of your process.
Learn about SEO and digital marketing
The company should teach you about terms and strategies (if you are interested). Then, you have a basic understanding of what’s going on.
Serving your online customers a good experience.
Part of increasing your rank or traffic is to have a site that offers a fantastic user experience. Experts will help you all the way from design to copy on the site. Sometimes these differences are night and day.