In this high-tech fast-paced world, having a solid SEO expert on your team is imperative to your company’s success. As your small business expands, outsourcing SEO may be a good idea. With all the options out there, how do you find the right fit for you?
What type of work is needed for your company’s site? There are three main types of SEO professionals: independent contractors, SEO firms, and in-house employees.
If you’re branching out for the first time, it’s imperative that you hire an independent SEO consultant to set up an initial strategy. This gives you a roadmap for future SEO employment.
Independent contractors are typically more cost effective for smaller businesses, and can be hired by the hour or by project. SEO firms are companies with teams who work on a contractual basis with clients. Expect to pay a minimum of $2000 for any project with a firm. An in-house employee is usually for a large or rapidly expanding company as it is the most expensive option.
If you choose an independent contractor or SEO firm, there are three types of payment structures: pay by the project, pay by the hour, or a retainer fee (a monthly fee that reserves their time to work on your site).
Whether you choose an independent contractor, a firm, or the in-house option, there are some questions you need to ask to ensure they’re the right fit for your company’s goals. In addition, you’ll be giving them access to your site, so trust is necessary.
- How will you determine the keyword target for your site? They should mention an audit of your site, a way to target keywords, and research plans.
- What is your strategy? They should have a three-pronged approach to SEO optimization: technical, on-page site content, and off-page inbound links. This is the trust trifecta for search engines. Technicalis how easily a search engine can spider and crawl your site. On-page content involves well-optimized keywords and a good user experience, and off-page inbound links should be from respected sites that actually pertain to your site (your vendor, for instance).
- Do you follow Google’s Best Practices? If they use corner-cutting methods and play it off as fine, this is not the “expert” you’re looking for. “Black hat” processes will get you banned from search engines. It could take months or even years to regain PageRank once you’ve been penalized.
- How do you track changes and show results? Their SEO reports should include a summary of activities (for both your site and outside influences), search traffic and rankings, as well as conversions. They should provide them on a monthly basis, but some will give a weekly update.
- Who are your longest active clients? A company or contractor without a sustainable track record of success should be avoided.
Remember, hiring an SEO expert should take a burden off your shoulders, not add to them. If you want some help deciding which option is best for you, or you are looking for a great referral, give us a call. As always, we want to help you #BeAwesomeat what you do!
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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and the tools to manage them.