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The internet marketing world of today revolves around having your website placed not only on the first page of the search results but in the first couple of results. Better website rankings lead to an increase in traffic, lead conversion and ultimately, increase revenue. Although most SEO practices can be accomplished with some in-depth research on the internet, most people simply don’t have the necessary know-how. In their mind, hiring an SEO professional to properly optimize their website makes a lot more practical sense.
SEO or search engine optimization represents a set of techniques and practices used to elevate a website ranking in the results of major search engines such as Bing, Google, and Yahoo. A combination competitor analysis, keyword research and off and on-site optimization is used to help the search engines find and rank a website significantly higher for specific key terms used in the search. Running a proper SEO campaign can be a daunting experience for the average joe, but this is where professionals come in to play. That said, here’s everything you should know before hiring an SEO expert.
Ask for information regarding any past experience
It’s perfectly normal to ask any potential employees about their previous accomplishments and work history. It is also normal for a potential employee to share their list of both former and current clients along with their contact information. These references are particularly useful, not only as a proof of past work, but they also show how effective your potential candidate actually is. Clients don’t have to share every single analytic about their website and they probably won’t. However, they should at least tell you whether the campaign had a positive outcome regarding their website’s ranking and how much of that success can be attributed to the potential SEO candidate in question.
Find out how exactly will they improve your website’s ranking
This is a rather important question you should be asking and it’s better to avoid working with consultants who don’t discuss their methods freely and in detail. Any potential candidate needs to explain what strategies they plan on using and how long it would take before results become evident. Make sure they provide you with enough information regarding both on-site and off-site optimization and that they at least back some of that information with proof of prior and successful work.
Make sure you’re hiring a “white-hat” SEO expert (link builder)
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There’s a big difference between good, or white-hat SEO and bad, or black-hat SEO work. White-hat link builders follow Google’s strict webmaster guidelines, which prohibit most of the trick commonly employed by the back-hats. This includes generating bad, unrelatable and duplicate content and spamming it with a ton of keywords and shady backlinks links. Any white-hat link building service will tell you that using these techniques can only result in getting penalized by the search engine. It will not only result in your website getting significantly down-ranked but also completely removed from the search engine results page.
Inquire about their local SEO skills
A small and up-and-coming business which are trying to appeal to local customers have the most benefits from ranking high in the local results. Make sure to ask the potential employee if they are versatile with local SEO practices as they are with regular ones. They need to add NAP (name, address and phone number) information either on your website’s title tag and meta description and get the website listed on Google, Bing, and Yahoo. These are pretty elementary techniques for any so called SEO expert and failing to incorporate them into the larger SEO campaign is a major red flag.
Ask them how will they measure the success of an SEO campaign
This is the single most important aspect of any search engine optimisation campaign. The measure of success isn’t just about traffic and lead conversion rates. It’s about analyzing and using the information you acquired from a campaign in order to further tweak and improve it for even better results in the future. Your potential candidate needs to know Google Analytics by heart in order to track users, the particular keywords they used, links going to and from your website and then worry about the traffic and conversions.
Of course, this is just a part of the questions you should be asking a potential candidate. Other information is more general and includes accessing the candidate’s ability to communicate their goals, working out the necessary fees and whether their service can be extended past the contract expiring date. If you take all this information into account before actually conducting the interview, chances are you’ll weed out the hacks fairly quickly and that there at least one future employee left among the candidates.
About the Author
Blake is a marketing consultant, specializing in content marketing and SEO. When he’s not on his computer, he likes to read, go hiking and play soccer.