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How To Hire an SEO Consultant

December 16, 2023

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What’s the Right Way to Hire an SEO Consultant?

Written by Colette Nichol, Solo Filmmaker and Story Strategist

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Hiring an SEO consultant is a smart step for any business looking to improve its online visibility, get more traffic, and increase revenue.

In fact, for some businesses, getting started with SEO is the absolute best way to grow your business. SEO often has the highest ROI of any marketing strategy. But, it is a medium-term and long-term strategy. 

So if you need leads urgently because otherwise your business is in major trouble, SEO isn’t for you.

But, if you’re a growing business, and you want to add another powerful way to drive traffic and increase leads, then SEO might be for you. 

Can the Right People Find You?

If you go online and search for your products and services, do you come up? 

Or do your inferior competitors come up? 

If you’re not on the first page of Google for any of your most important products or services, it may mean it’s time to get serious about finding an SEO consultant.

At the very least, you should find out if your niche is highly competitive (aka. hard) or if you’re sitting on top of an easy, SEO goldmine.

This post outlines a five-step approach to ensure you hire the right SEO expert for your business and answers some common questions about the process.

Can the Right People Find You?
Hiring an SEO consultant is a smart step for any business looking to improve its online visibility, get more traffic, and increase revenue.

4 Steps To Hire The Right SEO Expert For Your Business

1. Define Your SEO Goals:

Clearly identify what you want to achieve with SEO.

Are you looking to increase website traffic, improve your ranking for specific keywords, or enhance your overall online presence? Having clear goals will help you find a consultant who specializes in what you need. It will also help you clearly share what you want to achieve when you’re speaking with SEO consultants. It’s usually a good idea to have a revenue goal and a leads goal.

2. Look for Experience and Expertise:

Choose a consultant who has experience helping businesses of your size with SEO.

They should have relevant experience and be up-to-date with what’s working and what’s not working in SEO right now. 

This past winter of 2023 saw three major algorithm updates, which is unusual. There was also a core update in the summer. Yes there are small algo updates constantly. But it’s not that common to see 3 big ones all in a row. Find out how an SEO consultant’s sites faired and what they’re doing to recover if they did see a drop in traffic. 

SEO can be volatile, but you don’t need to be afraid if your strategy is based on long-term growth.

But if your strategy is good, you won’t see your traffic absolutely nosedive just because there’s an algorithm update. Over the past three months clients’ sites either stayed stead, went up or had small dips that have since recovered. We weren’t using any gimmicks on their websites, so they weren’t at risk of nosediving. 

You can always ask an SEO Consultant to share how things are going with current clients.

Depending on whether they have a non-disclosure agreement with their client or not, they may be able to speak broadly about it or provide full details. I always protect my clients’ privacy. But I will happily do a Loom video to walk you through a client’s identity-protected Google Search Console or Google Analytics to share what’s working and how I’m helping them.  

I can also walk you through my own website since what I’m doing here is working well. It will help you understand how I work and what matters when doing SEO.

3. Understand Their Strategy:

During the interview process, ask an SEO consultant about their approach to SEO.

Ensure their methods sound above board and not sketchy. Ensure that they focus on long-term strategies rather than just quick fixes.

Many quick “fixes” are just things that a platform has recommended. For example, you can go to Ahrefs and just get a list of easy fixes that you can do to a website.

But in a lot of cases, these fixes will NOT move the needle.

So they’re a waste of time and money. For most small businesses, you need more and better content, a better home page, better service pages, and some good premium SEO-based videos.

4. Discuss Communication and Reporting:

Ensure you are comfortable with how often they will report to you, how you’ll meet with them, and what metrics they will use to measure success. Regular communication is key to a successful partnership. 

Regular communication is key to a successful partnership.
Regular communication is key to a successful partnership.

Common Questions

How much does it cost to hire an SEO consultant?

The cost can vary widely based on experience, project scope, and location.

Generally, prices can range from a $1000 to $10,000 or more per month. For a small business doing $1M or more per year, it would be reasonable to spend $3000 to $7000 per month on SEO. The higher priced package should include video, while the lower priced package will likely not include video.

Is it worth it to hire someone for SEO?

Yes, a good consultant can improve your website’s visibility, increase traffic, and contribute to your business growth.

SEO is not a part-time hobby. No successful business owner will have time to learn SEO on their own and implement it themselves. If you really want to do SEO yourself, you can hire a consultant to create a plan for you or do some hourly consulting. But please know, SEO is not hobby. It requires a certain level of obsessiveness to even get good at in the first place. 

But if you do have extra time, then there’s no harm in getting started by learning the basics.

Are SEO consultants worth it?

For some businesses, working with an SEO consultant is worth it because they’ll add more value to your business then they cost. They bring expertise and experience that can significantly improve your search rankings and online presence. 

Should you hire an SEO agency or go DIY?

If your business is a side hustle right now, you may prefer to do SEO yourself.

In which case you can learn the basic from Neil Patel of Ubersuggest. But if you run a successful business, you do not have time to learn this yourself. 

Is SEO necessary for small businesses?

SEO isn’t necessary for every single small business.

You need to find out what’s going on with your niche. Are there a lot of searches? How competitive is your niche online? You might have an amazing opportunity, or it might be a very crowded marketplace. Find out what your niche looks like and then decide if there potential ROI is worth it.

Is SEO budget-friendly?

SEO can be adjusted to fit various budgets.

While it requires an upfront investment and an ongoing investment. But it is one of the most cost-effective strategies in the long term compared to other marketing strategies. One of my clients currently gets traffic that would cost about $250,000 per year in advertising for $50,000 per year (i.e. the cost of working with me and my team on their project). This traffic helps them to add about $500,000  per year of additional reoccurring revenue to their business each year. 

Can you see the compounding effect that will have on their business?

Is SEO necessary for small businesses?
For some businesses, working with an SEO consultant is worth it because they’ll add more value to your business then they cost.

Final Thoughts

Hiring an SEO consultant can be a game-changer for your business.

By following these four steps, you can find a professional who aligns with your business goals and budget. Remember, SEO is not just about rankings; it’s about driving the right traffic to your website so you can increase your revenue. 

With the right consultant, SEO can be a highly effective and budget-friendly strategy for your business’s growth.

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About the Author

Hi! I’m Colette Nichol. I’m a solo filmmaker, SEO, story strategist, and digital marketer based out of rainy Vancouver, Canada. I’ve been helping small local businesses and global brands since 2014.

In 2017, I started applying SEO to my work with clients and in my own business. The results were extraordinary, and I got obsessed!

If you’re interested in working together, please reach out. I’d love to hear about your business goals to see how we can help.

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