Hiring an search engine optimisation Guide? Ask These 9 Necessary Questions

  • January 4, 2023
  • elkenz
  • 13 min read

The job of an search engine optimisation marketing consultant is to create and handle search engine optimisation duties to enhance a web site’s efficiency in engines like google. All of this could in the end result in rising the enterprise’s income.

Hiring an excellent search engine optimisation marketing consultant can skyrocket your small business, as natural search is the primary visitors supply for a lot of web sites. Alternatively, a fallacious rent can do loads of hurt which will take a very long time to repair.

So what does it take to separate the wheat from the chaff? Ask your candidates the next 9 inquiries to make the suitable hiring choice:

  1. What’s your observe document of success?
  2. What do you do finest?
  3. How a lot can your work affect my enterprise?
  4. Do you assure the outcomes of your search engine optimisation work?
  5. What’s your method to Google’s search engine optimisation tips?
  6. What search engine optimisation instruments do you utilize, and the way do you utilize them?
  7. What does your search engine optimisation reporting look like?
  8. How a lot do you value?
  9. How do you hand over the work after we half methods?

Let’s dive into every of them so that you’ll know what to search for in your candidates’ solutions.

What’s your observe document of success?

There are 3 ways to return throughout a possible search engine optimisation marketing consultant:

  1. You get a reference.
  2. You get conversant in them primarily based on their on-line and offline presence.
  3. They attain out to you, providing their companies.

If it’s the primary case and you actually belief the individual recommending the marketing consultant, be at liberty to skip a lot of the qualifying questions on this article. Nevertheless, for the second and third instances, it is best to first deal with a candidate’s observe document of success. And that may be difficult generally, as folks usually current themselves in the most effective mild doable.

So what’s difficult right here? Let’s see an instance. Final 12 months, I used to be requested to guide an search engine optimisation workshop for one of many Large 4 accounting companies. If I had accepted, I’d have simply positioned its brand on my web site and claimed the agency was my consumer. That may technically be true but additionally a bit deceiving (concerning my search engine optimisation consulting expertise).

Any search engine optimisation marketing consultant ought to have the ability to disclose a number of web sites they had been engaged on. Most consultants record a number of shoppers on their web sites. However this info just isn’t usually adopted by testimonials or case research reflecting the consultants’ efficiency. In the event you’re lacking this info, you may nonetheless get it earlier than getting in contact with them.

You may open Ahrefs’ Website Explorer, plug in one of many web sites, and examine the natural visitors chart within the overview:

Overview 2.0 of Ahrefs' website

In the event you see an upward pattern, then it’s first signal. However at all times focus on a number of instances with the marketing consultant if you get in contact with them. They will inform you the durations after they labored for a sure consumer and even present the charts and numbers, as anybody can lookup the knowledge.

Generally, you received’t see a lot development or might query the efficiency in different methods. Let the marketing consultant justify their outcomes. search engine optimisation is a long-term sport, and also you not often see any important modifications in natural visitors within the first months of cooperation.

There’s no one-size-fits-all search engine optimisation marketing consultant. As a substitute, attempt to discover the most effective match for your small business.

For instance, I reject all e-commerce provides. E-commerce search engine optimisation is a class by itself. I’ve by no means completed it, and there are various different consultants who can do a greater job for cheaper charges. I’ve at all times labored for SaaS companies, and that’s the place I can present probably the most worth.

In addition to a basic information of promoting, an search engine optimisation marketing consultant ought to be good in any respect search engine optimisation disciplines (on-page, off-page, and technical). Nevertheless, only a few handle to be consultants in all of them, and that’s not mandatory. Some consultants deal with only one space like hyperlink constructing or technical search engine optimisation. They double down on their strengths and supply a distinct segment service. That’s  factor.

This query merely helps each side perceive if there’s match between your wants and their focus, information, and experience.

How a lot can your work affect my enterprise?

There are a number of components that come into play for estimating the potential affect of search engine optimisation on your small business:

  • Natural visitors potential – Is there a excessive search demand in your small business class?
  • Advertising technique – How a lot ought to natural search be prioritized amongst different advertising and marketing channels?
  • Developer sources – Do your builders have the room to implement required modifications in a well timed method?
  • Content creator sources – Do you may have a staff to provide search engine optimisation content material? If not, do you may have the required funds to rent freelancers?
  • Hyperlink builder/PR sources – Do you may have a hyperlink builder and/or PR specialist? If not, are you able to afford to rent them?

A very good marketing consultant ought to assess all of those components after they’re requested concerning the potential affect of their work. To be clear, don’t count on the marketing consultant to present you any numbers at this stage. For now, your aim is to return to an settlement that investing in search engine optimisation is the suitable alternative.

Do you assure the outcomes of your search engine optimisation work?

If any search engine optimisation marketing consultant ensures their work will skyrocket your natural visitorsrun. Sure, this can be a dealbreaker.

Irrespective of how good an search engine optimisation marketing consultant is, they will’t assure any leads to search engine optimisation. There are simply so many variables (rating components) concerned. Sure, you’re hiring somebody to make a optimistic affect, and there’s a excessive chance {that a} good marketing consultant will repay fairly shortly. But it surely’s by no means 100%, and also you’ll usually have to attend many months to see any optimistic outcomes.

Right here’s one other instance. I obtained concerned in consulting for a web site. It didn’t get again on observe after being severely hit by Google’s algorithm replace regardless of having nice search engine optimisation consultants all alongside. I’ve discovered some new alternatives and helped repair a number of issues. However I can’t attribute any success to those efforts as a result of it nonetheless took one other six months for the natural visitors pattern to look good once more:

Line graph showing gradual improvement of the website

An excessive instance of a web site that was managed by nice search engine optimisation consultants however noticed its natural visitors enhance solely after a very long time. Screenshot from Overview 2.0 report in Ahrefs’ Website Explorer.

By the best way, the surge in visitors occurred after one other algorithm replace. We, search engine optimisation consultants, have completed good work. It simply took loads of time for the outcomes to kick in (virtually two years on this case).

What’s your method to Google’s search engine optimisation tips?

There’s no proper reply. However leaning towards the extremes (doing all the things/nothing in line with Google) ought to be taken with warning.

Google has grow to be a lot better in search engine optimisation suggestions and documentation up to now few years. Nevertheless, each good search engine optimisation disagrees with Google’s tips at times. Some greater than others.

For instance, the primary matter of disagreements between Google’s statements and SEOs is hyperlink constructing. What works in observe when constructing hyperlinks and what Google recommends are generally two utterly reverse approaches.

A very good signal is listening to about a number of examples the place the marketing consultant disagrees with Google and why.

What search engine optimisation instruments do you utilize, and the way do you utilize them?

Each good search engine optimisation marketing consultant wants to make use of one of many three main all-in-one search engine optimisation toolsets: Ahrefs, Semrush, or Moz. Listening to one in every of these manufacturers is an efficient begin for this query. Utilizing Google Search Console and Google Analytics is taken as a right.

Nevertheless, gaining access to the most effective search engine optimisation instruments is just the start. Let the marketing consultant inform you a bit about their processes. How do they audit a web site? How do they discover hyperlink constructing alternatives? What about key phrase analysis?

There will be numerous proper or fallacious solutions on utilizing the instruments. In the event you’re not an search engine optimisation skilled, you received’t have the ability to decide them. However regardless of the solutions are, they need to construct extra confidence and rapport.

What does your search engine optimisation reporting look like?

You may simply inform search engine optimisation marketing consultant from a nasty one primarily based on their search engine optimisation stories. If they supply an instance report, right here’s what it is best to look out for. A very good report is concise and straightforward to undergo; you must also perceive the gist of it in a couple of minutes. Right here’s an instance of slide taken from my search engine optimisation report template:

Powerpoint slide containing key highlights of the SEO progress

However most consultants received’t ship you different shoppers’ stories attributable to non-disclosure agreements and delicate knowledge. Inquiring about their search engine optimisation reporting course of is the second-best alternative right here.

What to search for right here particularly? Nicely, see in the event that they discuss search engine optimisation KPIs and the way they method them. That’s a useless giveaway. You need to hear about metrics tied to your small business development. These are, most universally, natural conversions and share of voice (search visibility).

Beware that natural visitors development alone shouldn’t be a KPI until you monetize all of your web site visitors utilizing show promoting networks.


What I’m speaking about right here solely applies to hiring somebody for total search engine optimisation session. In the event you’re hiring a hyperlink builder or a technical search engine optimisation, then they most likely can’t tie any of their metrics to your small business development straight.

One other essential factor is the mix of knowledge sources. Each good search engine optimisation marketing consultant ought to create stories by combining metrics from Google Search Console, Google Analytics (or alternate options), and unbiased search engine optimisation toolsets like Ahrefs. That’s as a result of each device has its distinctive knowledge. Additionally, some metrics are simply extra correct in a single device than one other.

It’s finest to have some pricing estimates as quickly as doable in order that neither aspect wastes time. Some consultants disclose their charges publicly, however you at all times want a quote on your particular wants.

You’ll principally encounter three varieties of pricing:

  • Hourly fee – That is probably the most simple pricing mannequin. It’s the commonest one within the Czech Republic (the place I stay). But it surely’s not so widespread within the West, in line with my observations.
  • Mission-based pricing – That is most certainly for use when you want search engine optimisation assist in a sure space for a shorter interval of time.
  • Month-to-month retainer – That is widespread for long-term cooperations. You agree on a block of time the marketing consultant will present every month to your small business and the way a lot it would value you.

Some consultants use all three pricing fashions, whereas others stick with only one. You must also speak concerning the minimal contract size and fee phrases.

search engine optimisation is usually a profitable career, so count on the most effective consultants to be fairly costly. On prime of that, it’s doubtless the demand is larger than what they will meet, so some consultants are choosy about new shoppers.

After all, the pricing will drastically range relying on the nation. Within the U.S. (and different nations with a excessive buying energy parity), it is best to count on to pay a minimum of $100 per hour to get a strong search engine optimisation marketing consultant. To rent the most effective English-speaking consultants, you may count on to be charged $200+ hourly charges.

Really helpful studying: search engine optimisation Pricing: ~350 Companies, Consultants, and Freelancers Reveal How A lot search engine optimisation Prices

How do you hand over the work after we half methods?

You received’t work together with your marketing consultant ceaselessly. Any marketing consultant ought to attempt to do their finest handy over their work and guarantee a straightforward transition if you rent somebody new. You need to make certain your marketing consultant will do that.

Truly, one of many first issues any good marketing consultant ought to ask you at the start of your cooperation is your search engine optimisation historical past. Has anybody already completed key phrase analysis? Is there a content material plan? What a couple of record containing the statuses of technical search engine optimisation points and alternatives? Hyperlink prospecting and outreach lists? What do your previous stories appear like? What has been completed and why?

You see, there’s a ton of knowledge and knowledge you may present to your new marketing consultant that may save money and time. It could possibly additionally reveal potential points which will hinder your search engine optimisation efficiency.


Just be sure you personal your knowledge and don’t grant admin entry to folks outdoors of your group. I’ve heard horror tales about consultants and even businesses that created or overtook Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts after which refused handy over the entry.

Last ideas

Judging the experience of a possible search engine optimisation marketing consultant isn’t straightforward if you’re not conversant in search engine optimisation your self. However you may very nicely assess their communication expertise primarily based on the 9 questions above.

In the event that they don’t clarify the search engine optimisation stuff with ease, simply say “it relies upon” with out going into extra particulars, or give iffy solutions that simply don’t really feel proper, you’re most likely higher off hiring another person.

So the place do you discover the most effective consultants? It could be tempting to make use of Google as a result of, nicely, rating on the prime should imply that it’s good at search engine optimisation, proper? Sure, however you’ll be lacking out on doubtlessly higher suits. In any case, there are far more nice consultants than prime search outcomes.

I like to recommend you ask individuals who have employed search engine optimisation consultants up to now, your social circles, or search engine optimisation consultants. Even when you don’t rent them for search engine optimisation consulting, they may help you with some suggestions.

Any questions? Or extra concepts to qualify search engine optimisation consultants? Ping me on Twitter.