How to Hire an SEO

hire an seoType SEO Agency or SEO services into a Google search box and you could scroll for eternity through the results. Are you trying to hire an SEO for your business?

There are hundreds of companies out there trying to sell you that miracle top position in the search results.

But how do you know if they are any good,

Will they just take your money and do nothing,

Or will they drive relevant traffic to your website that converts into real money?

Are their tactics in line with Google guidelines or will their efforts result in your site being penalised and dropping out of the results altogether.

Do you even need SEO in the first place?

In this article, we are going to answer these questions and arm you with enough knowledge to interview and hire the right SEO for your business.

seo services

This is what a good SEO strategy can do for traffic to your website

Like every successful project, you need to identify goals.

Am I trying to attract more customers?

Sell more products?

Get people to sign up to your mailing list or attend an event?

Build long-term relationships with your customers?

How quickly do I need to see results

If you are after quick wins then SEO is not the right strategy. Yes, you can get quick wins for very low competition keywords,

but competition in the results can be fierce so a lot of careful planning and a solid strategy is required to get long-term benefits.

What is your budget for SEO

Quality SEO that delivers real long-term results is not cheap, despite the promises of many companies that state they can rank your site top position in Google for €10.

They can’t

End of story.

A well-executed SEO campaign takes time, lots of planning and expertise to deliver to right results for your business. The obvious downside of this is initial cost. The upside of this is new leads and revenue for your business.

Is SEO even the right fit for your business?

Would you be better off spending your hard earned money on Paid advertising on Facebook because that’s where your customers hang out?

These are questions you should be asking your potential SEO before you go any further. They should be able to identify your primary customers through Analytics and direct you accordingly.

If anything, ask for proof and a quick overview of how they would spend your SEO budget and where.

Time Commitment

A good SEO Agency can delivery the complete solution from research and market analysis to content creation, copywriting and promotion.

This comes at a cost so ask yourself, if you have the required resources to create compelling content yourself that will attract visitors to your site and do you have the time available to complete this work.

Of of the biggest problems with any SEO campaign will always be content.

This is the cornerstone of every campaign so be honest with yourself when you say you can create this content. If you can’t then ask the SEO how he does it and who he uses to create it.

Are they native English speakers, do they have a copywriter, do they have access to writers with domain knowledge in your industry.

Questions to ask SEO’s

Hiring a good SEO expert can have a dramatic effect on your business.

Get it right and you will see a noticeable difference in qualified leads coming into your business regardless of the market you work in.

Get it wrong and either

a) nothing happens except you have less money in your bank account.

b) things get even worse than they are today.

Having explained your objectives to the SEO ask them to outline how they are going to achieve results for your business by answering the following 7 questions.

Question 1: How will SEO deliver results for my Business

Some points you should get in response are:

We will create targeted relevant backlinks from trusted sources to your website. We follow and adhere to Google best practice with all our backlinking strategies and only use safe methods to get these backlinks.

Note: They may use the term White-HAT when explaining this service – it means it’s as safe as you can get in the eyes of Google.

We will create in-depth relevant content for your website and use keyword research to identify and target buying phrases that your customers are typing into the Google search box. We only use skilled writers to create our content and this is reviewed by our editorial team before it goes into a draft format for final review by the client.

Note: Writing compelling content takes time and effort – a lot of clients will try to do this themselves but in reality, this process drags on and in a lot of cases the SEO gets impatient and looses interest because they have no content to work with. This costs you – the client money and you get nothing back in return.

We will kick off or add more content to the blog on your website.

Note: Blogging is great for SEO because you can talk in detail about some of the services you provide, provide case studies in an informal manner and highlight success within your business. It gives you the ability to expand on your services pages without overwhelming the site visitor with a wall of text.

Get some examples of their writing style and make sure it’s a good fit for your brand, tone and your business.

Question 2: Explain Technical SEO to me and why I need it

Technical SEO is hugely important to your website and while Google is getting smarter at understanding content and websites online, technical SEO is a set of guidelines that you need to adhere to in order to see real results.

Ask the SEO to go through a list of technical SEO requirements and provide details on each one. This will show you they actually know what they are doing.

If they can’t provide details on this topic it’s time to move on to the next candidate.

Some requirements that should be mentioned as follows:

Website Speed. This is critical for every website and there is now more of a focus on site speed than ever before, especially with the phenomenal adoption of mobile devices.

website speed testing for SEO

Having a slow website will cost you money. Your SEO should have this at the top of his list of priorities.

Your website should load in a couple of seconds and if not you are leaving money on the table because your potential customers are going elsewhere. You have about 2-3 seconds for your page to load or you lose out.

Now you need to understand that if you have an existing website that a web designer put together for you it might look great but may not be fast enough to load. This comes down to many factors like hosting, bloated code or large images.

SEO are not magicians but should understand the different challenges with site speed and be able to advise you on how to address them.

Mobile Optimisation. This has become very important and yet we still see a lot of sites that are not optimised for mobile devices. It’s a discussion for your web designer but a good SEO will understand the importance of being mobile friendly.

mobile responsive websites

Google has stated that they will penalise websites that do not render properly on a mobile device. With up to 80% of traffic now coming from mobile devices you really need to sort this issue out or you are leaving money on the table.

Sitemaps and Site Index. Your website sitemap – list of all pages on your website – should be up to date and submitted to Google for indexing. Ask the SEO to explain how this works and how to identify any broken links or error in your site navigation.

For example – Have you ever visited a site and landed on a 404 error page. This is because you followed a link to a page that doesn’t exist or has been deleted. It’s not good for user experience and it’s definitely not good for Google either.

Redirects or Page loops. A redirect is when you trick the browser into thinking it is loading one page but you show a different page to the end user.

Now, this is common enough especially if you are updating your website or adding new content and services pages. An SEO might redirect the old page to the new one to preserve existing rankings.

Ask how they handle redirects and why.

Question 3: Ask them about CRO or conversion optimisation

CRO can be a bit of a minefield but an SEO with a thorough understanding of conversion optimisation is worth their weight in gold if they tick the rest of the boxes.

Basically, CRO is where you test different methods and elements of your website to try and convince the end user to take action.

This may be to buy a product or service, subscribe to the newsletter or share and link to one of your posts on your blog.

1000 Visitors / 100 sales = 10% Conversion

Whatever action you require it critical that the SEO understands how and why this is important.

Here is one example to explain the process in more detail:

Let’s say you are running an event and want to get visitors to sign up on your website.

Firstly you need a dedicated page – called a landing page – on your site so you can direct interested visitors to it to get the info.

Landing pages can make or break any campaign, be it a sales campaign or an event you are running.

The copy on a landing page should be very clear in explaining what you want the visitor to do – quickly.

Don’t ask for any more information that you need – if you just need an email address then ask for just an email address.

Choose you requests carefully as the more information you ask for, the more chance you have of losing the visitor…

Here are a few guides to help you better understand Conversion Optimisation:

ConversionXL – Research Driven Conversion Optimisation

Moz – Definitive Guide to Conversion Optimisation

Question 4: Reporting

After 20 years in the IT industry, I’ve read enough reports to last a lifetime. Some good, some excellent, and some downright dreadful.

The purpose of reporting for SEO is to show you, the client, a quick snapshot of progress that is easy to understand and can be attributed to an uplift in sales.

That’s it.

The end game with any SEO project is to improve the bottom line.

Yes, you can view more of the graphs and keyword placement to check on progress if required, so make sure this information is available.

Here is a quick snapshot from SemRush for one of our domains to give you an idea of a good overview report for a website. There is a lot more information contained in this tool but this image gives you a feel for what to expect.

seo questions



Question 5: Clients and examples of previous work

This is a big one and can often cause the most hassle when you are looking for an SEO provider.

You need to see real-life examples of clients they are actively working on so you can gauge the effectiveness of their work.

We often hear stories like:

I can’t show you any of my clients because we are under NDA. This may sometimes be the case but they should still be able to give you high-level graphs of performance etc without giving away the clients confidential information.

Any good SEO will have written up case studies to prove how good they are at their job. Ask for access to these are review to see if their performance matches your requirements and budget.

Question 6: Contract or payment terms

One thing we pride ourselves in is not locking our customers into any long-term contracts. Yes, we may run a campaign at a discounted rate if they agree to run the service for a set period of time but it is not a requirement of using us.

You can expect to pay for each month’s work in advance – that’s a given – because the SEO has to do the work and once completed everything should stay in place after the end of the contract period. Clarify this one quickly…

One thing you need to understand is that SEO takes time and you may be asked to commit to a set period of say 90 days to let things start to show positive results.

You will hear SEO companies offer things like:

We Guarantee to rank you at the top position in 30 days or less – be wary of these statements because with Google there are no guarantees and with each algorithmic change there comes a new set of requirements to keep that coveted top position.

Question 7: Competition

If you are looking for an SEO in a particular market vertical you should be aware that they may be working with your competition.

Ask this question and clarify how this could potentially affect your SEO performance.

One client may be paying a lot more, or less than you and it’s good to understand the lay of the land here. Ask them to outline the services they are providing to your competition and how they are getting results.

Are they using a content-driven approach with link building to deliver results? If so then how are they going to create unique content and gain backlinks for your website?

If they are running some paid advertising with Google PPC then ask the question on how they propose to do similar for you without getting into a bidding auction on set keywords and driving the price up for your campaigns.

Hiring an SEO can be a daunting task but if you understand your business online, have a strategy you can stick to, a clear set of goals and they can answer all of the above questions then you are off to a good start.

At yourweb, we offer SEO services but we also conduct strategy sessions with a lot of our clients prior to any work being carried out.

If you would like to have a chat with one of the team then give us a call on 059 9105049 or email us here and we can discuss your requirements in more detail.

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