The SEO industry can feel very secretive to those who aren’t directly involved. SEO professionals seemingly have their language and might use jargon and terms that you aren’t familiar with. And unless you want to spend the time getting to grips with SEO 101, you might find yourself getting overwhelmed with the complexity of everything. This is why hiring an SEO expert can be a complex minefield.
Hiring an SEO expert can help you to transform your business and reach new potential customers. But for every SEO success story out there, it seems there are an equal number of SEO disaster stories – if not more! If you want to ensure success with your SEO campaign, follow these steps when hiring an SEO expert. This will help you to avoid getting stung by unscrupulous scammers.
1. Ask your network for recommendations
The first place to look for an SEO expert should be in your own network. Asking friends, family and colleagues for help could save you a lot of groundwork and independent research. When you go on a recommendation, you’re also going to guarantee that you are working with someone tried and tested. There’s much less chance you’ll end up being the guinea pig project for someone just starting their business.
2. Ask for testimonials and case studies
Before any calls or meetings with potential SEO experts, ask to see testimonials and case studies. Don’t be dazzled by client lists on websites. Instead, ask to see exactly what work they have done and what results they achieved. Every good SEO expert will have a few stellar case studies they can’t wait to share with you.
3. Set up a discovery call or meeting
A discovery call or meeting with the SEO expert will give you a chance to put them through their paces. Don’t be intimidated that they know about SEO and you don’t. If they can’t explain SEO concepts to you in a way that is easy to understand, there is a chance they don’t fully understand it. If a so-called “SEO expert” is unwilling to explain things to you at the start of your working relationship, imagine what they will be like 6 months down the line.
4. Always read the fine print
You should always have a contract in place before you start working with anyone. This doesn’t just protect them from non-payment, but it also protects you. Make sure your contract includes a confidentiality clause and a non-compete clause if required. This will stop them from going straight to your competitors if the relationship sours. Before signing any contract, make sure you check the fine print for any minimum contract periods. SEO professionals will sometimes ask for a 3-6 month commitment.
5. Be wary of anyone offering guaranteed results
The most important thing to understand about SEO is that there are no guaranteed results. The search engines call the shots, and all SEO professionals can do is make your website as accessible as possible. Anyone offering guaranteed results likely has some black hat SEO tricks up their sleeve.
Black hat SEO can cause lasting damage to your website and should be avoided at all costs. And while they might offer short term results, these won’t last, and you will soon be hit with a manual action penalty once the search engines figure out what you are doing.