5 Times You Absolutely Need to Hire an SEO Professional
There are plenty of business owners and digital marketing generalists who can handle the day-to-day management of their own SEO.
Even at the corporate level, you may have web developers, content creators, and others who take care of the tasks that support your SEO program.
However, some situations absolutely require an experienced SEO professional to resolve.
Trying to fix major issues on your own can lead to an excessive amount of frustration and lost revenue.
So how do you know when the situation calls for the intervention of a seasoned pro?
Here are five times when you absolutely must hire an SEO.
1. Google Search Doesn’t Index Your Website or Pages
It is best to hire a professional to determine why your website is missing from Google search results.
An experienced SEO will waste no time and know what to look for.
It could be a simple oversight that doesn’t allow Google to crawl your website, or a more complex issue with your website’s structure or URL parameters.
It’s possible that your content is plagiarized or that Google thinks it looks too much like another page on your site.
There are many different reasons, and an SEO professional can help you fix the problem and get your website indexed and visible on Google.
2. During a site migration or redesign
Whenever major changes are made to a website’s domain, CMS platform, design layout, navigation, URL structure, etc., there are risks involved.
Blindly putting your website in the hands of a big web designer is not a good idea.
As a business owner, you need to understand how changes to your website can affect your organic search traffic.
You’ll want to consult with an SEO expert who handles site migrations to get a full breakdown of the different needs and technical requirements.
A benchmark can help you create a plan to reduce risk, help you manage migration, and monitor traffic anomalies after migration.
3. When organic traffic drops
If you notice that your Google search traffic is decreasing, would you know what to do?
Site traffic drops can happen for many reasons and most of them can be reversed.
How to fix it isn’t always straightforward, which is why hiring an SEO consultant is a good idea.
It could be a reporting issue or seasonal trends, an algorithmic change affecting the site at the page level, or a technical issue like a manual action affecting the site.
An SEO professional will be able to examine your search traffic trends and detect the most likely cause of your traffic loss and provide a clear path to correct the drop.
4. To undo a manual action
If you suspect organic traffic drops are due to a manual action, the first step will be to detect what type of manual action has taken place and which pages are affected.
You must resolve all issues on all affected pages before requesting a reconsideration.
A reconsideration review will explain the exact quality issues on your site, the efforts and steps you took to resolve them, and document the outcome of your efforts.
It must provide Google with good faith assurances that this will not happen again, that you have turned the corner, and that you will not continue to spam the Internet.
All of this should be handled with care and by someone experienced in manual actions.
5. Not getting results from SEO strategy
Maybe you’ve worked with a junior SEO or a well-known SEO agency and aren’t seeing the results you expected or need from your organic channel marketing efforts.
Maybe your SEO strategy has worked really well and you’ve been too busy to spend the time to keep the lead machine running smoothly.
Maybe you’ve DIYed and don’t enjoy it anymore.
Whatever the reason, if you’re unhappy with your current organic strategy, it’s time to hire an SEO.
Listen to your intuition, clear the mental space, and continue to address other aspects of your business that spark joy.
Choose a referencing
I’ve worked in search marketing for over a decade, and in that time I’ve seen long-term marketers share bad advice and newcomers share great advice.
I’ve seen people gain popularity quickly and I know a few who prefer to fly under the radar.
So this list will not include years of practice or contain any reference to popularity metrics.
These six tips, however, are going to help you choose an SEO that best suits your business goals.
1. Clear Communication
Communication is number one. You need to understand what your SEO recommends, how it will be implemented, and how results will be tracked.
Ask for explanations if something is unclear.
Ultimately, it’s your business that’s at stake, so it’s in your best interest to know exactly how a marketer plans to help you.
Google warns that deceptive or misleading tactics, such as “disposable” doorway pages or domains, could cause your website to be removed from Google’s index.
There’s a level of comfort and ease that comes with knowing someone has your best interests in mind.
Red flags will appear when you feel like “just a number” and fast forward without any explanation.
2. Strategy aligns with your business goals
Be prepared to pay upfront for an SEO audit so the strategy can be tailored to your business goals.
Before signing a contract or agreeing to work with someone, you need to make sure that their idea is in line with your own idea for your business.
While it’s true that marketers can’t promise or guarantee results, they can align their strategy and goals with what you define as a win.
For example, suppose you hire an SEO because the leads your website is currently generating are not good.
If the SEO you’re talking to reviews Google Search Console clicks and says, “Hey, you can increase traffic by 300% by moving that keyword from position seven to position three!” – it’s not a good game.
You don’t want to drive traffic to pages that generate low-quality leads.
If the SEO you’re talking to plans to start by talking to your sales team to come up with a good keyword strategy, you now have someone listening to your business needs and working to help you achieve your goals.
3. Knowledge of SEO
There are many different specialties within the general term of search engine optimization.
For example, if you are going through a site migration, you will be looking for an SEO with technical skills.
Whereas, if you were ranking well and had losing traffic, you’ll want someone who has a good understanding of organic content strategy to regain your keyword rankings.
Maybe your website is technically sound and you have content that converts well, and now you’re looking for someone with PR chops to earn more backlinks.
Just like when you create an application, the developer must be able to code in this language. The SEO you hire should know the type of SEO your website needs.
4. Cost of service
Before you start looking, it’s important to determine a marketing budget where you can’t reasonably expect results in the next six to 12 months.
The cost of SEO services varies a lot depending on the type of service, provider and plan.
In 2022, SEO packages aren’t as common as a monthly installment.
For local SEO, the price range is between $300 and $1,500 per month, while domestic or international installments are between $5,000 and $10,000 per month.
Hourly rates for SEO consultants range from $75 to $1,500 per hour.
When hiring an SEO, make sure you have your expectations in check.
A 2017 study tracked keyword rankings on 2 million pages over the course of a year.
After a year, only 5.7% of all pages studied ranked in the top 10 search results for at least one keyword.
Prove that SEO is a long game.
It took between two and six months for the “lucky pages” to get to the first page.
In fact, I shouldn’t call these pages “lucky” because there was probably SEO behind the scenes that put in the work.
6. Ask for references
Even if an SEO shares amazing results on social media, or gets referred by a friend, or has great case studies, ask for referrals.
Just like you would when hiring an employee.
When checking references, ask questions to find out if the SEO’s advice was helpful and lasting.
The mark of a good SEO is its ability to integrate optimization processes into general business operations.
You’ll want to make sure the SEO practitioner is focused on long-term gains and not just quick fixes.
Questions to Ask When Hiring an SEO
When hiring an SEO, questions like “How will you improve my website?” aren’t helpful because they may have a different idea of what it means to “improve” than you do.
Try to phrase your questions in a way that gives a better idea of how their processes fit with your business goals.
Here are seven questions to ask yourself when hiring an SEO:
- Can you share a success story where you solved a problem similar to mine?
- How do you measure the success of your SEO campaign?
- How often will I receive campaign updates and analytics?
- What are the most important SEO techniques?
- What areas (if any) do you outsource?
- What are your fees and payment terms?
- What happens when we break up?
Many SEO best practices can be managed internally, once you have basic SEO skills and processes in place.
There are, however, situations when it is better to hire an SEO professional, such as a site migration or reversing a drop in organic traffic.
During the hiring process, be sure to ask questions that will help you find an SEO that matches your marketing goals.
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