Top Questions You Should Ask An SEO Consultant Before You Hire Them

Your potential customers will never know you exist if you're not showing up on the first page of Yahoo, Bing and especially Google. The better your search visibility is, the better your website and business will do. You want improved brand awareness and you want to make more sales, which is why search visibility is crucial.

It takes time and expertise to get a good rank in the search results. This is why you should hire a  search engine optimization (SEO) consultant. With that said, below are 10 get questions you should ask a prospective SEO consultant.

1. Ask For A List Of Clients - Any good SEO consultant will have no problems sharing a short list of clients they have worked with or currently working with. The reason why you want to see a list of clients is because it gives you an idea of how many people use them and trust them. However, some consultants can't show a list because of privacy issues, but the consultants should be able to tell you whether or not they helped their clients get positive results from the work they performed. If they can't tell you this or give you a straightforward answer, then find another professional to work with.

2. What Will They Do - If an SEO consultant cannot or will not tell you what kind of methods they will use, then stay away from them. Any good consultant should tell you what they plan on doing to help improve your site's ranking in the search engines. They should also provide you with an estimate of how long it will take to see results.

They should review your website and look for issues that can negatively impact your search engine rankings, and this includes looking for error pages and links that are broken. They should perform on page optimization, as this will help make your website more search engine friendly and user-friendly. On page methods include improving your website's internal linking structure and your site's URL, as well as developing tags, page titles and headings for your web pages.

Make sure to ask if the consultant will use off page strategies. Off page strategies may include creating content on other sites, such as social media and blogs. Some consultants provide both on page and off page SEO.

3. Do They Adhere To Webmaster Guidelines - Google has a list of webmaster best practices and there are prohibited common SEO tricks that are discussed. You want to make sure the SEO consultant you're considering hiring follows those guidelines because if they don't, then your site's rankings can suffer. Not only that, but there's a chance Google will just ban your site from its search results, which can have a dire impact on your business.

4. Are Page One Rankings Guarantee - Ask if the consultant guarantees first page rankings on Yahoo, Bing and Google because if they answer yes, then head in the other direction. There is noway anyone can guarantee first page rankings. However, some SEO consultants do guarantee it and they shouldn't.

It is a major red flag if an SEO professional claims they can get your site on the first page of any search engine. This is especially the case if they say Google. The bottom line is nobody can guarantee first page rankings.

5. Are They Good At Local SEO - Small brick-and-mortar stores should want to appear in the top of local search engine search results. This helps them get more local customers and increase their sales, which is why you want to find out if an SEO consultant is good at local SEO. If your site is optimized for local SEO, then people in the nearby area should have an easier time finding your business's website, when they search for relevant keywords.

6. Will Changes Be Shared - SEO often requires changes to a website, including the coding of a web page. You want to know what changes will happen before they actually take place. If you want to get permission for any changes that will occur, then tell the consultant because some consultants will just go ahead and make the changes.

For example, new title tags may be added or the existing tags may be modified. They may create new content or beef up the content you already have on your site or they may optimize all of your pages using various keywords. Whatever the consultants do or will do, you want to know about it.

7. How Will Campaigns Be Measured - In order to know whether or not SEO is working, you need to know how much traffic your site is receiving. You also need to know where that traffic is coming from. A good consultant will use tools to track campaigns. They should track things such as the number of links pointing to your site and which keywords people are using to find your site.

8. How Will Communication Take Place - Find out how the consultant will communicate with you and how often. Some people prefer to talk via Skype, in person or via texting and email. Your personal preference is what will determine whether or not the consultant will communicate with you in a satisfying way.

9. What Are Their Payments Terms And Fees - You want to know what you will pay and whether or not the consultants get paid based on per project or if they charge an hourly rate. The most common is project-based payments, but SEO consultants' fees do vary based on the size and complexity of a project. Contract projects can cost as little as $1,000 and go as high as $7,500 or more.

Find out when invoice payments are due. Ask if the consultant charges interest on payments that are late. These things are very important to know.

10. What Happens Afterwards - After your contract expires or if you want to terminate the contract early, you want to know what happens. For example, do you maintain ownership of the content that the consultant created? You must know what happens what happens when you part ways with the SEO consultant.

Have a look at the contract and see if it states what happens when you guys part ways. You want to make sure the content they added cannot be removed or change afterwards. If there is something you don't understand in the contract, then ask them to clarify it and don't do business with them if you're not satisfied with the answers they give you.