I often get calls from companies who are a little peeved at having wasted a large chunk of their marketing budget hiring an SEO consultant who simply didn’t deliver. Of course, as a search engine marketing firm this is great for me, but as a responsible business owner I feel it is my duty to point out a list of things you should check with a search engine marketing consultant before hiring their services.

  1. Can you tell me exactly how you conduct SEO?
    This might sound like a simplistic question, but a good consultant should be able to reel off a list of SEO techniques that have proved successful in the past.
  2. What are you going to need from me to be successful?
    This question will help you determine if he/she is going to take your money and run. “Nothing, just give me your URL and we will do the rest”, is the wrong answer!
  3. Do I control access to all admin accounts?
    It is vital that you control admin access to all your accounts. The last thing you want is to be locked out when you part company and take up with a new search engine marketing firm.
  4. What is a typical return on investment for one of your clients?
    Here you should be looking for proof. Most consultants will be able to quote you an average based on the median across their roster – a simple 100% answer is a random figure quoted to impress someone very gullible.
  5. How do you measure your effectiveness?
    Establishing success indicators at the start will help you to determine performance levels and monitor effectiveness.
  6. How will you communicate effectiveness to me?
    A good search engine marketing consultant will provide weekly or at the very least monthly reporting showing changes in your rankings and conversion ratios.
  7. Who will be my point of contact?
    You need to be able to contact your consultant with reasonable demand. If you are dealing with an intern all the time who has little if any knowledge then forget it and go somewhere else.
  8. If we part ways, will you remove all your work from my website and the links you have secured?
    This is majorly important. Establish at the start of the relationship what will happen when employment is terminated. Under normal circumstances you will own all the work.
  9. Can you give me some client references?
    When you hire an employee you check their references so why should hiring a search engine marketing consultant be any different? If possible get on the phone to one of their clients rather than relying on email.
  10. What sets you apart from any other search engine marketing firm?
    If the answer is #1 Google spots then be very sceptical. No one has a perfect record and what you should be looking for is answers like, “measurable and sustainable results, performance guarantees and a personal service”.
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