You probably heard all about SEO consultants, specialists, experts, and basically everything there is, but it gets a little confusing. You get all the possible options to choose from, but at the same time you need to hire someone to boost your website. You know what? That happens to everyone. The important part is to know what you need, and hire someone for that position.
Now, I'm going to talk about SEO consultants, what they do, where to find one, and how to work with them and drive results to your website.
What Is The Difference Between AN SEO Consultant And SEO Specialist?
An SEO specialist, is the same as an SEO expert, and they work on the website in order to increase its position in rankings, conversion rates, and sales, using specific digital marketing techniques. They don't just offer advice, but they also create content and make changes to the websites in order to move it up in the searches.
An SEO consultant, on the other hand, is there for you to analyze data, give you advice, and do little on-page optimization. They know as much as SEO experts, but offer a different range of services. If, for example, you want to do SEO on your own, then you need a consultant to guide you, rather than an expert to do it for you.
How To Identify A Good SEO Consultant?
You can identify a good SEO consultant from the first moments of the conversation. Ask them anything, and if they give you exact data, you'll know they're not right. In the industry, we have this joke, responding to everything with "it depends," because in SEO there's no universal answer. Of course, there are known methods, but a method is nothing without application.
If, for example, you ask an SEO, be it expert or consultant, how fast they can rank the website, and they give you a specific timeframe, you'll have to know they don't really know the industry.
I was once in a group chat between all sorts of experts and consultants, and the thing that bugged me the most, were the endless conversations about how "black hat" techniques can help you rank in under a week. Of course, they can also turn your website obsolete in an even shorter time. Anyway.
You know you have a good SEO consultant when they start with the beginning, they ask you questions about the website, what you've done already, if you're ok to start with an audit, how old is the website, how much content you already have, and all that. After you start working together, they'll probably find all this information in a matter of minutes anyway. It's important for them to be communicative, eager to help, and to listen to you.
Where To Find An SEO Consultant?
Now, this is the tricky part. You can find an SEO consultant on specialized social media groups, agencies, freelancing platforms such as UpWork or Fiverr, and basically everywhere. The problem is not where to find AN SEO consultant, but where to find a good one.
Always look at the reviews, ask them who they worked for, for how long, what kind of results they provided, and everything you want done for your business.
What Should I Ask My SEO Consultant?
Ask them how they changed a business, how they managed situations with difficult clients, ask about their certifications if you want. Let's make a list for this, shall we?
1. Who did you work with before?
2. How did you help them drive results?
3. How do you handle disagreements?
4. What do you do in your free time?
*this one is optional, but it can help you understand if they're passionate about it*
5. Do you think this website could rank? How fast?
6. What tools do you use?
7. What is the most important part of SEO?
8. Do you think it's important to communicate, or you like to do everything yourself?
Do You Need SEO Tools?
Yes, you do. Any business owner needs SEO tools, no matter how many specialists or consultants they have. You don't need to go crazy on it, but keep a few on hand to be able to analyze the situation yourself.
What I always recommend for my clients is to keep a close eye on the Google Search Console and Google Analytics, and to use SEMrush or Moz from time to time to analyze backlinks and the most important pages.
You basically need to keep track of the keywords used, and the overall progress. If there's something that doesn't make sense, you can always ask your consultant.
Can You Do SEO On Your Own?
Of course you can. Everyone can optimize for the search engines by themselves. What I recommend, is take a very good course on it. I personally recommend the Moz SEO Bootcamp and SEMrush courses. If you're the kind of person who likes to read, SEMrush also offers a lot of interesting eBooks, such as the SEO Toolkit eBook or the Content Marketing Checklist.
If you feel like you don't have enough time for it though, then it would be best to hire a specialist to do it for you. There are plenty of agencies and independent experts out there who would be more than happy to help you.