There are plenty of business owners and digital marketing generalists who can handle the everyday management of their own SEO.
Even at the enterprise level, you may have web developers, content creators, and others taking care of tasks that support your SEO program.
However, there are some situations that absolutely require an experienced SEO professional to resolve.
Trying to tackle major issues on your own can result in an inordinate 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 should absolutely hire an SEO.
1. Google Search Isn’t Indexing Your Website Or Pages
Troubleshooting why your website is missing from Google search results is best handled by a professional.
An experienced SEO will not waste any time and will know what to look for.
It could be a simple oversight that is not allowing Google to crawl your website or a more complex issue with the structure of your website or URL parameters.
It’s possible that your content is plagiarized or that Google thinks it’s too similar to another page on your site.
There are many different reasons, and an SEO professional can help solve the problem and get your website indexed and visible on Google.
2. During A Site Migration Or Redesign
Any time there are major changes 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 great web designer is not a good idea.
As the business owner, you should understand how the changes made to your website may 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 demands.
An SEO can help you create a plan to reduce risks, assist in managing the migration, and watch for traffic anomalies post-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 a lot of 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 glitch or seasonality trends, an algorithmic change affecting the site at a page level, or a technical issue like a manual action affecting the site.
A professional SEO will be able to review your search traffic trends and detect what the most likely cause for your traffic loss is and provide a clear path to correcting the drop.
4. To Reverse A Manual Action
If you suspect organic traffic drops are due to manual action, the first step will be detecting what type of manual action took place and which pages are affected.
You need to fix all of the issues on all of the affected pages before submitting for a reconsideration review.
A reconsideration review will explain the exact quality issues on your site, the efforts and steps you’ve taken to fix them, and document the outcome of your efforts.
It needs to provide Google with good-faith assurance that it won’t happen again, you’ve turned the corner and won’t continue to spam the internet.
All of which need to be handled with care and by someone with experience navigating manual actions.
5. Not Getting Results From SEO Strategy
Maybe you’ve been working with a junior SEO or a well-known SEO agency and are not seeing the results you expected or need from your organic channel marketing efforts.
Maybe your SEO strategy worked really well and you’ve been too busy to devote the time needed to keep the lead machine operating smoothly.
Maybe you have been DIY-ing SEO and no longer enjoy it.
Whatever the reason, if you are unhappy with your current organic strategy, then it is time to hire an SEO.
Listen to your intuition, free up the mental space, and continue to tackle other aspects of your business that spark joy.
Choosing An SEO
I’ve worked in search marketing for well over a decade, and during this time, I’ve seen long-term marketers share bad advice and newcomers share really good advice.
I’ve seen people gain popularity quickly and know a few that prefer to fly under the radar.
So, this list is not going to 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 aligns with your business goals.
1. Clear Communication
Communication is number one. You need to understand what your SEO is recommending, how it will be implemented, and how results will be tracked.
Ask for explanations if something is unclear.
Ultimately, it’s your business that is on the line so it is in your best interest to know exactly how a marketer plans to help you.
Google warns that deceptive or misleading tactics, such as doorway pages or “throwaway” domains, could result in your website being removed from Google’s index.
There is a level of comfort and ease that is felt when you know someone has your best interest in mind.
Red flags will arise when you feel like “just a number” and quickly move along 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 fit your business goals.
Before you sign a contract or agree to work with someone, you need to make sure that their idea is in line with your own idea for your business.
While it is true that marketers can not promise or otherwise guarantee results, they can align their strategy and goals with what you define as a win.
For example, let’s say you’re hiring an SEO because the leads your website is currently generating are not any good.
If the SEO you chat with reviews Google Search Console clicks and says, “Hey, you can increase traffic by 300% by bumping this keyword from position seven to position three!” – that’s not a good match.
You don’t want to increase traffic to pages that are generating poor-quality leads.
If the SEO you chat with plans on starting with speaking to your sales team to define a good keyword strategy, now you have someone who is listening to your business’s needs and working to help you meet goals.
3. Knowledge Of SEO
There are many different specialties within the blanket term of search engine optimization.
For example, if you’re going through a site migration then you’re going to look for an SEO with a technical skillset.
Whereas, if you were ranking well and have sense loss 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 win more backlinks.
Just like when you build an app, the developer needs to be able to code in that language. The SEO you hire needs to have knowledge of the type of SEO that your website needs.
4. Cost Of Service
Before you start looking, it’s important to determine a marketing budget where you can reasonably not expect results for the next six to 12 months.
The cost of SEO services varies a lot depending on the type of service, the provider, and the plan.
In 2022, SEO packages are not as common as a monthly retainer.
For local SEO, the price range is between $300 and $1,500 per month, while national or international retainers fall between $5,000 and $10,000 per month.
Hourly rates for SEO consultants fall between $75 and $1,500 per hour.
When hiring an SEO, be sure to have your expectations in check.
A study from 2017 tracked keyword positioning on 2 million pages over the course of one year.
After one year, only 5.7% of all studied pages ranked in the top 10 search results for at least one keyword.
Proving that SEO is a long-haul game.
It took between two and six months for the “lucky pages” to make it to the first page.
Actually, I shouldn’t call these pages “lucky” because there was likely an SEO behind the scenes putting in work.
6. Ask For References
Even if an SEO shares amazing results on social media, or is referred by a friend, or has great case studies – ask for references.
Just as you would when hiring an employee.
When checking references, ask questions to find out if the SEO’s guidance was helpful and sustainable.
The mark of a good SEO is their ability to integrate the optimization processes into the general business operations.
You’ll want to make sure that the SEO practitioner focuses on long-term wins and not just quick fixes.
Questions To Ask When Hiring An SEO
When hiring an SEO questions like, “How will you improve my website?” are not helpful because they may have a different idea of what “improve” means than you do.
Try to phrase your questions in a way that provides a better idea of whether their processes align with your business objectives.
Here are seven questions to ask when hiring an SEO:
- Can you share a success story where you’ve 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 part ways?
A lot of SEO best practices can be handled in-house, once you have basic SEO skills and processes in place.
There are, however, situations where you are better off hiring a professional SEO – like 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 aligns with your marketing goals.
Featured Image: insta_photos/Shutterstock
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