How do you find the best SEO consultant for your company? As a business owner, you need to know what services they offer, when it is appropriate to take on the services of an SEO professional, and how they can help. In this blog post, we will answer all these questions and give you pro tips so that you can make an informed decision about which freelance SEO consultant is right for your company.
Before we go any further, let us define what a freelance SEO expert is. A freelance SEO expert is an individual with expertise in search engine optimization who offers their services to many small businesses. He can work on an as-needed basis with other clients and work for a digital marketing agency at the same time.
Freelance SEO Specialists offer wide a range of services, such as:
Technical Tuning and Troubleshooting – Technical tuning or technical SEO is the process of optimizing a website site before working on on and off-page optimization. The task entails making a website crawlable, fast, and safe. Thus, creating a better experience for the users. This may also cover technical troubleshooting for content management systems like WordPress or customer relationship management tools (CRM) such as Salesforce.
Keyword Research and Analysis – Keyword research is the process of searching for terms your potential customers use when searching online. SEO experts will then analyze these keywords and create content targeting those terms to boost organic traffic. This process use keyword research tools like AHREFS to discover which high volume, low competition keywords. They also use competitor analysis an advanced white hat SEO technique. They will examine the keywords and the SEO strategy your competitors use to get your business ahead of the game. This is one of the many ways an SEO specialist can improve your rankings on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
On page SEO – the practice of optimizing the pages of a website according to Google’s guidelines and boost a website’s ranking on the results page. When done correctly, this will get you quality traffic from organic search results.
Creating Links/Links Acquisition – Link building involves guest posting and acquiring links from other websites to build a website’s authority. Link-building is a very arduous and tedious task, and this is one of the many instances when hiring a freelance SEO comes in handy.
Content Development and Strategies – this is when you build your audience by consistently planning, publishing, and maintaining invaluable online content that educates and entertain users and converting these users into customers. These tactics should be used in conjunction with search engine optimization and link building, such as guest blogging. Put in mind that Google always puts the users’ satisfaction first. Hence, hiring a freelance SEO consultant may be more practical as they are more up-to-date and well-conversed with the search engines’ best practices and trends.
Here is the essential guide to help you decide if they are the right SEO freelancer for your company:
- Determine your SEO needs and define your goals. Define your SEO needs before committing to hiring an SEO freelancer. This step is crucial before hiring or contacting any freelancer. You can hire a freelancer to perform an SEO audit or do this yourself. Make a clear list of what you want to achieve with SEO, not the other way around to make the most of your time and money. This will help create an estimate of the budget and set criteria for the SEO freelancer. Doing so will avoid any unpleasant surprises and prevent you from paying for SEO services that your business does not need.
- SEO Budget and Experience Level. You might wonder what relevance does budget has to the experience level. SEO costs vary depending on your business needs, the hours it will take them to complete the tasks, the freelancer’s experience, as well as the SEO services they offer like web design, link-building, etc. A more experienced SEO specialist may charge as high as $25 per hour to start. Whereas freelancers with less experience could charge as low as $5-$20 an hour. Some freelancers offer monthly packages made according to the client’s requirements. Others also offer packages to save money during busy seasons holidays or back-to-school season. Ask yourself, what budget do you have for your freelance SEO consultant? Do you need someone with a lot or little SEO freelancer background? Hire an SEO freelancer on an hourly basis if you have a limited budget but make sure it is still affordable. You must be realistic about what you can afford and how much support your business needs. The key is to hire someone who has the right skills, abilities, and resources for your budget.
- Work Resources. Another thing to consider before hiring is work resources. Ask yourself, how much can you allot for the work resources, tools, apps, etc?
- Ask your network for recommendations. Look for a freelancer who is credible, reliable, and trustworthy. Reach out to your family and friends in business fields related to yours for referrals to help you with your search. They might have worked with a freelance SEO expert at one time.
- Make a list of potential options. You can start your search on some of the popular platforms where SEO freelancers hang out. You can find them here:
Freelance sites will make it easier for you to trim down your list of potential candidates as they already did the vetting. Yet, looking through hundreds of profiles with similar qualifications and experience levels can become overwhelming. So the best approach is to find a freelancer with proven results in your industry is to narrow down candidates based on their work portfolio.
- Get ready to interview! Conduct a short phone or video interview with the freelancer before hiring them. Check their portfolio for a sample of their work, and a case study – if they have one. Know the SEO services they offer to help you choose the best freelance SEO consultant for you. Every freelance SEO consultant has a different skill set that goes into providing best-in-class service. Many of these professionals are experts in various areas. But some specialize in certain tasks such as link building or content creation. Find out what their knowledge includes by asking questions like “What types of services do you provide?” and “How many years experience do you have as an SEO professional?” during the interview. Ask about their SEO strategies and techniques. How do they align with your goals and how they can help you achieve them. The important part of this conversation is to find out what type of work they do. If they have experience working with a company related to your niche. How much of their time can they dedicate to your project, and how long it would take them to complete your project. So you can have an idea of whether they qualify to handle your business’s needs.
Want more traffic to your website?
- Paid Test Project. An SEO expert should be up-to-date with the search engines’ latest algorithm updates. One way to measure the SEO candidate’s knowledge is to give them a paid test project. This will make sure they are using the best practices in their work. Make certain to align the project with the actual work they will be doing for you in the future. The process will give you an overview of how they work and the results they can produce. This test also comes in handy if you plan to hire a freelancer with little or no experience.
- Communication, Availability, and Reporting. Be clear about the type of communication style that will work best for you, and whether they have enough time on their hands to take on your project. Ask them what metrics do they report on and how often. Be clear on what decisions they can make on behalf of your business. Remember that you are hiring a freelance SEO consultant to take off some of your workloads. You should not be micro-managing them and they should not be communicating with you at all times.
- Research on them before hiring. Conduct detailed research after narrowing down your list of potential SEO candidates who passed your set criteria. Check their portfolio for reviews about past successful projects they have completed. Read blogs by other business owners who hired them (both positive and negative). Including testimonials from clients, they have worked with before committing to hiring them. It is always better to find out beforehand if they have had satisfied clients or not.
10. Pricing structure and budget constraints. Ask for a package suited to your business needs if you want to hire on a per-project basis. This will save you time and resources. Assure that the potential candidate offers ongoing support once the project is complete. In any case, the cost should include this plus an extra fee if needed. Other SEO freelancers do not provide the assurance for continued help post-completion otherwise specified.
Oftentimes freelance SEOs charge on a per-hour basis to keep it flexible for both parties. Ask for a contract if you plan to hire on a per-hour basis. The contract should note the responsibilities of each party, the detailed project scope, and milestone timeline goals.
Consider hiring the services of an SEO freelancer who will charge by project or retainer if there are no limitations when it comes to the budget. This way you get what you need and not overspend on something that may be unnecessary. Last but not the least, ask them the type of payment options they accept. If they prefer wire transfer or PayPal so you can process payments without delays. This will also help keep things simple which makes everyone happy!
When do you require the services of an SEO freelancer?
- If you have a new website. It is ideal to start optimizing from the get-go. Freelance SEO consultants will work with you to define your niche, establish the site architecture, and create a strategic plan for future growth.
- When you have an idea or concept that you want to put in place as soon as possible, a freelance SEO consultant would help. He/she will do the research and come up with website copy for your site, blog posts, social media content, etc. besides on-page optimization which is crucial if you want high rankings!
- If you are looking for someone who will take care of your link-building efforts while working so it does not affect your day job, then hiring a freelance SEO expert may be one way out! Plus they will provide weekly updates about what is happening on the backend along with suggestions for new things to try.
- If you do not have time to do research, build links, or optimize your site for search engines. Then hiring a freelance SEO consultant may be the answer. They will take charge of all these duties and give you regular progress updates. So you can concentrate on other aspects of your company’s growth.
- When you need help with website content optimization. Whether you need a hand to make sure keyword usage is appropriate on all pages to rank higher in search engine results pages. Or you need guidance on which keywords should (or shouldn’t) be used according to competition level. Research competitor websites for information that could give insight into how best to optimize. In any case, it may be better for your business to choose to hire a freelance SEO specialist if you do not have time to do these.
When not to hire one?
- If your business requires more extensive SEO experience and you are not sure if it is worth the cost. Then consider hiring a full-time SEO coordinator who will work on your project for an extended period of time. This route is beneficial for companies that have been in business long enough to accumulate content that needs updating. Including managing an existing SEO campaign where extensive SEO experience is vital.
- Some business owners prefer to do all the work themselves. For this reason, they would rather not hire a freelance SEO consultant out of convenience or because it is too expensive for them. Although this is possible, there are aspects of search engine optimization that may be difficult to master without the experience or expertise of an SEO expert.
- If quality service at an affordable price with minimal effort from yourself sounds like something that’s right up your alley. Then by all means choose a freelance SEO consultant! You will not regret it in the end when they increase your search engine rankings over time and bring fresh eyes to updating outdated blog posts or social media accounts which can lead to much bigger success.
It is always better to seek the services of a freelancer that specializes in either link building or content marketing if you need a more specific task completed. So they can focus their efforts more efficiently while you are working with them. Rather than having your project delayed by someone who does everything from A-Z but not very well at any of those tasks. Do this only when you are willing to spend a little extra money on these particular projects while keeping costs down elsewhere. And things may go smoother for both parties involved.
Make sure you choose a good SEO freelancer. One that has enough experience as some people will bid anything to get started online. Be certain that this person offers quality service before hiring them. And prepare to pay top dollar as it becomes harder to find good help these days without being willing to spend money!
In conclusion, a freelance consultant can add value in different ways depending on what you need them to do. There are many reasons why freelance SEO consultants can be a great investment for your business. You will need to weigh the benefits and risks of hiring freelance services before you give them any work.