article by contributing expert Kelly Fitzgerald from Savvy Marketing Services
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of getting found online. This is very important because how Google interprets the content of a website determines how it will rank in search results and how easily your prospective clients will find you.
Google wants to find the most results most relevant to a user’s search query. If your website ranks well in Google’s search results, it will naturally and organically attract more traffic. Once your site has attracted that traffic, if it is well-optimized it will more easily and consistently convert that traffic into clients.
It’s always a smart decision to invest in creating good SEO for your business. But to find the right SEO expert for your practice, you need a plan. Follow our 5 simple tips to find and hire the best SEO expert for you:
5 Things to Consider When Hiring an SEO Expert
- Do they have experience in your industry?
- Are they qualified?
- Does your professional network have recommendations?
- What is their approach to SEO?
- Are they someone you want to work with?
1. Do They Have Experience in Your Industry?
Focus on hiring an SEO expert that understands your business.
How can you do this? Look for someone who has worked with similar clients. They will be more familiar with the ins and outs of what SEO tactics work best in your specific niche. If they lack experience in your industry, ask them how they will address that knowledge gap.
Do your due diligence. Client testimonials and case studies can give you a good sense of their typical client profile and how much experience they have with your specific SEO needs.
Request client references – all SEO experts worth their salt will have these ready to send when you ask for them.
2. Are They Qualified?
Read their website’s About page and research their background on LinkedIn. Reach out to any shared connections to gather more information. Review their certifications related to digital marketing and SEO. Look for someone with a deep understanding of how SEO works. Have them explain SEO in non-technical terms to clarify any questions you may have – if they truly understand how SEO works in your specific industry, they will be able to do this.
Check they have experience implementing SEO on your website platform. Some questions you could ask them: are they familiar with updating SEO for Squarespace websites? Do they use the Yoast SEO plugin for clients with WordPress? What SEO results can you expect based on your website platform? Have they found more success with specific website platforms? Why do they think that is?
Get a sense of when you can expect to see a return on your investment. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Find a vendor that is realistic about how long it can take to see results. SEO takes time and anyone that promises otherwise either doesn’t know what they’re doing or is leading you on.
Avoid offers of guaranteed results.
3. Does Your Professional Network Have Recommendations?
Ask around. A strong recommendation from someone you know means a lot. And you’re more likely to get an honest, unvarnished opinion from a trusted colleague. If you hear the same firm or person recommended by many sources, that’s a good sign they are a worth considering.
Take the time to decide how you are going to evaluate your options. Create a list of 3-5 questions to ask each vendor. Identify the criteria you will use to determine the best fit and rate each SEO expert on a scale of 1-5.
Start interviewing your options.
4. What is Their Approach to SEO?
Have each vendor walk you through their process. Make sure you understand what they can deliver and their proposed timeline. Ask for clarification until you are clear on what to expect at the end of the SEO project. Their website should have clear resources to help you get a better understanding of how SEO works and what they can do to help you.
Have each vendor address the following questions.
- What deliverables can you expect?
- How much of your time is required during the project?
- How does data inform their strategy?
- What is the ongoing SEO maintenance?
- How do they measure results?
Use their free resources to educate yourself on the basics of SEO.
Understand your time commitment.
5. Are They Someone You Want to Work With?
It makes a massive difference when you actually like the person with whom you work! Select an SEO expert that you would enjoy working with and can communicate with easily. Assess how each vendor presents themselves throughout your evaluation process. Were they challenging to communicate with during your interviews? Expect a similar experience working with them as their client. Building one-way hyperlinks (sometimes known as “backlinks”) to a website with the aim of increasing search engine exposure is known as linkbuilding.
Be honest about how well-suited they are to work with. Are there any red flags you should address? Gauge what it would be like to work with them. Were they responsive to your questions? Did they address your concerns throughout the interview process?
Are they a good fit for you and your business?
Evaluate Your Findings and Hire an SEO Expert
Making a decision and hiring an SEO expert is exciting and can have a big impact on your practice’s success!
If you need some reliable recommendations to get you started, Uriah’s List from Productive Therapist has some great resources specifically for therapists. It contains a comprehensive, regularly-updated list of companies and individuals that offer SEO services along with other support services for therapy practices.
If you know colleagues with recent experience working with an SEO vendor, ask them for recommendations.
There are many ways to find a good SEO expert for your practice – a standard web search, recommendations from fellow practice owners, as well as the fantastic resource, Uriah’s List. When you find an SEO expert who truly understands your needs and goals for your practice, it can be the start of a fantastic, exciting working relationship that can revolutionize your practice!