If you are thinking about hiring an SEO consultant or an SEO agency then you probably understand the basics of SEO and are aware of how it can have a positive impact on your business.

You might have tried to do your own SEO and got so far but now can’t improve it further.

The most important thing is to set goals.

You need to measure how effective the consultant or agency is and without goals you can’t do that accurately.

Goals can range from where you rank on Google for agreed keywords, they could be contact forms filled out or orders if you are have an e-commerce business.

Firstly I would be wary of consultants or agencies that want a 12 month contract. Although SEO is a slow process, with the right KPI’s, you should start to see good progress within 3 to 6 months.

So what should you expect from the consultant?

Here are most if not all of the tasks that I would expect an SEO consultant to perform for you:

An SEO audit should be the first port of call. It will identify any technical errors with the website such as broken links, pages with low content count, indexing issues and missing or poor meta tags.

The next step would be to do some competitor analysis and keyword research. The consultant should then agree with you a list of keywords to work on and monitor.

They should provide you with a report which shows the current rankings of these keywords along with any other KPI you might want to track including website visits, contact forms filled out, sales, domain rating etc.

If you haven’t already got Google Analytics and Google Search Console set up they should help you to get these created.

Your consultant should be able to use Analytics and Search Console to provide you with reports such as how many people are visiting your website, where are they coming from i.e. organic search, paid, social media etc. Search Console can also show which organic keywords are driving the visits to your website.

The next step would be to optimise your website for the agreed keywords. This will require making sure that you have the right content. You might require additional pages.

Your web pages should have good quality and unique content. Each page will need the meta tags and image tags optimising.

The consultant should also look for internal linking opportunities from other pages on your site such as information pages or blog posts.

They might also recommend adding new content on a regular basis.

Backlinks are an important ranking factor and they should be able to assist you in getting backlinks on relevant sites such as local directories and may also suggest getting some PR work done so that you get exposure on journals or news sites. Here are a few examples: Smart Business Directory and Abi Logic.

Results

Monthly reports should be done so that progress can be tracked. These should include ranking reports showing the progress of your agreed keywords. You might also want to track how many people filled out your contact form and if you a running an e-commerce website you should track sales.

SEO is complex

Finally SEO is a complex topic and you should give your consultant or agency time to get results. If you want immediate page 1 search results then you need to be looking at Google Ads. Personally I recommend and mix of the two if your budget allows it.