What questions should you ask an SEO consultant before you hire them?

Hiring a consultant can feel like a complicated (and scary!) process, especially for something like Search Engine Optimization or getting more traffic where you may not see the results for 3, 6, or 9+ months (depending on the competitive landscape).

When you’re evaluating a Search Engine Optimization consultant, these are the questions that I recommend my friends and colleagues ask any consultants they’re evaluating.

There aren’t any ‘right’ answers per-say; rather, these questions let you see their thought process and strategic direction on a project.

An initial ‘Search Engine Optimization Discovery’ project makes the most sense to get these questions answered. That way, you get the questions answered in a way that makes sense for both you and the consultant and you’re able to ‘test the waters’ with a small paid project to see how you work together.

You’ll want to understand:
  1. What SEO issues your consultant sees site-wide on your site
  2. For your top performing pages for Organic traffic, what issues does the consultant see?
  3. What keywords are you currently ranking for? (Just the top 2-4 by traffic)
  4. What keywords are your #1 competitors ranking for? (Just the top 2-4 by traffic)
  5. What is the strategic plan for ranking higher / copying competitor keywords?
  6. How healthy is your backlink profile? (how many unique sites are linking to you, are they high quality, etc.)
  7. How does this compare to your competitors? (who is linking to them!)
  8. What would make sense as a link building strategy? What strategies does the consultant recommend/advocate? (You want to avoid anyone who mentions ‘Our secret method’ or ‘Using Private Blog Networks…’ — focus on sources of links that make sense for you, your products, and your business)
  9. What’s the plan to get +5-10 links from unique, high-quality referring domains every month?
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