Questions to Ask when Hiring an SEO Expert

These questions should keep you out of shadowy territory and let them know that you’re not to be messed with.

1. What SEO strategies do you typically use?

TIP:  Make sure that your SEO consultant are not using Black Hat methods. Black Hat SEO is a technique used to manipulate search engine rankings. The strategy could boost a website traffic quickly, but the ranking of the site is short lived. Once Search Engines find out that the site has used trickery that violated their Terms of Service, your site ranking will eventually wear off or your site can be completely removed from the databases.

2. Do you have sample case study that I can read?

Install an app in your browser to display a site’s vital SEO statistics: try SEO Status for Firefox or SEO Status for Chrome.  When you visit the site that they’ve optimized, what is the PR number of Alexa rank?  At a minimum, an optimized site should have a PR of 3.

While reading, make sure the case study answers these questions:

  • How long have you worked on that site?
  • This site is ranking for which keywords?
  • What is their current rank when you search for that particular keyword?
  • How much traffic was the site getting before you worked on it?  How much traffic is the site getting now?  Exact numbers can be a private matter, but a percentage or a change ratio will let you know the results of the work provided and let you know if you can afford that budget for that return.

3. Can you provide references?

You are looking for happy clients here.  People that aren’t afraid to say they hired him/her, and that the work provided them the returns they were expecting.

4. Can you provide other traffic stats comparison?

Preferably, you’ll want more than one site as a reference/case study.  Do they have before/after shots of traffic for sites they’ve optimized?