Tips for Choosing the Right SEO Consultant

The professional organization of SEOmoz is a Seattle-based company that is highly respected in the SEO community. In 1981, SEOmoz began as a traditional marketing firm, but today the company specializes in SEO software, provides link intelligence API and hosts an active web community. Originally, the companys primary functions were consultation and providing tools and resources for SEO.

When it is time to look for an expert to head up a SEO team, finding the right person requires many decisions. A SEO consultant understands the entire process for developing a SEO campaign and managing everyone involved. However, the consultants role varies depending on the needs of the organization. If the consultant has full charge, an organization does very little work, but if the SEO team has a person with some expertise, hiring a consultant to collaborate with that person may be sufficient. Both the consultant and the client must understand the limitations of their core competencies regarding the area of SEO knowledge. The experts of SEOmoz offer tips on choosing a SEO consultant.

Choose a Model

Before choosing a SEO consultant, decide if the consultant or outsourcing model best fits the needs of a company. If there is an existing team, then a hired consultant can manage the SEO campaigns. For example, a consultant is necessary if there is no one with SEO expertise.

The other side of hiring a consultant is the concept of outsourcing. The manager of an existing team may have the knowledge but needs a consultant to assist with SEO implementation. Outsourcing the management of a team is necessary when the expert of the group or manager does not have the time or resources to manage them. In the end, organizations using the consultant model generally experience better results. Typically, small to medium businesses use the outsourcing model. Whether an organization decides to use a SEO consultant or outsource, realize that the two models are not interchangeable. It is imperative to know which model is used and incorporate it into the overall business model.

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Get Recommendations

When looking for a competent SEO consultant, there are several options. Recommendations from a company or person offer firsthand referrals for choosing a consultant with a positive rating. Search engine optimization conferences and events are other places to find a good consultant.

Be aware that lists on the Internet may be advertisements versus editorial endorsements for SEO consultants. Unfortunately, lists generated with a slant toward advertising generally do not give prospective clients enough unbiased information for decision based on performance and experience. In person and online networking are other key sources.

Lastly, professional blogs, forums and organizations are where other SEO professionals share information and are an excellent source when looking for reputable consultants.

Disclosure and Relationships

Trust in the relationship between a SEO consultant and the client is a two-way street and full disclosure of information is the foundation. Along with trust, a relationship before signing a contract and making a commitment is necessary. The free consultation portion of the service gives the client a feel for how the consultant approaches a companys SEO needs. It is a time for trying out the relationship and ironing out major kinks before the contract. However, a client should not expect a consultant to give away everything, and a consultant should expect to give a client full understanding of the strategies used in accomplishing the organization’s SEO goals. As an example, consultants should explain what work products and reports a client should expect. This part of the relationship requires careful balancing and reasonable expectations from each party.

Watch for Red Flags
Thoroughly check out the credentials of a SEO consultant who promises to get results quickly, and if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Results from a SEO campaign take time to develop, so grand promises of a lot of traffic and large movement in rank are unrealistic. Increased traffic and high ranking on Google are impossible to promise and consultants should warn clients of these facts. Communication and transparency are necessary between a customer and a SEO consultant because they build trust and long lasting, productive relationships.