#2: Choosing a website marketing specialist
A lot of businesses get so confused when attempting to hire a website marketing specialist that they just give up altogether and don't hire anyone. Part of the dilemma is that they simply don't know whom to trust for this service. Confidence is always a dicky issue and one that is emotionally charged based on our individual experiences with others as we navigate through the maze we call life.
In SEO, trust issues are further magnified by the fact that there's no one-size-fits-all solution, nor one method that all SEO's use to bring targeted traffic to their client's websites. Where does this leave the person or company who wants to hire an SEO consultant, but doesn't know whom to trust? SEO A; tells them one thing, SEO B another, and SEO's C, D, E, and F entirely different things altogether! Who is right? Who is wrong? Whom should they hire? Whom should they beware of?
5 steps to consider:
- Do they set realistic expectations about what they can and can't do, or do they simply promise the moon?
Smart SEOs under-promise and over-deliver, so watch out for those that do the opposite (and there are many).
- Do they have a proven record of success and not just for long-tail keywords?
Be sure to check references to learn whether the SEO consultant improved their clients' bottom line in some way.
- Do they provide recommendations for making your site better than it currently is. Are they trying to do things to it that will make it worse for your users?
This one sounds crazy, but a good portion of SEO's think that it's all about the search engines and not the users, and make bad decisions accordingly. Never, ever, ever let an SEO consultant do something that you feel makes your site's overall usability or readability worse.
- Does the website marketing specialist tell you what they're doing and why they're doing it, or do they just want you to trust blindly?
This should set off a major red flag if you ever encounter it. Sure, you don't need to know every last detail or to micromanage your SEO campaign, but your SEO should be able to explain their reasoning for why they want to do the things they recommend. If they can't, or if their answers don't make sense, then run (don't walk) to the nearest door!
- Does the online marketing consultant use only automated methods to achieve their goals?
This isn't necessarily bad; however, you need to be aware if this is what they're doing. SEO is very much an art as well as a science, and because of this, creativity should always play a big part. It's tough to be creative when everything you do is a numbers game. Just keep that in mind!
Get to know the individual you're thinking of hiring, who will be working on your site, ask lots and lots of questions, and most of all use your gut and your common sense to determine if you'll be a good fit. If you are unsure, then keep on looking. There are plenty of marketing specialists in the sea, and there should be a few who use the methods you believe in, who are within your budget, and who will work hard to help you accomplish your website goals!