To answer the first question, you don’t have to. You can take the time to learn all about it yourself, buy all the tools needed to implement it properly and then spend the time it takes to implement an SEO strategy. Oh wait, you have a business to run and a life, so yes you might want to consider paying for SEO services, or at least an SEO consultation to determine what needs to be done.
But if you do decide to look for a freelance SEO consultant what should you look for? There are a lot of them out there, and for a person with minimal knowledge of the discipline themselves making a choice can be hard, especially when your website’s reputation is at stake.
Here are some things to consider before you engage with a freelance SEO consultant:
Did they reach out to you?
Often you will find that the freelancers who reach out to you are not of the same quality as the ones that you’d want to approach.
Was the initial email personalized?
If you receive an email about SEO services that begins “Dear Sir/Madam” or “Dear Site Owner” you can dismiss it right away. This is a mass email sent by someone who has a pretty poor grasp of proper business communications, let alone SEO or what your business really needs. If the email is personalized however, and the sender seems to have knowledge of your site, it may be worth pursuing further, because at least this person has bothered to do their homework.
When you visit their website do you see a list of clients they have successfully helped?
Does the freelance SEO consultant you are considering hiring display – or offer – case studies of clients who have had notable and measurable improvements? It’s important to understand what they have been able to achieve for others.
You should also verify independently that 1) these clients are real and 2) they are performing as well as these case studies claim. Can you really find them on page one of a Google search? It’s not being sneaky, it’s being cautious.
There are a lot of bad SEOs out there that sometimes do some terrible things in the name of making a fast profit. Things like buying backlinks, hiding pages, and paying for placement in what are known as private blog networks are almost certain to get your site penalized very quickly or even removed from the SERPs altogether. But the bad SEO won’t care. As soon as they have cashed your check, the chances are they’ll disappear. They know what they do is bad, but it gets very short-term results and why should they worry about what happens down the road? It’s your business, not theirs.
What are they charging?
As a general rule of thumb, the super cheap SEO packages are cheap for a reason. The kind of company that offers a genuinely beneficial freelance SEO consultant will never do it for a few hundred pounds because it is a very labor-intensive process. Basically, if the price sounds too good to be true it probably is.
What can you Google about them?
Now, Googling a freelance SEO consultant is not always a good way to gauge the quality of a service because often reviews are fake or even slanderous. That being said, you should spend a bit of time researching any company you are about to give money to just to make sure there aren’t any horrendous stories of bad customer service or outcomes.