There are many digital marketing entrepreneurs and generalists who can handle the day-to-day management of their own SEO.
Even at the corporate level, you can have web developers, content creators, and others taking care of the tasks that support your SEO program.
However, there are some situations that absolutely require an experienced SEO professional to resolve.
Trying to resolve major issues on your own can result in an inordinate amount of frustration and lost revenue.
So how do you know when the situation calls for the intervention of an experienced professional?
Here are five times you should absolutely hire an SEO.
- 1 1. Google Search Isn’t Indexing Your Website Or Pages
- 2 2. During A Site Migration Or Redesign
- 3 3. When Organic Traffic Drops
- 4 4. To Reverse A Manual Action
- 5 5. Not Getting Results From SEO Strategy
- 6 Choosing An SEO
- 7 Questions To Ask When Hiring An SEO
- 8 Final Thoughts
1. Google Search Isn’t Indexing Your Website Or Pages
Troubleshooting why your site is missing from Google search results is best handled by a professional.
An experienced SEO will waste no time and will know what to look for.
It could be a simple oversight that is not allowing Google to crawl your site, or a more complex issue with your site’s structure or URL parameters.
It is possible that your content is plagiarized or that Google thinks it is too similar to another page on your site.
There are many different reasons, and an SEO professional can help solve the problem and get your site indexed and visible on Google.
2. During A Site Migration Or Redesign
Whenever there are major changes to a website’s domain, CMS platform, design layout, navigation, URL structure, etc., there are risks involved.
Putting your site blindly in the hands of a great web designer is not a good idea.
As a business owner, you must understand how changes you make to your website can affect your organic search traffic.
You should consult an SEO expert who handles website migrations for a thorough analysis of different technical needs and demands.
An SEO can help you create a plan to mitigate risk, assist with migration management, and observe post-migration traffic anomalies.
3. When Organic Traffic Drops
If you notice that Google Search traffic is decreasing, would you know what to do?
Website traffic drops can happen for a variety of reasons and most of them can be reversed.
How to fix it isn’t always simple, which is why hiring an SEO consultant is a good idea.
It could be a reporting failure or seasonality trends, an algorithmic change affecting the site at the page level, or a technical issue such as a manual action affecting the site.
A professional SEO will be able to review your search traffic trends and detect what is the most likely cause for your traffic loss and provide a clear path to correcting the drop.
4. To Reverse A Manual Action
If you suspect that organic traffic drops are due to manual action, the first step is to detect what kind of manual action took place and which pages were affected.
You must correct all issues on all affected pages before submitting for a reconsideration review.
A reconsideration review will explain the exact quality issues on your site, the efforts and steps you took to fix them, and document the result of your efforts.
It needs to give Google a good faith guarantee that it won’t happen again, you’ve turned the corner, and you won’t continue to spam the Internet.
All of this needs to be handled carefully and by someone experienced in navigating manual actions.
5. Not Getting Results From SEO Strategy
Perhaps you are working with a junior SEO or well-known SEO agency and are not seeing the expected or needed results from your organic channel marketing efforts.
Perhaps your SEO strategy has worked too well and you are too busy to take the time to keep the main machine running smoothly.
Maybe you’ve done DIY SEO and don’t like it anymore.
Whatever the reason, if you’re unhappy with your current organic strategy, it’s time to hire an SEO.
Listen to your intuition, free up mental space, and continue to address other aspects of your business that spark joy.
Choosing An SEO
I’ve been in search marketing for over a decade, and during that time I’ve seen long-term marketers share bad advice and newcomers share good advice.
I’ve seen people gain popularity quickly and I know some who prefer to fly under the radar.
Therefore, this list will not include years of practice or contain any reference to popularity metrics.
These six tips, however, will help you choose an SEO that best aligns with your business goals.
1. Clear Communication
Communication is number one. You need to understand what your SEO is recommending, how it will be implemented, and how the results will be tracked.
Ask for explanations if something is unclear.
Ultimately, it’s your business that’s at stake, so it’s in your best interest to know exactly how a marketer plans to help you.
Google warns that deceptive or misleading tactics, such as landing pages or “throwaway” domains, could result in your site being removed from Google’s index.
There is a level of comfort and ease that is felt when you know someone has your best interest in mind.
Red flags will pop up when you feel “just a number” and move on quickly without any explanation.
2. Strategy Aligns With Your Business Goals
Be prepared to pay upfront for an SEO audit so the strategy can be tailored to meet your business goals.
Before signing a contract or agreeing to work with someone, you need to make sure their idea aligns with your own idea for your business.
While it’s true that marketers cannot promise or guarantee results, they can align your strategy and goals with what you define as a win.
For example, let’s say you’re hiring an SEO because the leads your site is currently generating aren’t good.
If the SEO you talk to reviews Google Search Console clicks through and says, “Hey, you can increase traffic by 300% by raising this keyword from position seven to position three!” – that’s not a good combination.
You don’t want to increase traffic to pages that are generating low quality leads.
If the SEO you talk to plans to start by talking to your sales team to define a good keyword strategy, you now have someone who is listening to your company’s needs and working to help you achieve your goals.
3. Knowledge Of SEO
There are many different specialties within the general term search engine optimization.
For example, if you are going through a site migration, you will look for an SEO with a technical skill set.
Whereas if you were ranked high and have meaningless traffic, you’ll want someone who has a good understanding of organic content strategy to regain your keyword rankings.
Maybe your website is technically solid and you have content that converts well, and now you’re looking for someone with PR skills to gain more backlinks.
Just like when you create an application, the developer needs to be able to code in this language. The SEO you hire needs to have knowledge of the type of SEO your website needs.
4. Cost Of Service
Before you start looking, it’s important to determine a marketing budget where you can’t expect results in the next six to 12 months.
The cost of SEO services varies greatly depending on the type of service, provider, and plan.
In 2022, SEO packages are not as common as a monthly retainer.
For local SEO, the price range is between $300 and $1,500 per month, while domestic or international retainers are between $5,000 and $10,000 per month.
Hourly rates for SEO consultants fall between $75 and $1,500 per hour.
When hiring an SEO, be sure to check their expectations.
A 2017 study tracked keyword placement on 2 million pages over the course of a year.
After one year, only 5.7% of all pages studied ranked in the top 10 search results for at least one keyword.
Proving that SEO is a long-term game.
It took between two and six months for the “lucky pages” to hit the front page.
In fact, I shouldn’t call these pages “lucky” because there was probably an SEO behind the scenes at work.
6. Ask For References
Even if an SEO shares amazing results on social media, or is referred by a friend, or has great case studies – ask for references.
Just like you would when hiring an employee.
When checking references, ask questions to see if the SEO guidance was helpful and sustainable.
The hallmark of good SEO is its ability to integrate optimization processes into overall business operations.
You should make sure the SEO professional focuses on long-term wins and not just quick fixes.
Questions To Ask When Hiring An SEO
When hiring an SEO, ask questions like, “How will you improve my site?” are not helpful because they may have a different idea of what “improve” means than you do.
Try to phrase your questions in a way that gives you a better idea of whether their processes align with your business goals.
Here are seven questions to ask when hiring an SEO:
Many SEO best practices can be handled in-house once you have basic SEO skills and processes.
There are, however, situations where it is better to hire a professional SEO – such as a site migration or reversing a drop in organic traffic.
During the hiring process, be sure to ask questions that will help you find an SEO that aligns with your marketing goals.
Featured Image: insta_photos/Shutterstock