Google search attorney John Mueller has taken to Twitter for advice on what to look for when hiring an SEO consultant.
He raised the question on behalf of someone who ran a petting zoo, indicating a need for a local SEO consultant to improve their online presence.
“Anyone have recommendations in terms of people/companies and things to consider when choosing one?” Mueller asked her tweet“How do you separate the serious people from the less serious people?”
Here’s a look at the conversation that followed, including a number of insights on what to look for when hiring SEO professionals.
Cost Considerations in SEO Consulting
One of the responses to Mueller’s tweet highlighted the cost-sensitive nature of SEO consulting.
Kris Roadruck emphasized that most low-budget local SEO services, charging less than $1,000 per month, are “slash shops” that offer minimal service.
He says these services follow a generic formula and warned that this is the level of quality companies can expect unless they stretch their budgets.
“Unfortunately, this is budget sensitive. Almost all people doing low-budget local SEO (under $1000/month) are shops that do very little and just follow a generic formula made by underpaid people. Unfortunately, this is the price range that most local businesses can afford unless they are lawyers, dentists or some other high value service based business.
“This is painfully true,” reads one reply to his tweet.
Look for experienced SEO agencies
Isaline Muelhauser responded to Mueller’s tweet suggesting that a local agency might be a helpful resource.
she outstanding the advantages of working with an agency that operates in the same area as the business that requires local SEO services:
“Choose someone who has experience in local SEO and understands the local market.
For example, for local SEO we handle multilingualism and often low [monthly search volume].
The owner of the petting zoo should feel that it is understood that their business does not receive general cover.”
To that end, it helps to ensure that the agency you hire is familiar with the tools of the trade.
An individual who goes by the SEOGoddess handle on Twitter states:
“If the local SEO company knows what @yext or @RenderSeo is, that’s the first step to trusting that they know what they’re doing. From there it’s all about building a good strategy and knowing how to help execute -the”.
Twitter sharing statistics
The Twitter thread prompted several responses. However, these key themes were left unexplored:
Specific criteria or red flags to consider when evaluating potential SEO consultants. Concrete examples or case studies that demonstrate successful SEO strategies (bonus points for businesses like an animal park.
To address these gaps, let’s look at a successful SEO strategy for a local pet business.
The most relevant case study I found is from Step 5 Creativewho performed local SEO services for Deer Grove Animal Hospital in Illinois.
This case study shows what a comprehensive SEO approach entails and what you should expect from an experienced agency.
Consequences of a successful SEO strategy
The first step in the Step 5 SEO campaign was a thorough onboarding process, which included the following:
Creating Meta Titles and Descriptions Conducting a URL Audit Ensuring a Mobile Friendly Site Setting Up Appropriate Page Structures Internal Navigation Audit Implementing Local Business Structured Data.
The above steps aim to improve a site’s visibility to human visitors and search engine bots.
Step 5 strategy also involved making sure the business was listed in local online directories and had a complete Google Business Profile.
Re-evaluating keywords was another crucial step. The team monitored the clicks and positions of the targeted keywords and adjusted their strategy accordingly.
The team conducted extensive keyword research, experimenting with different variations of keywords to see which performed better.
Reviewing Animal Hospital’s traffic acquisition and bounce rate report helped the Step 5 creative team understand where visitors came from and how they interacted with the site. This information allowed them to improve the user experience and encourage better traffic flow.
Finally, the team stresses the need for continuous upgrades for long-term success. This goes back to the point above about working with an SEO consultant who is committed to keeping up with best practices.
Criteria and red flags in SEO consulting
In the complex world of SEO, it is essential to differentiate between “serious” and “less serious” consultants.
Serious consultants are invested in understanding your business, your industry and your specific needs.
Conversely, less serious consultants may offer generic services that do not meet your unique requirements.
Here are additional criteria to consider and red flags to look out for when hiring an SEO professional:
Personalized strategy: A serious SEO consultant will take the time to understand your business, its goals and challenges and design a tailored SEO strategy accordingly. A consultant offering a one-size-fits-all solution without understanding your needs could be a red flag.
Transparency: Reputable SEO consultants will be open about their methods and strategies and be able to explain them in terms you understand. Beware of consultants who promise immediate results or use jargon to confuse you.
Song History: Look for consultants with a proven track record of success. They should be able to provide case studies or references from previous clients. Consider it a red flag if a consultant is unwilling or unable to provide evidence of their success.
Continuous learning: SEO is a constantly changing field. Serious consultants will keep up with the latest SEO trends and algorithm changes. Be wary of consultants who rely on outdated practices.
Ethical practices: A serious SEO consultant adheres to ethical SEO practices, often called “white hat SEO.” Avoid consultants who suggest or use unethical practices known as “Black Hat SEO” such as keyword stuffing or hidden text.
To sum up
The Twitter conversation started by Google’s John Mueller provided valuable insight into what to consider when choosing an SEO professional.
Cost should not be the only factor, as low-budget services often deliver minimal results.
Instead, prioritize experienced SEO agencies that understand the local market and have a track record of success.
Look for consultants familiar with the tools of the industry who can develop a personalized strategy adapted to the needs of your business.
Other essential factors include transparency, a proven track record, continuous learning and adherence to ethical practices.
By following these guidelines, you can make an informed decision when hiring an SEO consultant that will help your business thrive in the digital landscape.
Featured image generated by the author via Midjourney.