5 things you should know before hiring an SEO Consultant

5 things you should know before hiring an SEO Consultant

If you are reading this, chances are you’re considering SEO for your business. You recognise the benefits of SEO and want to get started – great.

But, what next? How do you find an SEO and how do you know whether that person is right for your business?

There are lots of self-proclaimed ‘SEO Experts’ online. No doubt your inbox is full of people offering content creation and link-building services – mine is and I work in SEO!

It’s hard to know who’s good and trustworthy and who’s a bit of a cowboy out to make a quick buck.

SEO isn’t cheap and it takes time, therefore you want to be sure that you are hiring the right person.

In this post, I share 5 things to consider when hiring an SEO consultant.

  1. We are not all the same

I have had more than one conversation with a business owner who wants SEO but has been burnt in the past and is reluctant to try again.

I understand their reluctance but I counter it by saying if you had a bad experience with a dentist would you stop going to the dentist? No, you would do your due diligence and find another dentist. Of course, there will be people out there who did stop seeing the dentist and guess what – their teeth are falling out!

Now I am not saying if you don’t do SEO your teeth will fall out but if you give up on SEO efforts because of one or two bad ‘SEOs’ your business will not reach its full potential. Do you want an amazing website that ranks well and fulfils your customers’ needs or a rotten website that nobody can find?

When looking for an SEO, just like when looking for a dentist, a mechanic or even a new sofa, do your research:

  • Ask around – ask friends in business if they can recommend anyone
  • Check testimonials and reviews
  • Request case studies
  • Ask for references

There are many excellent SEO professionals out there, please do not be put off by a bad experience.

  1. Price isn’t an indicator of expertise

Price is always a factor. We are constantly comparing prices, picking one thing over the other because it’s cheaper or more expensive.

The cost of SEO varies massively. A monthly retainer can vary from £250-£10,000+. A quick google search will show you the average cost of SEO services in the UK, one article I found suggested the average is between £2000-£6000.  

We all know the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’. This usually refers to cheap items being low quality and generally, this is true. But just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it’s better. Especially in relation to SEO.

There are SEOs that charge £250 per hour and are worth every penny, there will also be SEOs that charge £250 that are as knowledgeable as someone charging £90 p/h.

I know of a few instances where a company was paying upwards of £3,000 per month for several months and not seeing any green shoots. It turns out the reason they didn’t see a return is because the agency doing SEO wasn’t actually doing any SEO. They would buy a few links each month and create the odd blog post and charge a lot of money for it.

The other end of the scale is cheap SEO. If someone is guaranteeing number 1 rankings for £150 a month, run a mile. 99.9% of the time it isn’t possible to get such results on such a low budget.

Price is important but don’t let it be the key factor when choosing an SEO professional. If you have done your due diligence and have two or three great candidates and you are confident they are good at what they do then sure go for the cheaper one but don’t go for the cheaper one based purely on the fact they are cheaper and vice versa.

  1. SEO is not magic – results are not guaranteed

SEO works but it isn’t magic, unfortunately, it will not transform your business at the click of a finger, or a mouse. If your product or service is good and you invest in SEO for as long as is needed then SEO can certainly change the fortunes of you and your business.

As I alluded to in my previous point, results are not guaranteed. No SEO worth his salt will tell you I will get your website number one for [Insert Keyword] by the end of next month. The best will under-promise and over-deliver.

Do not be lured by guarantees. Especially guarantees that can’t be backed up by a third party or data. A legitimate SEO will be very willing to share case studies and testimonials.

Occasionally a prospective client will ask for the contact information of a previous client. I am more than happy to share this and to be honest, I am pretty excited at this stage as I know it will be a glowing account of our time working together.

  1. SEO is broad

The goal of SEO is to optimise a website for greater visibility in search engines. To achieve this goal, SEOs concentrate on three core areas; on-page SEO, off-page SEO and technical SEO. Very few SEOs are a master of each area.

On top of this, there is local SEO, content SEO, eCommerce SEO and, of course, industry-specific – a SaaS SEO specialist would not be the best SEO for a travel business. Although the principles are the same, experience in a specific field is favoured over no experience.

Don’t get me wrong most SEO professionals have a good understanding of each area and will be able to provide suggestions to boost your site be it technically, on-page or off-page.

However, some SEOs bill themselves as being a specialist in one area such as technical SEO. If your site is having indexing or accessibility issues then this would be a good person to help with that but if your site requires content enrichment or backlinks then someone else, who specialises in those areas, would be better.

It is important to know what is holding your website back from performing well in organic search. If you have a brand new website then an overall SEO strategy will be beneficial. If you have an existing website that has historically performed well but is getting less traffic then you may need better-optimised content on more backlinks. An SEO will be able to analyse your website to determine what is impacting its performance.

Knowing what type of SEO your website requires will help you hire the right SEO.

  1. SEO is not a set it and forget it strategy

While an SEO is able to analyse and make recommendations without anyone else’s assistance, other people’s involvement is necessary for SEO to be effective.

In many cases, a developer will be needed to act on a recommendation. This could be something to improve page speed or to help google crawl your site more efficiently. If suggestions are made but not acted upon, your website will not benefit from SEO.

I have worked with clients in the past who simply didn’t implement my recommendations and quizzed me when their sales didn’t increase. If you want SEO to work and are paying an SEO professional, act on their recommendations! If you don’t, you are throwing money down the drain.

Additionally, if you have other marketing activities or are creating a new product then involve the SEO professional. Quite often they will be able to provide advice on how to enhance a campaign to also benefit SEO.

Experienced SEOs have worked on many websites in various industries, and their marketing and business knowledge exceeds search engine optimisation. Personally, I love helping clients with broader marketing activities.

Listen and act on recommendations – but don’t be afraid to question them – and ask for guidance in other areas.

Don’t treat SEO as an external activity. SEO doesn’t sit outside the business just because a consultant does it. Bring them in!

Hire an SEO

Bonus: 3 things you should know before hiring me

  1. I treat every client like my only client

I will always be your point of contact and I will always be the person working on your SEO campaign.

Whilst that could be holding me back from scaling it ensures I know excellent SEO is being performed on your site.

Relationships are so important to me. If you want a meeting, I will be available to have a chat and talk through anything you want – SEO-related, or not, as is quite often the case.

  1. I am fairly priced

My overheads are low. I work from home therefore I don’t pass office rental fees on clients. I don’t use every SEO software under the sun, I just use the best ones.

You could find cheaper and more expensive SEO professionals that aren’t as good as me. You could also find more experienced SEOs that are much more expensive than me.

I have worked in SEO for almost a decade. I have a lot of experience and great results. The price of my packages reflects this.

  1. I get results (but I don’t guarantee them)

“It depends” is a meme in the SEO world.

Client: How long until we get more sales?

It is important to manage expectations. Under promise, over deliver.

I have several case studies I can share with you to prove how efficient I am as an SEO consultant. I have excellent testimonials and the contact info of many happy clients.

I have been with one client for 5 years. Why do they keep paying me after 5 years? Because they keep getting more sales via organic search thanks to my SEO. It’s amazing!


If you are looking to hire an SEO consultant, I hope the points in this article will help you find the right person for your business.

It’s important to spend the time finding the right person but remember the sooner you get started with SEO the sooner the sales will start to come in.

Don’t sit on the fence for too long. Give SEO a go, today!

Book a 30-minute call or email me, and we can discuss your website needs.

About the author

Rory has worked as an SEO consultant for 9 years. He founded Parlez Creative after returning to Europe from Malawi where he lived for 2 years working for a safari tour operator. When he isn't working on client campaigns, you will likely find him on the golf course working on his swing! Or exploring the great outdoors with his family.

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