In the latest instalment of Search for beginners, Google has shared a three-step guide on tips for hiring an SEO. The video provided an extension from their last episode, which covered the top 5 things people should consider for their websites. The newest episode created by Google Webmasters breaks down the process of engaging with an SEO, particularly for businesses who may be doing so for the first time.
The animation begins by explaining what an SEO is and the benefits of having an SEO work on your site. According to Google, working with an SEO has the potential to dramatically improve your site while also saving you valuable time. However, they also warn that working with an inexperienced SEO professional risks damage to your site and reputation.
The purpose of the video is to give a general list of recommendations for businesses to keep in mind as they go about hiring an SEO specialist. Google has supplied an outline of the minimal recommended qualifications you should be looking for in a potential consultant. Here’s a breakdown of the tips offered by Google Webmasters.
1. Conduct an Interview
The first step is to conduct an interview with the potential SEO candidates. Google recommends taking the time to make sure the SEO is focused on the right things. A good SEO specialist will not be purely focused on search engine rankings. They should be considering how they can help your business by improving how you appear in search engine results.
According to Google, a good SEO consultant will ask questions like:
What makes your business and services unique and valuable?
Who is your target customer?
How do customers currently find your website?
How does your business make money?
What other marketing channels are you using?
Do you use offline advertising?
Do you use social networks?
Who are your competitors, what do they do well?
Google advises that if the expert does not seem interested in genuinely learning about your business from a holistic position, consider finding a different SEO expert to work with. Finding a specialist who takes the time to understand your business is crucial. A consultant will struggle to make improvements without having an understanding of the business’s goals, existing customers, and existing marketing efforts.
The video warns to be wary of consultants that give unrealistic guarantees in rankings (promised #1 ranking position) or visibility in Google. “No one can guarantee that. And often those who try to guarantee that, do so by engaging in practices against Google’s Webmaster guidelines. This could result in your pages or website being permanently removed from Google’s results if there are particularly strong violations.”
2. Check References
Google’s second tip for hiring an SEO company is to check references from the expert’s previous clients. It’s important to get an idea of whether the SEO expert has helped other businesses to attain sustainable results online while working effectively with the company.
The video goes on to note that a good SEO will take the time to integrate SEO into the general operations of the business. An SEO expert should be focused on long-term goals that help enhance your brand. It’s important to note here that Google’s webmasters have emphasised on working with someone that values sustaining results, rather than temporary short-term gains.
3. Request an Audit
The third and final tip from Search for Beginners is to ask the SEO expert to conduct a technical SEO audit of your website prior to beginning work.
After checking references and narrowing down the potential candidates, Google recommends requesting a technical audit. Ideally, the SEO expert will come back with a thorough prioritised list of what they think can be improved for SEO.
The animation shows how webmasters can give trusted SEOs viewing access to their Google Search Console or Analytics data. In the audit, the SEO should prioritise issues while also suggesting solutions. These suggestions should be based on data directly from your site – not a vague recommendation that could be applied to anyone’s data. The improvements should be well aligned with what your business wants to achieve and should not make use of any sneaky practices that go against Google’s guidelines.
Google recommends taking note of what suggestions are given following a technical SEO audit. The suggestions you should look for are those that use strategies that target a human audience, as opposed to optimising for a search engine. The audit should also approximate the overall investment and predicted positive business impacts.
Once you’d conducted interviews, checked references, and received technical audits of your site, Google believes you should have enough information to evaluate your SEO options and hire the right expert for your business.
After You Hire An SEO – What Next?
Once you’ve found the right person for the job, Google emphasises the importance of agreeing upon goals, metrics, and ways to track results before commencing work. These best practices will ensure you are both on the same page on what is expected from the business partnership.
The Search for Beginners clip begins to wrap up by lamenting what businesses should be looking for. “A good SEO expert will prioritise ideas that will improve your business using the least amount of resources. They will also suggest improvements that may take more time in the beginning but will promote growth in the long term. They should feel like someone that you can work and experiment with, learn from, and forge a path ahead for you and your business.”
This video is an exciting development for the SEO community; a nod in acknowledgement to white hat SEO experts who value their clients and work to deliver both tangible and sustainable results. Having the search engine giant speak eloquently about the differences between a good SEO expert and a questionable consultant only reaffirms our commitment at Safari Digital SEO to helping businesses grow with sustainable SEO services.
Check out the full video by Google Webmasters below: