If your website doesn’t show up on the first page of search results for Google, Bing or Yahoo, your potential customers won’t know you exist. So when it comes to optimizing your site, you need a pro.
Before you begin choosing a search engine optimization (SEO) consultant, here are four things to consider:
1. Your goals
There are tons of services that SEO consultants can offer your Canadian business. From a one-time SEO audit to ongoing SEO assistance, support with link building to help with link removal, PPC management to reputation management, the list goes on. So how do you know what you actually need? Start with your goals: Do you want increased rankings? Increased sales? Increased leads? Once you know what you want, make sure your goals are measurable so you can quantify success.
2. Your contenders
Know who your options are by starting with your network. Check out your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter contacts who have SEO experience listed on their profiles, and put out a call to family, friends and colleagues asking for recommendations. Check Google and YP.ca for consultants in your neighbourhood or post on SEO blogs, forums and Quora. Talk to as many SEO pros as you can—most will gladly give you a free consultation—and then make a short list of the ones you like most. Also, be sure to get examples and references to make sure they’ve gotten the job done before.
3. Your costs
Determining the cost of an average SEO consultant is a difficult question to answer. Especially because it depends on so many factors: Are you looking for a one-time project or an ongoing relationship? Is the firm you’ve hired big or small? Do you have a large target market or a niche audience that’s easier to reach? When it comes down to it, you shouldn’t think of SEO as a cost—it’s actually a great investment in your business.
Based on research conducted by Moz, here’s the average pricing:
- Most by-the-project contracts range between $1,000 and $7,500
- Hourly rates range from $76 to $200
- Most common retainers are $251-$500/month and $2,501-$5,000/month
4. Your risks
Avoid choosing a consultant who is trying to sell you on something they can’t guarantee. For instance, if your SEO pro promises that you’ll be the number one search result on Google, run the other way. No one can guarantee that. If they do, they’re not trustworthy. As well, avoid going with a firm who promises instant results. If your pro offers a quick fix—just adding meta tags, for example, with no adjustments to content or external inbound links—it’s a bad fix.
Don’t put off your SEO
SEO is super important to your bottom line. The whole point of your website is to use it to get you more business. So unless people are finding it, there’s really no point in having one at all. If you’d like to learn more about choosing an SEO consultant for your website, we also have a free guide which you can find here.