Questions you SHOULD Ask Before Hiring an SEO Expert

on Marketing Strategy May 21st, 2019

This blog is NOT going to teach you how to become an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) expert. I want to walk you through all the questions business owners typically ask when hiring Fannit to help with their SEO to generate leads and earn more revenue.

VIDEO:  Preview: How to Hire an SEO Expert

My LinkedIn Profile

What is an SEO Expert?

Before you learn how to hire an SEO expert, you need to understand what an SEO is and how they can help your business generate leads. You have probably heard the term ‘Search Engine Optimization’ (known as SEO) thrown around a lot, especially if you have been looking for someone to help with internet marketing.

The person you hire is called ‘an SEO’ and they have comprehensive, authoritative knowledge of how to optimize your website so that search engines find your content over other competitor sites or rank your website in the SERPS (search engine results pages) higher on the first page.

What should you expect from an SEO expert?

The work an SEO expert performs is broken down into two main categories:

1. On-site optimization

This is work done on the actual pages of your website. This work may include some of the following.

  • Title tags
  • Page titles
    • H1 titles
    • H2 titles
    • H3 titles
  • Image titles
  • Image alt text
  • Inter-site links
  • Pillar, cluster strategy
  • Structured schema site map

This work needs to be done on each and every page of your site. It helps structure the information on your site so when search engine crawlers (software) visit your site they can quickly and easily categorize the content.

For example, if this software examines your home page and your title tags that identify your site as ‘Red Flowers for Sale’ it will begin to read your site within that context.

You can see the title tags of any page by hovering over the tab in the browser window of that page. Google’s crawlers read from left to right. So, the following site is categorized as ‘Residential Garage Door Repair’.


Remember, Google wants its customers (Internet searchers) to have the best experience finding EXACTLY what they are searching for – that is success in Google’s eyes.

2. Off-site optimization

In order to build authority (in the eyes of search engines) for your website. you will need:

  • Backlinks
  • Citations (a form of local backlink)
  • Local listings (Google My Business)
  • Anchor text

Your business should expect an SEO to know the personas of your ideal customers and translate that into the keywords people search for on the Internet. They are your guide for what information you should be putting on your site and how to rank it well.

Sidenote: IF your website should happen to be under penalty from Google, read The Ultimate Google Algorithmic Penalty Recovery Guide.

How does an SEO help your business generate leads and revenue for your business?

Simply put, SEO experts bring people who are using the Internet to search for information, products, and services to the content on your website. They do this more effectively than your competitors – outranking other information on the Internet.


They do this by organizing the content on your website so Google and Bing can easily read your site, know what it is, and determine that it would be good information to present to people searching for this information.

Content on your website typically is displayed on the following types of pages.

  • Home page – this is the page Google uses to categorize your site.
  • Service / Product pages
  • Landing pages
  • Blog posts
  • Other pages

Remember, Google and Bing are software. The better this software can recognize what the information on your site contains, the more effectively they can rank your content for searches related to what your site. Top websites rank for 1000s of keywords and phrases.

There are several ranking factors, so we use the acronym TRAP (Technical, Relevancy, Authority, Popularity) to help us remember the signals our SEO work is sending search engines. Take a look at these SEO Basics to learn more about TRAP Analysis.

If your site ranks in the top 5 positions in search results for the PROPER keywords, your IDEAL customer should be visiting your site. Once the proper visitors are finding your site it will be up to the website to convert them into prospective customers.

Converting website visitors into customers has a lot to do with several factors simply categorized as conversion rate optimization. A topic for another blog.

What type of businesses need an SEO expert helping them and why?

In short, any business that wants to be found by people searching the Internet for their product, service or information is the right type of business to require the services from an expert SEO.

If we examine this a bit further, the question should really be ‘what type of information should my business be publishing on the internet to attract potential customers or consumers of our information?’

To answer this, you will need to consider the purpose of the information you are publishing. We typically think of the following four stages of the buyer’s journey when producing content.

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Decision
  4. Delight

Someone who has expertise in ranking content on the Internet should NOT blindly rank content. They should understand who you are wanting to attract to your site and why.

If you would like to include SEO in your marketing plan, you should take a peek at our free guide to building a marketing plan.

Free Guide to Building a Marketing Plan


Does my website have the proper SEO foundation for ranking well?

Are the people you want to find your site national, regional, local or hyper-local? By answering this question, you will be able to develop your ranking strategy.

Not all rankings are treated equal. For example, if you have a furniture store with multiple locations in the Pacific Northwest and your goal is to get people into your store, you will care more about ranking locally than nationally.

Take a look at one of our recent posts on Local search ranking factors to see how well your website is set up to rank locally.

What is the role of an SEO on your marketing and sales team?

An experienced, modern marketing team has several positions to fill all the roles it takes to perform well. Here is a simplified list of the roles we have helped play:

  • CMO
  • Marketing / Sales Manager
  • Marketing Coordinator
  • SEO
  • Sales Copywriter
  • Content Writer
  • Development Operations (Dev Ops) Manager
  • Digital Designer
  • Website Developer
  • Business Development Manager(s) / Sales Rep

Within this team, the SEO is responsible for the following:

  • Understand IDEAL buyers
  • Understand IDEAL buyer personas
  • Identify proper site structure and URL slugs to maximize search exposure
  • Understand and monitor online competition and hot topics
  • Define buying “money” keywords
  • Provide guidance to the content writers and sales copywriters
  • Track how rankings drive phone calls and form entries (leads)
  • Work with Dev Ops to improve visitor-to-lead conversion
  • Report on keyword ranking performance
  • Stay informed on search engine updates and SEO new techniques

Hire a Marketing Agency with SEO Experts

Does inbound marketing include SEO?

Inbound marketing is a marketing philosophy that operates under a core tenet that people search the Internet to educate themselves before they purchase business or consumer services.

This means you and your team will be publishing a lot of blogs, among other content marketing.

When search engines see you are publishing fresh content that is optimized well it will give you credit by sending traffic your way. For some quick hitting tips for writing blogs, take a look at How to Write a Blog Post: Easy Guide + Free Download.

Here are some quick factors to consider:

  • Understand search inventory for the keywords you are trying to rank your blogs for
  • Make certain your blog titles contain keywords relevant to searches
  • Don’t just write for search engines – remember, humans read your blogs (if they’re written well)

So, YES, you need to have a deep understanding of optimizing content for search when adhering to inbound marketing. The risk, if you don’t, you’ll be publishing blogs or other content that people never see.

What other marketing services does my business need besides SEO?

Like all great answers, the types of services you may need “depends” on what type of business you are operating, the team you already have, and your marketing and sales goals.

Below are some services your business may want to consider.

  • Business to Business (B2B) – your sales cycles over 15 days
    • Done for you lead generation using LinkedIn
    • Content marketing
    • Inbound marketing
    • Conversion rate optimization
    • Remarketing (ppc)
  • Business to Consumer (B2C) – your sales cycles under 15 days
    • PPC
    • Backlink outreach
    • Google My Business Management
    • Social Media Marketing

What questions should I ask an SEO Expert before hiring them?

Here are 8 questions you can ask an SEO consultant or marketing agency to evaluate how well they know their stuff.

  1. How do you generate leads for my business with SEO?
  2. How much time will it take to improve my keyword rankings?
  3. Can you explain your SEO process?
  4. How do you use backlinks as part of your strategy?
  5. How will we measure success with your SEO work?
  6. What type of reporting will you provide me and how often?
  7. What SEO techniques would you recommend we NOT follow for ranking our site? HINT: You can check Google Webmaster’s Guidelines to see if they mention any of them.
  8. Do we own all the work you do for our business if we stop SEO services?

SEO Checklist Download

SEO Expert Checklist

Why did our rankings drop after we launched a new website?

This is a business owner’s worst nightmare. You pay a ton of money for a nice, shiny new website and within 30 days your organic keyword rankings have dropped significantly and no one can tell you why.

How long does it take to get ranking results from an SEO expert?

First, no SEO is REALLY able to predict the timelines for which Google ranks your site. The Google algorithm is what controls when your site ranks higher in the SERPs (search engine results pages)

  • Changes you’ve made on your site
  • Backlinks you are obtaining from other sites
  • What your competition is doing on their sites

What should I pay to hire an SEO expert?

Some consultants charge per keyword, others will have a retainer service agreement based on the competition level of what you’re trying to rank for. SEO budgets can be anywhere from $1,000 a month all the way up to $20,000 (or higher) at the enterprise level.

It comes down to how aggressive your goals are, and how competitive your space is. It’s not uncommon for a business to be paying an SEO expert $3,000 a month to function as a full-time expert on their team.

Final Thoughts on How to Hire an Expert for Optimizing Your Website for Search

1994 – that’s the year The Today Show aired and the question, “What is the Internet?” was asked.
Since then people have been typing in searches and getting results back – Google is the World’s largest AI.
Every year search engine algorithms get more sophisticated. If you do not have an expert on your marketing team who understands how organic search works, the chances of your site continuing to be found by people looking for what you offer is slim – Get an SEO Audit to see how your site is doing.