Hiring an SEO expert? Here are some things to look out for before you get started.

Digital360 on 12 May 2017

Hiring an SEO expert is a great step for your business to make. With the right combination of SEO skills, they’ll bring your business more traffic, more customers, and fantastic search engine rankings.

The ideal SEO expert will have great communication skills (especially with those not as well-versed in SEO jargon), be dedicated to achieving your business goals, and have the technical experience and expertise to deliver on outcomes.

Whether you decide to hire a freelance specialist, an in-house consultant, or an SEO agency, make sure you keep an eye out for these essential traits.

1. Attention to detail

It’s not all about the technical knowledge.

Hiring an SEO expert with a keen eye ensures your page is going to be optimised to its fullest. There are so many factors to take into account when building successful SEO – and the last thing you want is to end up with a job that has to be checked for errors. And, if you aren’t versed in SEO basics yourself, it’s almost impossible to know when corners have been cut, until it’s too late.

2. Experience

An expert with experience under their belt is going to make a huge difference to your SEO success.

They’ll be able to take one look at your site and know exactly where and how to get to work. If there’s a troubleshooting issue, your specialist should not only have seen it before, but should know how to fix it. An experienced SEO specialist will know that no one business is alike. They should be able to tailor their SEO game plan to suit your industry, your company vision, and you and your team.

3. Technical knowledge

While not a must-have, hiring an SEO specialist with coding and HTML knowledge will be a huge bonus. With basic coding skills, your expert will be able to go above and beyond in user-optimising your page.

A website using PHP and JavaScript means design can go that extra mile, adding points to user-friendliness. If your specialist knows HTML, they’ll be able to get into those nitty-gritty user accessibility tools. These tweaks may seem minor, but all together will make a huge difference in improving your search rank. Google is all about boosting user-experience, so the more user-friendly your site is, the better.

4. Link building method

Google gets better by the day at catching webpages that buy or spam links. But regardless, hiring an SEO expert who avoids ‘black hat’ tactics is a must. A specialist who only uses best-practice SEO will keep your company above board at all times. This is key to making sure you're never set back by surprise Google algorithm updates.

There are two ways to build credible links: via high-authority sites and directories, and on social media. Although Facebook and Twitter links aren’t as long lasting, they’re integral to drive valuable traffic to your site in this day and (social media) age. Ensure that your new SEO specialist always keeps their thumb on the pulse of new link building opportunities.

5. Social media-savvy

Social media marketing has become integral to SEO. So much so that more and more companies have been branching out to hire social media specialists.

So, if what you're after is an all-rounder SEO individual – look out for their social media skills. They could be a deal breaker.

Social media marketing is more than creating and updating Facebook and Twitter accounts. It's knowing how to turn followers into traffic, and traffic into customers. A good SEO specialist will know which platform to ramp up based on your target audience – driving high-quality traffic to your site and building your online authority. Management skills are also a must, and they should know how to manage and maintain an effective social media marketing campaign.

6. Content management and marketing

Content creation is an essential part of SEO. Hiring an SEO expert who can bring unique, engaging content to the table is a must. From maintaining search rankings to attracting customers, having quality page content is more important than ever.

Your expert should be able to tell when keywords sound forced or clunky – because if they don't pick up on it, Google will and your site will be penalised for it. Your specialist should be someone clear, engaging writing skills, and who can also market your content across the right channels. The perfect SEO expert will not only know how to deliver on their game plan, but will know how to manage and market them from start to finish. Look out for an innovative thinker who knows how to make the most out of trends.

What are your SEO options?

While these are some of the top SEO skills you should look out for, the truth is – it’s near-impossible to find somebody who has all these and more. Managing SEO is hard work – not to mention when done alone – so be aware of signs of burnout if you decide to hire an individual expert.

A great, efficient alternative is to work with a best-practice SEO agency.

SEO agencies are often made up of specialised, industry experts knowledgeable in a range of fields. There'll be social media marketing specialists, email marketing specialists – you name it. This means that you’re guaranteed to have all of your SEO needs met in one place. You’ll always see the best of the best SEO skills, and having a collaborative team on-board your business means fresh ideas are always generated.

Remember that SEO takes time, no matter who you decide to work with. So don’t panic if you don’t see your outcomes right away. As they say: good things come to those who wait.

We’re an SEO agency in Melbourne dedicated to achieving your business goals. Talk to one of our specialists today.