How to Hire an SEO Expert: A Comprehensive Guide for Small Businesses

SEO Expert

The internet has opened up new opportunities for small businesses in ways you wouldn’t have envisioned a few decades back. It has brought suppliers, retailers, customers, and other important stakeholders together by creating a connected world, making it easier for enterprises to promote their products and services, access a larger audience, nurture lasting relationships, and drive sales.

However, your business must adopt specific strategies, techniques, and tools to thrive in the digital space and harness its benefits. SEO is one such technique that is critical for every small business.

In this comprehensive guide, we discuss everything you should know when hiring an SEO Expert who could support your enterprise’s growth and success.

Understanding Why SEO Matters

Most entrepreneurs don’t have enough clarity on what SEO is and how it could help their businesses. So, let’s take a moment to understand what it could offer your organization.

SEO involves various practices that allow your enterprise to be found on search engines. Why is this important? Let’s say you are running an Italian restaurant, and someone in your city is considering taking their family out for an Italian dinner. The first thing they would do is search for Italian restaurants near them on Google or a similar search engine.

What if your business could turn up on the top of the first search engine result page (SERP)? There is a high chance your customer will call and make a reservation with you instead of contacting your competitors.

This is what SEO helps you achieve. It allows you to stand out from the competition so potential customers can find your business. In other words, ranking high on SERPs helps build awareness, compete better, direct organic traffic to your website, increase sales, and drive business growth.

There is plenty of data to confirm the benefits of SEO. According to studies, it accounts for 53.3% of all website traffic, and leads generated through SEO have a 14.6% close rate.

How Can an SEO Expert Help Your Small Business?

Developing an effective SEO strategy requires technical expertise, which many small businesses don’t possess. Besides, as an entrepreneur, you want to focus on what you do best without taking on extra tasks you barely have the knowledge to execute.

Hiring an SEO specialist is always a smart idea. But what would their role include? Here are some of the critical tasks they will perform:
  • Auditing the website to understand its existing SEO performance.
  • Setting goals, identifying performance metrics, and developing a holistic SEO strategy aligned with the overall organizational objectives.
  • Assessing competitor SEO strategies and rankings.
  • Conducting keyword research to find the best short- and long-tail keywords for your business.
  • Working with content writers to optimize existing web content and produce new material based on the keyword strategy.
  • Optimizing the site for technical SEO by, for example, boosting site speed and ensuring search engines can easily index the pages.
  • Continuously tracking the SEO ranking and performance of your business and competitors, leveraging various data analytics tools.
  • Monitoring SEO trends and changes in consumer behavior and digital interactions.
  • Keeping up with algorithm updates implemented by search engines and taking timely actions to maintain the business’s SEO ranking.
  • Preparing SEO budgets and keeping track of monthly expenses.
  • Reporting to the management on the SEO performance of the organization.

Tips to Find an SEO Expert

Before you start looking for an SEO Specialist, it is important to identify your exact business requirements. Your industry, scale, business model, budgets, and a variety of factors could determine this.

For instance, going back to our previous example, a part-time expert might get the job done if you are running an Italian restaurant. However, hiring a full-time specialist makes every sense if you have a small-scale crafts boutique that brings in online orders.

Once you define your unique business needs, initiate the recruitment process by preparing a job advertisement that details requirements and expectations. Researching the average salary scale for SEO Experts is also essential at this stage.

Based on the type of work arrangement you prefer, there are a variety of options you can consider for finding an experienced professional.
  • Advertise on popular online job boards.
  • Post the vacancy on your social media pages.
  • Reach out to your personal and professional connections.
  • Search Leadar using the location, experience, and industry-related criteria for the role.
  • Browse profiles of SEO experts on LinkedIn. 
  • Post a job on freelancer sites. This is particularly useful when you are looking for a part-time professional willing to work on a per-hour or fixed-salary basis.
  • Get help from a headhunter or recruitment agency. 
Hiring a company that offers SEO services is another option. However, it all depends on your business’s requirements and budgets.

What Should You Look for When Hiring an SEO Specialist?

Key areas to consider during the shortlisting and interviewing processes include:
  • Work Experience
Candidates can often exaggerate or lie on their resumes. Remember to ask for evidence of their achievements. For instance, they might produce screenshots of keyword ranking statistics. If so, it is wise to check the dates to ensure they tally with the candidate’s employment period with the respective organization.

In addition, review the websites they have optimized and watch out for red flags such as keyword stuffing.
  • Industry Expertise and Knowledge
How up-to-date is the candidate about current SEO trends? What tactics do they adopt for link-building? Which tools do they use for data tracking and analytics? Ask specific questions that could help you assess their knowledge and expertise.
  • References
If the candidate was introduced and recommended by someone you know and trust, you will have some level of comfort when hiring. However, it is always best to check references and verify the candidate’s experience, work ethic, and performance.

In addition, be transparent and upfront about what you expect them to deliver. Ask them when you could start seeing results. Discuss available budgets and whom they must work with if they join your organization.

Wrapping Up

An SEO Specialist can add tremendous value for a small enterprise to increase its SERP ranking, improve site traffic, and drive sales. So, determine your business needs, expectations, and limitations and hire an experienced expert who can deliver results.

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