- What does a SEO consultant do?
- The types of businesses SEO freelancers work with
- How can SEO experts help your business?
- What happens when working with a SEO freelancer goes wrong
- How to work well with an SEO consultant
- How do I find a good SEO consultants?
- Why businesses turn to alternative means to find SEOs
- Benefits of using vetted freelance platforms
- How do vetted platforms work for businesses?
- How are SEO experts vetted?
- How much does it cost to hire a freelance SEO expert?
- How to choose the right SEO specialist
- Get SEO to work for you
After the introduction of search engine optimisation over 20 years ago, organic search remains an essential part of any marketing strategy for businesses who want to grow. Whilst a relatively new part of marketing, search engine optimisation or SEO, isn’t widely understood by businesses– or by marketers.
Due to its continuous evolving and a lack of experienced professionals, the SEO landscape is a technically challenging and volatile space. It demands constant enhancement of both website functionality and content quality to create meaningful user experiences.
There is also a big gap between SEO experts and SEO agencies and the businesses that work with them, leaving room for inexperienced SEO specialists to create mistrust between businesses and SEO as a channel.
Despite a temporary lull in ad spending and cuts to marketing budgets brought about by post-pandemic economic headwinds, companies are still eager to capitalise on SEO as a channel for connecting with existing and potential customers.
It isn’t enough for businesses to just have a dynamic SEO strategy without the medium of a vetted SEO expert to execute it. But, with so much distrust in the industry, where can businesses find and work with trusted and reliable SEO professionals?
We explore what SEO consultants can do for businesses of all types, how they work and the value they offer businesses as well as how you can find a trusted SEO professional to help grow your business.
What does a SEO consultant do?
SEO consultants work very much in the same way as other marketing professionals; their overall aim is to create more visibility for a brand and drive sales and revenue. Their only difference is their work is specific to search engines online which means their work focuses on web presence instead.
Some of the key responsibilities for an SEO professional include:
- Research keywords to identify SEO trends and search phrases being used in online queries then share these with the relevant content teams.
- Strategically use trending keywords, backlinks, and anchor text to elevate search rankings and drive website traffic.
- Create or commission customised text, image, and video content with optimised keywords to target potential customers.
- Use relevant programming language to enhance website efficiency in terms of loading times and ease of navigation.
- Use analytics tools to collect and analyse SEO trends and modify optimisation tactics accordingly.
- Research SEO practices of competitors to keep abreast of changing strategies and shifts in consumer sentiments.
- Distribute content on social media platforms to encourage backlinks from other websites and build credibility.
- Adhere to campaign budgets and ensure maximum return on investment (ROI) from SEO initiatives.
- Collaborate with other teams within the business to ensure SEO efforts are aligned with technical requirements and business objectives.
As we’ve mentioned, a lot of the work SEO professionals do compliments the ongoing work with the marketing team and their reporting can often tie in with other marketing collateral to help reach wider business goals.
The types of businesses SEO freelancers work with
In short, any business that is focused on growth and has a strong marketing strategy in place would benefit from working with a freelance SEO professional. There will be some SEO individuals that specialise within industry and others that work across all types of businesses.
Whether you’re a small enterprise or a big corporation, your marketing strategy will benefit from working with someone who has experience with SEO. This includes:
- Individuals: From individual trades people to budding politicians, famous artists to government functionaries and heads of state, anyone with a public profile needs the services of vetted SEO specialists to increase their visibility, gain followers, or get business leads.
- Companies: From multinational corporations to local mom-and-pop stores, companies, brands, and small businesses are increasingly outsourcing their SEO requirements to improve organic traffic, gain brand identity, empower local SEO, and improve their bottom lines.
- Organisations: Charities, non-profits, government agencies, and citizen bodies are just some of the organisations turning to vetted SEO platforms to gain traction for their websites and social media pages. These organisations rely on SEO to define their identities and establish social reputations.
How can SEO experts help your business?
As we’ve mentioned, working with an SEO expert can help your business in many ways. Some of the more important features they can bring to a business include:
- Focus on essentials: Hiring vetted SEO professionals saves you the time and investment needed to do it in-house, letting you focus on more important business priorities.
- Reach potential customers: SEO adds significant value to your traditional marketing efforts by reaching potential customers through organic growth, as opposed to paid advertising.
- Support content marketing: High-quality, original content in the form of text, images, and videos can multiply the reach and effectiveness of your content marketing strategy, helping you rank higher in search results.
- Competitive advantage: Statistics prove that investing in SEO and outranking your competition in organic search is the surest way of improving market share for any business.
- Quantifiable metrics: With SEO analytics, you can track your performance on several key factors like website traffic, rankings, and conversions, enabling you to change strategies accordingly for better results.
Working with an SEO professional can help grow any kind of of business and increase their visibility online, however, finding the right SEO consultant to partner with is sadly a common issue.
What happens when working with a SEO freelancer goes wrong
One of the common complaints from businesses working with a freelance SEO professional is the level of engagement from them, either because the quality of work is not consistent with what was promised, or due to other reasons like failure to honour deadlines, lack of meaningful communication, or unprofessional behaviour.
This is one of the issues within the SEO industry with some individuals failing to communicate clearly or fail to share the relevant information with clients. If a business works with an SEO expert and the relationship fails, our own advice would be:
- Introspect: First, check if there’s something amiss at your end. Maybe your instructions weren’t precise or are open to interpretation. Check your contract to ensure what you’re expecting is clearly laid out. How do your team feel communication is going? Is the brief being met etc
- Reach out: If there’s no problem on your side, reach out with a clear description of what you’re not happy with and what’s necessary to help resolve these.
- Re-negotiate: As long as you still see value in your freelancer’s work, maybe it would help to negotiate for changes in project requirements or the amount of compensation.
- Cancel: The worst case scenario is when all efforts fail and you are faced with having to annul the contract and start looking for a better freelancer to work with.
It’s of course not always the case that hiring and working with an SEO professional ends with a negative feeling. Often, they’re working away behind the scenes and it’s just a case of asking them questions and making the effort to understand their work.
How to work well with an SEO consultant
Working with an SEO consultant requires a business to be careful, practical, and smart. It doesn’t mean the whole marketing team needs to be retrained in SEO or try to understand everything the consultant will be doing but a little knowledge can go a long way.
If you’re thinking about working with an SEO consultant, here are some of the best practices that can help you get the most out of the partnership:
- Set clear goalposts. This means specifying the quality of work you expect along with other project details like KPIs, overall turnaround time, and how to deal with errors and corrections.
- Specify the business needs. No two SEO professionals are likely to come with the same breadth or depth of experience, skill, or professionalism. Lay out the level of competence the business needs clearly to avoid disappointments.
- Check for the right fit. As with all third-party collaborations, there’s a human element that businesses need to account for. That means the most qualified SEO expert may not always be the right fit for the team. There is always a consideration for work style and preferences when working with a consultant.
- Interview in-depth: Set up your interviews with prospective SEO experts to get appropriate insights into their capabilities. Prepare a list of targeted questions that check their skills, intelligence, and familiarity with trends.
- Insist on an outcome, not an experience: Finally, clarify your expectations to the last details. Leave nothing to chance or interpretation. Make sure you and the SEO expert have mutual respect for each other’s time and effort.
Communication is a key factor when working with any freelancer or consultant and if the SEO professional your team works with can’t communicate well, issues will start to form. Working well with an SEO consultant means efforts from both sides ultimately, but it also comes down to working with the right consultant too.
How do I find a good SEO consultant?
There are thousands of individual freelancers and agencies that refer to SEO services within their offering which can make finding a trustworthy and reliable freelancer tough.
Whilst many professionals recognise the high demand for help with search optimisation, their skills and knowledge may not meet the needs of the business. This then creates an issue for businesses who need a reliable SEO but don’t know where to look for someone who they can trust.
As an SEO agency, we were curious about how businesses typically find SEO professionals so decided to run a poll and ask the LinkedIn network. We asked; Where do you find SEO consultants to hire?
|Word of mouth||64%|
|Google / Search engines||11%|
|Vetted freelancer platforms||20%|
Perhaps not surprising that 64% of startups businesses find SEO consultants using word of mouth, but what happens if the resource you’re referring to a business doesn’t meet the needs of the business? What happens when they’re not as reliable as you’ve been told.
Why businesses turn to alternative means to find SEOs
One way to bypass the issues we’ve highlighted of the hiring process is to use popular online platforms like PassionFruit, GrowthCollective, and YunoJuno. These platforms function as marketplaces to survey and hire vetted SEO experts and other marketing professionals. The platforms vet freelancers in-depth before they let any freelance professional get on board. This helps businesses have more trust in an individual up front and helps reduce the concern of them being untrustworthy.
Another part of the appeal of these platforms is that they offer unmatched reliability in comparison to unvetted platforms like Upwork. For a hirer, that means saving the time and effort that would otherwise have been required to scan through hundreds of prospective freelancer profiles, verify the credentials of individual freelancers, and reach out to past clients about their quality of work.
When it comes to assurance of quality work and peace of mind, vetted platforms are also light years ahead too. The possibility of having to deal with circumstances like a breach of contract clauses, broken non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), and overshot deadlines are all removed as freelancers will have agreements in place with the platform instead.
Relying on a vetted platform instead makes much more sense, particularly for businesses who are new to SEO or have had a negative experience before.
Benefits of using vetted freelance platforms
Companies may need to outsource some of their work for various reasons – they may aim to scale quickly, have time-sensitive projects, or just have too much work to handle in-house. Using the services of a vetted platform to offload some of your work can be a reliable method in such circumstances.
Here are some of the advantages you can expect to gain from vetted professional platforms:
- Immediate turnaround: Vetted freelancers are easier to source and hire through such platforms.
- Cost-effective: Hiring a freelancer often costs only a fraction of what it would take to hire a full-time worker.
- Short-term engagement: People looking for long-term employment would be unwilling to take on short term-projects, unlike vetted freelancers.
- Access to global talent: Vetted platforms eliminate political boundaries, giving you access to talent from across the world.
- Easy termination: There are no strings attached; you are free to end your engagement once the project has been successfully delivered.
How do vetted platforms work for businesses?
Onboarding an SEO freelancer from a vetted platform is a breeze compared to the multi-phase complexity of hiring a full-time employee. All it takes is a simple, three-step process:
- Post a project: Once you’ve created a hirer profile on the platform, describe your project and its goals. Detail the project scope, quality requirements, turnaround time, and delivery format for a cost estimate.
- Evaluate talent suggestions: Based on your project type and requirements, the platform will return a shortlist of curated, pre-vetted professionals who meet your specific talent and project requirements.
- Begin working with your choice of professional: Select one or more from among the suggested professionals and get started right away. No other hassles, no hidden charges, and no unpleasant surprises!
Pay directly on the platform in mutually agreed instalments or a single payment upon final project delivery. You have the option of going back to the same professionals for further projects as long as you’re satisfied with their work.
How are SEO experts vetted?
Although vetting processes for SEO experts can vary depending on the platform, they generally follow the same overall plan. The stages are:
- Filter: This stage involves screening applications from SEO professionals for qualifications and certifications, skills, and professional experience.
- Review: In this stage, the platform evaluates selected professionals based on their project portfolios and other relevant credentials.
- Interview: This can be a multi-stage process with a high entry bar to ensure only the best professionals can list their services on the platform.
- Reference: This involves reaching out to past clients of individual freelancers to reverify their competence and professionalism.
- Test: This can be another multi-stage process designed to assess core skills in a competitive and graded test environment.
- Check-in: This is a process of recurrent, periodic evaluations to ensure vetted professionals remain on top of SEO trends and best practices.
How much does it cost to hire a freelance SEO expert?
The short answer is – it depends! There are lots of varying factors when it comes to how much an SEO freelancer can cost. The more obvious is the size, scope, and duration of the project, the type of SEO work needed, and the level of detail needed.
There are three more common ways in which SEO experts break down the costs for their services:
- Hourly rate: This is a payment structure calculated based on a fixed rate per the number of hours worked on your project. Hourly rates for SEO experts can vary from £30 to £100 per hour and beyond.
- Monthly rate: This works on an agreed number of hours worked per day or week, paid out in aggregate at the end of each month. Monthly rates can be negotiated between £1,000 and £2,000 and above.
- Per-project rate: This is calculated based on the successful completion of an entire project, irrespective of time spent or the number of experts engaged. Prices can range from £300 on the low end to thousands of dollars.
All prices given above are rough estimates from working within the industry and looking at some of the freelance platforms that publish rates. Of course, the costs of an SEO professional will depend on project specifics, the level of experience of the SEO expert hired, and their location.
Rates quoted by SEO professionals can vary widely depending on their country of residence and relative differences in the cost of living as well as whether you’re working with an agency or an individual.
How to choose the right SEO specialist
When it comes to working with SEO professionals, there are a few different avenues to explore that will suit different businesses. Whether its hiring an individual in-house, working with a freelance SEO expert or an entire agency team, there are pros and cons that come with all three options. Let’s explore them;
- In-house specialist: Having a dedicated SEO specialist on your team will give you the advantage of their full involvement and accountability in designing and executing your SEO strategy. On the flip side, a full-time employee comes with costs in the time and money necessary to select and onboard them, besides having to pay a competitive salary and benefits.
- SEO consultant: In theory, a consultant brings you the benefits of a full-time employee without the process and costs of adding them to your payroll. However, getting the most out of them will require a clear contract, oversight, and constant follow-ups.
- SEO agency: Agencies typically have a greater range and depth of expertise than an in-house team or consultant. However, they are likely to be the most expensive among all three propositions. The prices involved here are typically more than what a small business or family enterprise can afford.
For businesses that are interested in getting excellent quality work at an optimal cost, hiring a vetted SEO expert from a popular platform could be the best choice you make for your business.
Get SEO to work for you
SEO is a dynamic discipline with constantly changing processes and priorities that take someone’s full attention to keep up with. This means SEO experts need to be constantly ahead of the curve in implementing goal-oriented strategies and tactics, focusing on SEO as their full-time job. Choosing the right SEO professional to partner with should be a serious consideration and businesses need to spend more time meeting and interviewing SEO’s before agreeing to work with them.
If you’re looking for guaranteed SEO results, Artios are the consultants to partner with. Our expert-led and data-driven approach to SEO helps you achieve unbelievable growth in the shortest time frame possible.