SEO consultant guide – how to find and hire the right SEO consultant in 2021

13 minutes to read • Published 18 October 2021 • SEO

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      If you are a regular reader of our articles here at Creative.onl, or even simply scroll through our extensive archive, you will know how highly we value SEO. This is not just an act of content marketing, attempting to convince anybody to buy into our online strategy. It’s simply a reflection of just how critical effective SEO is to marketing in 2021. 

      Every business has its own approach to SEO and a unique set of needs. Almost any business would benefit from the expertise and advice of a specialist SEO consultant, though. This guide will explain what such a role entails and how to bring a consultant into your company.

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      Contents

      What is an SEO consultant?

      An SEO consultant is a strategic thinker that will review the entire online presence of a business to review and improve SEO performance.

      How to find a good SEO consultant?

      Ask any business peers for recommendations, and if none are forthcoming, take to the internet. Complete a list of non-negotiables for your SEO consultant and whittle down your list until you find the perfect partner.

      What services does an SEO consultant offer?

      A reputable SEO consultant should review and critique your existing SEO strategy, suggesting improvements; discuss how the performance and content of your website may impact your SEO; anr review your backlink strategy, connecting your site with high-authority resources.

      What types of SEO consultant are there?

      Common types of SEO consultant include: ecommerce SEO consultant, enterprise SEO consultant, freelance SEO consultant, international SEO consultant, local SEO consultant, organic SEO consultant, technical SEO consultant and WordPress SEO consultant.

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      Is it best to hire a freelance SEO consultant, or an SEO consultancy agency?

      Whether to hire a freelancer or agency for any need is always an interesting debate. There are pros and cons to both approaches, and as a result, neither is necessarily “better.” This table explains the core differences in the way these SEO consultants work.

      How much does an SEO consultant cost?

      An SEO consultant is likely to cost between £1,000 and £5,000 per month, depending on the type and level of service they are providing to your business.

      What are the risks of a bad SEO consultant?

      The damage that substandard SEO can inflict on a business is more than just financial, though, and it can last far longer than a short-term cash loss. Negative SEO can cause website traffic to fall off a cliff almost overnight, whether due to accident or design. There is little to no forgiveness when it comes to Google’s algorithms.

      What is an SEO consultant?

      Let’s keep this extremely topline and elaborate throughout the words that follow. An SEO consultant is a strategic thinker that will review the entire online presence of a business to review and improve SEO performance. 

      From here, the consultant (or consultancy – this position could belong to an individual or a team) will work tirelessly to ensure that all aspects of your business are aligned with a core brand identity and SEO approach which, crucially, will help your website rank more highly in search engine results.

      How to find a good SEO consultant

      Before looking for an SEO consultant, draw up a digital marketing strategy for your business. This will help you identify whether you even need such assistance or can manage your own marketing in-house using SEO packages.

      If you do decide to proceed with an SEO consultant, you’ll need to determine if you’d prefer to work with a freelancer or an agency. You’ll find insights into the benefits and drawbacks of both these working styles later in this guide. 

      Once armed with this information, the search begins. Ask any business peers for recommendations, and if none are forthcoming, take to the internet. Complete a list of non-negotiables for your SEO consultant and whittle down your list until you find the perfect partner.

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      SEO consultant services – what does an SEO consultant offer?

      A reputable SEO consultant should offer the following services at a minimum:

      Review and critique your existing SEO strategy, suggesting improvements
      Analyse the results of your SEO, pointing out strengths and weaknesses
      Discuss how the performance and content of your website may impact your SEO
      Review your backlink strategy, connecting your site with high-authority resources
      SEO consultant services

      Of course, there is also much more to follow. As we’ll discuss now, different SEO consultants may have expertise in a variety of fields. Depending on your business model, it may be beneficial to consider one of these specialists.

      Types of SEO consultants compared

      As SEO is such a broad industry, various specialist SEO consultants are available for hire. Some will reserve their expertise for one core area of the SEO sector. Others, especially agencies, will be able to offer multiple services. Feel free to get in touch with Creative.onl to discuss our extensive offering.

      Let’s examine the eight core types of SEO consultants, enabling you to understand what assistance your business should be searching for.

      Ecommerce SEO consultant

      If you have built an ecommerce website for your business, the services of an ecommerce SEO expert are critical. ecommerce SEO is a particular niche and skill, which necessitates guidance from an experienced hand. 

      If your business is going to stand apart from your competitors – at least some of whom will likely have deeper pockets for their marketing spend – you’ll need to make appropriate use of SEO. An experienced ecommerce SEO consultant will understand the latest and greatest tricks of the trade, do all in their power to bring new eyes – and conversions – to your business. 

      Approaches taken could include reaching out to influencers on social media, creating and building SEO campaigns that link directly to your online store, and – of course – crafting appropriate product description copy and content marketing campaigns. Whatever it takes to encourage sales through SEO.

      See also →  Website redesign guide – how to redesign your business website

      Enterprise SEO consultant

      An enterprise SEO consultant will review the bigger picture of your business and the surrounding market, ensuring that your SEO strategy remains in line with these. Some SMEs may consider an enterprise SEO consultant a little too grand for their needs. If you are hoping to break through to new customers and take on some of the biggest names in your industry, the services of an enterprise SEO consultant can prove invaluable.

      Freelance SEO consultant

      As the name suggests, a freelance SEO consultant will typically be an individual that acts as your one-stop-shop SEO advisor. This approach can reap rewards and be cost-effective, but it’s not without risk. Scroll down to SEO consultant company vs freelance SEO consultant for more information on this.

      International SEO consultant

      The internet has made the world much smaller, especially when it comes to doing business. Once upon a time, we were reliant on shopfronts within a few miles of our homes. Now, anybody can purchase just about anything from any corner of the globe.

      Naturally, though, when competing against the entire world, you need to fight harder to get noticed. This is where the skills of an international SEO consultant come into play. These experts know how to attract the attention of a global audience.

      See also →  Website audit guide – complete how to, tools and detailed step-by-step (2022 update)

      Local SEO consultant

      On the flip side to an international SEO consultant, we have local alternatives. These are just as vital to an SME, especially if your business maintains a brick-and-mortar location. 

      Local SEO is designed to hoover up attention from people seeking products or services in their area. Making it as a Google recommendation, with a SERP at the top of page one when somebody searches for, say, “dry cleaner in Lincoln”, can hugely benefit a business.

      Local SEO is about more than just attracting clicks, though. Local SEO consultants also ensure that your business listings are accurate in all online directories. There are more out there than you may realise! By maintaining consistency and accuracy, no potential consumer will be led astray by incorrect data.

      Organic SEO consultant

      Organic SEO is the bread and butter for any digital marketing strategy. Organic SEO refers to any traffic gained through quality copy and a high-performing website. Basically, clicks that are not obtained through paid advertising (though, of course, PPC still has its place.)

      An SEO consultant that can move your website up the Google rankings through purely organic means is worth their weight in gold. It will always be a slow process, and it may require some substantial financial outlay before you see the results you were hoping for. If you play the long game, though, you’ll be glad that you did so.

      Technical SEO consultant

      Technical SEO is a side of the business that is often overlooked. The use of keywords, eye-catching design and superb user experience are all vital. Google also keeps a close eye on the aspects of your website that lie under the hood, though. 

      In addition to conducting a regular website audit, you need to keep an eye on your technical SEO. This means the way your site is indexed, rendered and designed, as well as page loading speeds and similar concerns. If you do not understand how to do so, hiring a consultant is strongly recommended.

      WordPress SEO consultant

      WordPress is widely regarded as one of the most SEO-friendly platforms for any website. This news is perhaps unsurprising, as the tool started life as the home of blogging. Back in the dark ages of SEO, when simply packing a website with keywords was enough to rank on Google, WordPress was ideal.

      As a tool, WordPress remains ideal for maximising SEO. Like all tools, though, WordPress is only as effective as you make it. To fully benefit from all it has to offer in the world of SEO, expertise will be required. Whether resolving annoying technical error messages or utilising the most efficient tools and plug-ins, an SEO expert will help your WordPress site flourish.

      SEO consultant company vs freelance SEO consultant

      Whether to hire a freelancer or agency for any need is always an interesting debate. There are pros and cons to both approaches, and as a result, neither is necessarily “better.” This table explains the core differences in the way these SEO consultants work.

      FreelancerAgency
      Usually cheaper than an agencyWill invariably charge more than freelancers
      Will more than likely work from home, or will ask to work from your officeWill have a specialist office or another workspace
      One contact will handle all your SEO consultancy needsAn entire team will bring a range of perspectives to your SEO consulting
      Expertise may be limited to personal experienceMany different staff members will bring their experience to the table
      Can disappear or become unavailable if sick or otherwise engagedWill be contracted to your business, ensuring that somebody always delivers
      Will deliver strictly according to a brief, requiring guidance for any changesWill likely consult with you and expand and enhance a brief
      Will likely complete a contractually agreed project then move on to a new clientWill always be available to answer a future question and renew a working relationship
      SEO consultant company compared to freelance SEO consultant

      If you ask us here at Creative.onl, we always recommend choosing an agency if your budget allows – and not just because that’s our line of business! As you’ll see from the table above, an agency provides more security. All the same, a good freelancer can be worth their weight in gold.

      SEO consultant prices – how much does an SEO consultant cost?

      As we discussed in our guide to SEO costs, the expenses involved in hiring an SEO consultant can vary wildly. It all depends on the level of experience and expertise you’ll benefit from, whether your consultant works as a freelancer, business or as part of an agency, and how much work you will be commissioning.

      This table will give you an idea of what your business may need to spend on SEO. These numbers should not be taken as gospel, though. The final sum will only become apparent after you discuss your unique business needs with an SEO consultant.

      Type of consultancy serviceFreelancerAgency
      Basic SEO ConsultancyUp to £1,000 monthlyUp to £2,000 monthly
      Intermediate SEO ConsultancyBetween £1,000 – £3,000 monthlyBetween £2,000 – £5,000 monthly 
      Advanced SEO ConsultancyOver £3,000 monthlyOver £5,000 monthly
      SEO consultant prices

      If you would like a no-obligation quote for SEO consultation services from Creative.onl, you are more than welcome to contact us. We will arrange a conversation and provide you with the most accurate expense prediction possible.

      Words of caution – what are the risks of a bad SEO consultant?

      Hiring a poor SEO consultant is more than just a waste of money. Yes, you will initially mourn the fact that your investment has been wasted. You will likely have paid at least something to your consultant and may not be seeing the results you were expecting.

      The damage that substandard SEO can inflict on a business is more than just financial, though, and it can last far longer than a short-term cash lossNegative SEO can cause website traffic to fall off a cliff almost overnight, whether due to accident or design. There is little to no forgiveness when it comes to Google’s algorithms.

      What’s more, once our search engine overlords have flagged your site as problematic, it’s challenging to get back into their good graces. Always take the time to hire the right SEO consultant. As the adage says, “act in haste, repent at leisure.”

      How do you recognise a bad SEO consultant vs an expert SEO consultant?

      Having discussed the risks of hiring a lousy SEO consultant, we would hate to see you fall into such a trap. To avoid making a mistake in your search for an SEO consultant, look out for these red flags. If you see them raised, walk away.

      • Promising very particular results, such as a guaranteed spot at the top of Google’s organic search rankings. The fact is, nobody can promise this – not even Google! 
      • A questionable website that features few backlinks from high-authority sites, is not regularly updated, and forces you to endure substandard UX design
      • Inability to discuss and explain working practices in any kind of detail, instead focussing on buzzwords and vague promises of results
      • Any history of blackhat SEO tactics, such as paying for traffic, link farming or other practices that Google refuse to countenance

      The easiest way to avoid a questionable SEO consultant hire is by picking up the phone and contacting Creative.onl now. Our team will be delighted to hear from you and offer whatever assistance we may be able to provide.

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