6 Steps for Marketers to Take before Hiring an SEO Pro

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This is part one of our two-part checklist series on hiring an SEO professional for marketing and creative professionals. Wednesday’s list will cover 6 Essential Questions to ask SEO professionals.

6.) Phone a Friend: Before sitting down with an SEO pro, ask trusted friends in your field or fellow small business owners their thoughts on SEO utilization. Dig for the dirt on their success stories as well as their horror tales. Find out what to look for as well as what to avoid. See what’s worked for folks whose success you admire and don’t be afraid to”¦

5.) Ask for a Recommendation: Meeting with an SEO genius with a proven pedigree is preferred over simply just grabbing the first name that comes up on Google. Your colleagues will most likely be happy to share this info with you, but if they don’t have a good recommendation”¦

4.) Do Research: Take the time to thoroughly read over the online portfolios of prospective SEO pros. Bookmark the pros whose clients you recognize and avoid the ones with patchy or vague information, as well as those who’ve worked for companies that no longer exist. Once you’ve picked your hopefuls”¦

3.) Schedule Multiple Appointments: Much like trying on a pair of jeans, finding the right fit for the job is going to take some time and plenty of options. Make the meetings for no more than an hour and don’t commit until you’ve gone through all of your options. Before the meetings happen, don’t forget to”¦

2.) Learn All You Can about SEO on your Own: Don’t sign a thing or hire a soul until you’ve taken time to learn as much about SEO as you possibly can. Use a dictionary to look up all the technical mumbo jumbo you don’t understand or bribe your IT guy with donuts in exchange for some translation. There are some great books on the topic, but for firsthand knowledge, go right to the source and read blogs written by SEO professionals. We’re big fans of the entertainingly-written but easy to understand SEO blogs SEO Chicks, Graywolf’s SEO Blog, Search Engine Land and, of course, the premier SEO expert Matt Cutts of Google’s blog is a must-read. It’s essential to know exactly what you’re getting into and what to expect so you can”¦

1.) Write a List of Thorough Questions: This last step is crucial. Having your concerns and questions down in black and white will help you remember to ask for exactly what you want. The questions will keep you from being distracted by shiny promises and sparkly sales pitches. Also, sticking to your script will keep the meetings short and to the point.

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