Establishing your brand online can lead to higher sales and profits, but the first step is always getting your site high enough in the search engine rankings that potential customers can find you. But, search engine optimization can be intimidating for many business owners to handle on their own.

Hiring an experiences search engine optimization consultant is often the best option for business owners who want to get their business online, but lack the time or technical skills to do so. However, you’ll want to get the most for your dollar. Kim Lachance Shandrow recently shared a list of questions you can ask any prospective SEO consultant to make sure you’re getting the best service possible.

  1. How will you improve my search engine rankings? – Consultants who won’t go into the details about the methods they use are almost always questionable professionals. SEO consultants should be happy to explain exactly how they improve rankings for companies, along with estimates of how long it can take to get the results you are desiring.
  2. Do you follow Google’s Webmaster guidelines? – Any consultant who tries to toe the line of Google’s publicly posted webmaster best practices is almost guaranteed to get you in trouble sooner or later. There are many consultants who will try to use tricks to get high rankings extraordinarily quickly, but Google is quick to punish those trying to abuse loopholes. Bing and Yahoo also have best practice guidelines publicly available that you should also want your consultant to follow.
  3. How will you keep me informed of all changes made to my site? – As a business owner, you should expect to be involved in your SEO strategy from the very beginning, and your consultant should be willing to stay in communication about any changes being made to your site or the SEO strategy as a whole.
  4. Do you have local SEO expertise? – Brick-and-mortar businesses trying to attract people to their local shops need consultants who are experiences with working locally. The strategies for local SEO can often differ from more regional or national level optimization. There are also numerous actions that local SEO requires to get your site showing up for searches in your area that SEOs without local experience may skip over.
  5. How do you measure your SEO success? – Any experienced consultant should be able to tell you in detail how they measure your traffic coming to your website and where it is coming from. The most commonly used tool for tracking rankings and traffic is Google Analytics, and consultant should be willing to share the data with you.
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