How to Hire an SEO Expert Without Getting Burned: What You Need to Know


You’ve probably heard by now that if you don’t have your SEO right, potential customers are going to have a hard time coming across your website.

The amount of time SEO takes, the technical expertise required to carry it out, and frequent search engine algorithm changes can make it difficult to keep your website optimized for SEO over time.

But with 93% of all online experiences beginning on a search engine, it’s never been more important to make sure your website’s search engine visibility is in a strong position so the right people can find you online.

If you’re running low on time but know you need to find a solution to boost your site’s search visibility, continue reading. This article will fill you in on everything you need to know about hiring an SEO expert.

What is an SEO Expert?

SEO stands for ‘’Search Engine Optimization.’’ SEO is the process of increasing website traffic through search engine results.

In the context of SEO, we define an SEO expert as someone with a proven track record of optimizing websites to achieve higher search engine rankings.

You may find an SEO expert referred to as an SEO consultant, an SEO professional, or an SEO specialist.

Some SEO professionals work on a freelance basis, while some will work with an SEO agency or a digital marketing agency.


Since 2009, we have helped hundreds of businesses generate more online leads and sales through SEO. Let us do it for you!

What Areas of SEO Will an Expert Specialize In?

If you’re familiar with SEO, you’ll know that there’s a lot that goes into it. That’s why it’s so important to determine what areas your potential SEO expert specializes in.

The most common types of SEO are:

  • Technical SEO
  • On-Page SEO
  • Off-Page SEO
  • Mobile SEO

Most SEO Experts will have expertise in the three most important types of SEO that websites need to be optimized for.

They are:

  • Technical SEO
  • On-Page SEO
  • Off-Page SEO

Ideally, a website will have all three of these areas optimized. If one is lacking, the website isn’t going to rank as high as it could.

For example, a website might be technically sound, but if the on-page SEO is poor then the webpages aren’t going to rank well.

Let’s take a further look at these different SEO types to get a better understanding of what’s involved in each.

Technical SEO

We define technical SEO as the process of improving the technical aspects of a website to increase the ranking of its pages in search engines.

Technical SEO involves making optimizations to a site that makes it more efficient to crawl and index. This allows Google to deliver the right content from your site to users at the right time.

A website owner can have the best website with the best content, but their website isn’t going to rank if their technical SEO has been neglected.

There’s a lot to technical SEO, and while this isn’t a definitive list, an SEO expert proficient in technical SEO should be able to do the following:

  • Identify any crawl errors on a website.
  • Find out how Google views a website’s pages.
  • Ensure a website is mobile-friendly.
  • Make sure a website is secured correctly.
  • Check a website’s loading speed.
  • Fix any broken links.

On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO refers to the optimization of web pages in order to rank higher. With a higher rank, they can earn more relevant organic traffic from search engines.

In other words, On-Page SEO involves optimizing all of the elements that affect SEO on a website.

An ideally optimized webpage should do the following:

  • Be relevant to a specific topic or keyword (discovered through keyword research).
  • The subject or keyword should be specified several times throughout the text content on the page.
  • A web page should link back to its sub-category or category page, if applicable.
  • Link back to the homepage (usually achieved with an image link showing the website logo on the top left of a page).

You can use the checklist above as a reference point if you’re discussing On-Page SEO with an expert, or ask what On-Page SEO practices they recommend.

Off-Page SEO

Off-Page SEO refers to all actions taken outside a website that impact search rankings.

Rather than a set of SEO principles, off-page SEO refers to SEO tactics that improve a web pages search rankings such as:

  • Brand building.
  • Citation building.
  • Social media marketing.
  • Content marketing.

An easy way to think of Off-Page SEO is any tactic used to improve SEO that doesn’t involve making changes to a website itself or publishing content to a website.

For example, if you write a great blog post and it gets retweeted by an influencer in your niche, this would count as an example of Off-Page SEO.

As there are quite a few different off-page SEO tactics available, you should check with any SEO expert that you’re interviewing or hiring to see which Off-Page SEO tactics they specialize in or what they recommend for your particular situation.

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Since 2009, we have helped hundreds of businesses generate more online leads and sales through SEO. Let us do it for you!

Why Would You Need to Hire an SEO Expert?

There are a number of different reasons why you may need to hire an SEO Expert. Perhaps you’ve mastered the basics of SEO and have maxed out your knowledge, or perhaps your site just isn’t attracting the amount of traffic you’d like.

If a lack of traffic is your reason, you’re not alone. HigherVisibility’s very own Small Business Digital Marketing study carried out in 2019 found that only 40.9% of small business owners were very satisfied with their current website traffic.

Whatever your reasoning, a seasoned, competent SEO Expert should be able to improve your current situation.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of hiring an SEO expert and some of the steps you can take to make sure the expert you hire can help you achieve your SEO goals.

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What Are the Benefits of Hiring an SEO Expert?

Get Your Time Back

Outsourcing your site’s SEO to an SEO expert or an SEO agency takes away the stress of having to dedicate your own time to improve your site’s SEO.

Having your SEO taken care of frees up your mental energy and allows you to focus on other important issues at hand.

Save Money and Receive Long-Term, Reliable Business Growth

With 70% of marketers stating that SEO is more important and effective than PPC, it’s important for website owners to realize the long-term potential that SEO can bring to their website and business.

While hiring an SEO expert will inevitably cost a website owner money up-front and on an ongoing basis, the decision to hire an SEO expert should generate a positive ROI in the long-term.

SEO does take time, but once your site is properly optimized (on an ongoing basis), you should start to see a positive flow of qualified organic traffic.

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Since 2009, we have helped hundreds of businesses generate more online leads and sales through SEO. Let us do it for you!

4 Tips for Hiring a Reputable SEO Expert

Now you know some of the benefits of hiring an SEO Expert, the challenge becomes finding one.

To help you with this, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you in your search.

1. Know Some SEO Basics and Define Your Objectives

While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s not a bad idea to learn/know some SEO basics yourself before hiring an expert.

Knowing the basics will help you define what you want an SEO campaign to look like and what you want to achieve.

For example, just having a goal of getting ‘more traffic’ is a little bit broad. Instead, try and define how much new traffic you want to be brought in during a specific time frame, e.g., ‘I want to increase my web traffic by 15% over the next 12 months.’

The more specific your goals and objectives can be, the better. By defining your goals and objectives, the SEO expert you’re working with will be able to give you a much clearer understanding of whether your objectives are realistic and if they can be hit.

2. Tap into Your Professional Network for Recommendations.

The easiest way to find a trusted SEO Expert is to ask your professional network.

Ask yourself: do you know anyone who works in SEO? Do you know anyone in your network who’s used an SEO expert that they could refer to you? Can you post on LinkedIn asking your network to recommend an SEO expert?

A referral from a fellow professional is always appreciated, and if you trust the person, you can be confident that their referral will produce good work.

3. Check Review Sites

Sites like BestSEOCompanies.com or Clutch can give you detailed lists of the best SEO Agencies and Professionals in your area.

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A quick way to do this is to simply type ‘top SEO services (area) clutch’ into Google, click the first link, and you’ll be greeted by a list of the top-rated SEO companies in your area. You can review the top results in the list to narrow down the options for SEO experts or companies you’re looking to hire.

4. Check for Testimonials and Case Studies

You may find that checking out reviews for a company or SEO expert are sufficient, but for a more in-depth look at their services and processes, you may want to check for testimonials and case studies.

For example, when you click onto the HigherVisibility website and navigate to the SEO services page, you can read an in-depth case study of how we helped Caliber Collision generate a 141.41% increase in organic conversions in 12 months.

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By reading prior case studies, you can get invaluable insights into how the company or individual you’re looking to hire operates and the results they can bring to your business.

If you can’t find case studies or testimonials on a candidate’s website, don’t be afraid to ask for them. If they refuse to give you any, then it’s ok to be afraid.

What Questions Should You Ask an SEO Expert Before Hiring Them?

After you’ve shortlisted the potential SEO experts or companies you want to work with, you can begin the interview process.

Just like any interview, it’s a good idea to have a set of questions prepared that you can ask your candidates.

The aim of these questions should be to get a better understanding of the services the company/individual is providing, to see whether they’re going to be able to get the results you desire, and discover which shortlisted expert is the best fit for your business.

Here are some examples of questions to ask.

Do You Have Experience in My Industry or With My Type of Website/Business?

SEO isn’t a one size fits all undertaking, and the length of time it takes to see meaningful results can differ from site to site.

For example, suppose you run a pizzeria in Denver. In that case, you’ll want to show up in map listings your search queries (e.g., Pizzerias in Denver). If this is the case, you may want to hire an SEO expert or agency that has expertise in local SEO.

If you’re running an online service-based business where you don’t have a physical location, your SEO requirements are going to be different than those of a local restaurant owner.

Spend some time asking any prospective SEO expert you’re thinking of working with about their prior experience with your industry/business. This will give you a clearer picture of whether the candidate will be able to help.

Can You Share Information on Your Past Clients and Their Results?

This question may not be necessary if you’ve already viewed past case studies of a candidate’s work.

An experienced SEO expert or company should have resources available that they can share to show you previous results they’ve got for clients, so don’t be afraid to ask.

What Areas of SEO do You Specialize in / What are Your Most Important SEO Techniques?

Asking the areas of SEO and the techniques that a candidate specializes in will help you determine if they are right for your business.

An experienced SEO expert shouldn’t have a problem telling you the techniques or area of SEO they specialize in and how they will use these techniques to improve your website’s search engine ranking.

As we mentioned earlier, try and get specific about the results you want to achieve. Doing so will help you weed out the candidates who aren’t right for your business while also giving you an idea of how realistic your objectives are.


Hiring an SEO expert is an important decision for a lot of website and business owners.

SEO is a fundamental part of any business’s digital marketing strategy, and while SEO is a long process, it’s a necessary investment for those looking to boost their site’s ranking and increase revenue.

If you’re looking at hiring a dedicated SEO expert or a team of experts, take the time to vet the candidate or team properly.

By asking relevant questions and clearly defining achievable SEO campaign targets and a long term strategy, you can make sure that the SEO expert you work with is the right fit for your long-term goals.


Since 2009, we have helped hundreds of businesses generate more online leads and sales through SEO. Let us do it for you!

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