[author: Noreen Fishman]
No matter how talented your digital marketing team is, getting some outside support can prove invaluable. Hiring an SEO expert can offer several benefits such as improving a website’s performance and saving time that can be spent on other efforts. However, when planning to hire an SEO consultant for law firms, it’s essential to work with a highly-qualified and credible resource. Google has actually released a video detailing recommendations for hiring SEO professionals, and we’ve detailed them here.
A Three-Step Process for Hiring an SEO Consultant for Law Firms
Google has suggested a few steps for vetting an SEO resource before choosing one. Here’s a bit about each step.
1. An In-depth Interview
It’s essential not to skip or shorten the interview process. Take the time to conduct real, face-to-face (either via Zoom or in-person) interviews. When you do, make sure that the company or individual is focused on the right areas. Google says it’s a red flag for SEO experts to be too focused on particular rankings or where a site appears in search rankings. Instead, they should talk about the overall ways in which they’ll help your firm improve in search results. Look for “how” descriptions instead of just ranking promises. To be able to discuss this information properly, they should be asking you questions like:
- What makes your firm special?
- Who is your ideal client?
- How do potential clients find your website right now?
- How do you anticipate that search will help your firm to make more money?
- Describe the other aspects of your marketing strategy.
- Are you comfortable with (or using) social media or paid advertising platforms?
- Who are your competitors? What do you think they do well?
If during the interview, the SEO resource does not seem interested in your firm from a holistic point of view, that’s a red flag. You also want to watch for specific promises about ranking or unrealistic guarantees. Search is constantly changing and only Google developers know the algorithm – so it’s impossible to make those kinds of statements.
2. Checking References
The second biggest step is obtaining references from potential organizations or individuals. Don’t be afraid to ask specific questions about performance. Try to find out how the resource’s guidance affected their SEO efforts. You’re also looking for information on whether or not the results are sustainable. If the client worked with the SEO expert some time ago, are they still leveraging the strategies put in place? Are the improvements being maintained? Google shares that a truly valuable SEO partner will help to make SEO an integral part of your firm’s overall marketing efforts. Look for testimonials that point toward long-term results, not just quick fixes.
3. A Technical Audit
Once you’ve conducted interviews and called references, you should be able to narrow down your list to a few possibilities. At this time, you should ask the potential partners for a technical audit. This means they will review your site and come back to you with a prioritized list of actions to make your website more search-friendly. The suggestions should not be general best practices but based on specific data and insights collected from the audit. They should also include tactics for making your website more effective for visitors (human users, not just search engines). At that time, they should be able to provide an estimate for doing the work noted in the audit, as well as the results that could be expected.
Once You’ve Hired an SEO Partner
In their video, Google also provides a few tips for what to do after hiring an SEO expert. Before any work starts at all, it’s important to sit down and agree on specific goals and metrics, and the methods for tracking. It’s critical to know what you’ll get from the arrangement from the very beginning, and be on the same page about how those results will be determined.
Since this advice comes from Google, it’s probably worth listening to. An SEO consultant can prove invaluable to firms just beginning SEO, hoping to improve their search strategy, or with digital marketing teams that are stretched too thin.