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Best Practices for Hiring SEO Consultants

Woman works on her laptop looking for SEO consultants.

How to Hire for SEO…In Googles’ Own Words

About a year ago I wrote an eBook titled “The Digital Marketing Smell Test - How to Hire an Agency that Doesn’t Stink”.  It was written by a digital agency, about digital agencies. Frankly, it was all the stuff that the charlatans and pretenders don’t want you to ask about.

Now Google has one-upped me with a video about the exact same subject. And yes, I highly recommend it to any school looking into hiring an online marketing agency or consultant. In fact, I find it refreshingly validating.

Authors Note: Google recommends a website audit that covers some very specific things. I can do better than that. See my offer at the bottom of this article.

In this 11-minute video, Maile Ohye, a senior Google developer, recommends what to look for before hiring a search engine optimizer. She covers a lot of ground in that 11 minutes.


 Here are a few highlights I jotted down:

  • There are no silver bullets: In most cases, SEOs need four months to a year to help your school first implement improvements and then see potential benefits.
  • Google emulates the user experience: Generally, what prospective parents like…Google likes.
  • Good SEOs will confirm their findings and their plans: Legitimate professionals will corroborate their recommendations with a description of the issues that need to be improved to help with ranking and the approach they prescribe to accomplish this task.
  • Shortcuts: Google has over 200 different ranking criteria that they weigh. Links from other website are one of them. Don’t buy links for the purpose of increasing page rank.
  • Website infrastructure: A good SEO will analyze your sites architecture as part of their analysis and recommendations.

The consultant, or agency should be able to identify and address:

  1. The issues
  2. Suggested improvements
  3. Estimate on the overall investment
  4. Estimated positive business impact

Probably the number one thing she addressed is the power of a professional Website Audit. She goes out of her way to suggest that it is worth paying for, and suggests that as part of their due-diligence, the SEO should review the site for issues relating to:

  1. Internal linking
  2. Crawlability
  3. URL parameters
  4. Server connectivity
  5. Response codes

Well, she one-upped me with that concise video, but I think we have the upper hand with the professional website audit. This is typically a fee based service, but we’re waiving the fee as part of the promotion for this article. Click on the link above to see what this is all about.

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