If you are looking for potential customers on the internet market, it is essential to get your website ranked on the first page of the search results. If your website is not ranking higher, it is quite sure that you won’t be able to receive visits from potential customers as most of them won’t go to back search pages. It is also a matter of trust; people think that the websites which rank higher are most trustworthy. So the higher visibility and the trustworthiness which you get with the higher ranking in search engines Google, Bing or Yahoo will bring more brand awareness, which will get you better sales and higher profits.

So now the problem in hand is how to rank higher in search engines. All these search engines use various algorithms to test your website and rank it. Content, backlinking, speed, security, etc. are checked to suitably place your website in rankings. If you got a lot of time at your hands and you can do trial and error to see what works then do the SEO process yourself.

But if you are busy and want to utilize your time in other aspects of your business, do hire someone who knows about SEO process. Let me give you some pointers which will help you in the process of finding an SEO consultant.

  1. First and foremost will be the list of their current and past clients they worked for. Check the results and how the client websites performed. I would say use ahref.com for that. You would be able to check all the keywords which websites rank for and also if they were ever penalized by any of the search engines.
  2. Ask the SEO consultant about the process. If you find anything shady or promises for quick results, my advice would be, stay away. I don’t know about others, but Google is pretty quick to drop the websites which use the black hat and quick ranking hacks. Trust me it is tough to get back on the good side of Google.
  3. Google Webmaster Best Practices: Always look for an SEO consultant who strictly follows the Google guidelines for webmasters. It is very important as the Google search engine holds more than 70% share of all the searches done on the internet. If you try to cheat and look for quick ranking jump, your website will be flagged and may not perform well or worse totally removed from searches.
  4. Price: Don’t go for pricey SEO consultants. Most of the consultants will do a similar job, so try to judge the pricing based on how much work the consultant will put in. If someone is promising to get you links from high authority websites with high traffic, it will cost you more. But sometimes consultants charge you to post links in websites which offer free guest post submissions, so you have to be very careful. Moz did a pricing survey a while back and found out that a majority SEO projects cost b/w $1,000 and $10,000.

My conclusion is that be very vigilant while choosing a consultant. If you get trapped by a shady SEO consultant, you will lose your money, time and website’s search rankings.