5 Questions to Ask When Hiring an SEO Expert

5 Questions to Ask When Hiring an SEO Expert.

Entrusting your SEO to an SEO agency or specialist is a decisive choice for the growth of your business. Indeed, it could be your best strategic decision of the year… or not. Rest assured, a few questions can help you distinguish a trustworthy collaborator from an improvised SEO expert who could jeopardize your profitability on the web.

Before going through the five questions that are good to ask before outsourcing your SEO to a third party, let’s start by distinguishing the different people with whom you could collaborate.

There are 3 types of organic SEO experts

SEO agencies

There are often workers with complementary expertise, who can take care of all aspects of an SEO campaign. They sometimes offer related web marketing or website creation services.

SEO consultants

They work on an individual basis and are therefore more limited in their range of services. That said, these SEO specialists can do business with subcontractors to complete their offers.

The in-house SEO specialist

Some larger volume or high growth companies choose to hire an in-house SEO specialist. They can be supported by a consultant when they are hired, for their training or to optimize an established strategy.

If you are thinking of integrating an SEO specialist into your team, it is because you are probably familiar with SEO strategies; you might even have a few trick questions to ask your future employee. The following list is more about the first two options. We suggest that you first validate the technical knowledge of a potential employee.

1. Do you know Google?

There are very few people left on earth to answer no to this question. But running a good SEO campaign is not all about naming that search engine. For an SEO specialist, in-depth knowledge of Google’s algorithms and its SEO criteria is essential and requires continuous updating. Google offers an overview of these elements through a section of guidelines addressed to web developers.

An SEO specialist must therefore continually consult these regularly updated sections. The same is true with the search algorithm, which changes almost 600 times a year.

Want to assess if your contact is up to date with the latest major updates from Google?

Check out this link, and make sure he or she is aware of each of the items listed.

So, new rules make some practices obsolete, even reprehensible, and you don’t want an SEO specialist who is slow to adapt. The consequences of your visibility on the web could be disastrous. On the contrary, a knowledgeable and proactive SEO specialist will take actions that promote your positioning on the web.

2. What are your onsite and offsite strategies?

SEO is made up of two distinct and complementary strategies: on-site (or on-site, as we often hear) or off-site (off-site) strategies. A reliable SEO specialist can tell you which ones they adopt most often, and suggest which ones would work best in your industry.

  • On-site strategies
    -Website architecture: the SEO specialist uses codes and a structure that follows Google’s guidelines.
    -Quality of content: Google is sensitive to unique and relevant content, and to regularly updated websites.
    -The use of keywords: placed in the right places and combined with quality content, they contribute to the visibility of your page with qualified Internet users.
  • Offsite strategies
    -The creation of local business pages: Google+, Yelp, Yellow Pages, are examples.
    -Social media management: your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
    -Obtaining inbound links: links from other websites that lead to yours.

It is through the combined use of these strategies that an SEO specialist will stand out from a mere hobbyist. So it’s important to know if he can name a few for each category and if he has thought about how best to deploy them.

3. How do you get inbound links (backlinks)?

It is essential to emphasize this point because it is of the utmost importance in offsite SEO.


Because the acquisition of links is recognized as the most important SEO indexing criterion for Google. A site with many quality inbound links (or backlinks) will be greatly favoured by Google. So much so that it could even position itself before certain websites with better optimized content! While the benefits of netlinking are large and numerous, a bad strategy for getting inbound links is nonetheless harmful for your SEO.

A knowledgeable SEO manager avoids certain pitfalls, such as filling blog comment sections with links to your site. Or, buy links at low cost through various web platforms. As blogger Harsh Agrawal explains, this strategy, which he put to the test, can drop website traffic by up to 70% in just a week!

Quality inbound links don’t just happen magically – they require effort, patience, and minimal monetary investment. Watch out for cheap and quick fixes: Google will quickly find out and penalize you. Consider the quality of your content as your first intake of inbound links.

4. What SEO tools are you using?

As we have seen, an SEO campaign includes both onsite and offsite strategies. For each of them, appropriate tools are used. They fall into four types:

  • Reporting tools: they measure the traffic on your website, the performance of each keyword, the conversion rate, and many other data. They can be personalized for your business, and sent to you on a regular basis, like with Google Analytics.
  • Inbound link generators: as mentioned, these should be used with care. Some tools can create thousands of bad inbound links with just a few clicks, which will not help your visibility on the web.
  • Web architecture tools: Some programs like Screaming Frog spot problems with the structure of websites, as well as other anomalies that could affect SEO.
  • Research tools: to build a reliable database, it may be useful to call on the services of firms such as BuzzStream, which generate lists of relevant contacts in a varied sector.

Again, the key is in the variety. To prove their knowledge of the field, the interviewee should be able to cite a mixture of these tools.

5. Will I be number 1 on Google?

If you get a positive answer to this question, then you should keep looking for an SEO specialist. There are no guarantees that an SEO campaign will get you to the top of the results list. Even the best SEO firms struggle with these mundane realities:

  • Google doesn’t say it all: only Google employees – and again, not all – know precisely what formulas are behind the search engine’s algorithm. This secret, on which a large part of the company’s revenue is based, is unlikely to be revealed any time soon. The multinational will always be one step ahead of SEO experts.
  • Google is hard to follow: As mentioned, Google’s algorithm changes regularly, and updating takes time, effort and expertise in the field.
  • Google is giving everyone a chance: which means that if there are multiple players in your industry, you can expect stiff competition.

You are now ready to interview an SEO agency or specialist!

Want to test the knowledge of our SEO specialist before consulting our SEO rates? Call us now and put us to the test!