How to hire an SEO expert: an in-depth guide for founders


You may have seen this before: 90.63% of websites receive no traffic from Google.

Planning, executing and pivoting an SEO strategy is a very time-consuming task and it’s not easy.

Also, how long does it take to see results in SEO?

According to new research, it might take up to 2 months to see backlinks work for SEO and SEMRush estimates 6-12 months for SEO to kick in.

So, if you noticed no change in your SEO in the past 3 months, it’s probably time to hire an SEO consultant.

But how do you hire the right SEO consultant?

Let’s get straight to the point.

How to hire an SEO expert in 7 steps

I would recommend founders to stop working so much on SEO. Or at least, stop working on the things that they can delegate to others.

Because one of the best things you can do for your SEO, even if you have the skills, is to learn how to delegate SEO to a consultant.

Founders shouldn’t do their own SEO.

Because successful SEO doesn’t come from more work, but from better, more performing work.

It comes from smart choices, strategies and the capacity to scale. In the following lines, we will find out who SEO experts are, what exactly they do, when it’s time to hire one, and how to choose the right one from the growing list of SEO tasks.

1. Don’t hire employees but hire your own SEO consultant

The first thing you need to consider is whether you should hire an SEO consultant or a team of employees to do SEO for your business.

Your goal is to free up your time when it comes to SEO tasks. Time that you can use for actually growing your business and making the big decisions.

That’s why SEO freelancers are the best option for you. They’ll help you draw and automate your processes, execute tasks and report on results.

There are financial advantages. Their costs are more realistic and reasonable than employees and keeping costs down for a new company is one of the keys to survival and growth.

Also, it’s very easy to hire freelancers now, there are more than 30 freelancers websites where you can select and hire for all the specialties you need. In fact, there are more than 1 billion freelancers in the world right now.

Personally, I believe that entrepreneurs should work directly with an SEO consultant if possible.

This is why:

  • It’s easier: You’ll be lot more nimble if you can link minds with your SEO immediately. Plus, you can manage that contractor within your team/system and use any software you want.

  • It saves you time and money because you won’t have to deal with the job advertisement, interview, administration, and payment of your SEO consultant yourself.

  • Working directly with an SEO contractor might provide you with additional flexibility when company activities need to be changed or rearranged suddenly. You may get involved and develop your approach, guiding your SEO specialist as required.

However…there are a lot of SEOs out there.

So let’s review how to hire the right specialist for your business, by covering what your job ad should include.

If you want the benefits of a personal SEO specialist without having to worry about hiring them, training them, or setting up systems to manage them, you need my SEO consultancy services. I’ll construct your brand’s personal SEO strategy that will generate traffic for you on autopilot for the life of your business. Talk to me today to get started.

2. Write a compelling job description

What is an SEO Consultant? And what does he/ she do? Before you hire one, have clear in mind what are the roles and responsibilities of an SEO expert.

The problem with hiring an SEO contractor is that there are literally thousands.

Whether you check Upwork or Fiverr, you can see how many SEO consultants are available for work.

seo services on fiverr

But you don’t want to spend time selecting, outreaching and negotiating.

You want the right SEO consultant to come to you.

That’s why you need to write the perfect job description. So you can write it once, set it and let it do the job of finding the right person.

After all, as a founder, you should focus on taking big decisions that involve a lot of people and resources.

So here are my top three recommendations for writing a great job description:

    1. Clarify the goals: be absolutely clear on what type of SEO goals you need for your business. More traffic is the usual answer, but how much more? Set up the bar and make it happen!

This is a very important factor because it allows judging whether your SEO campaigns will be successful or not. Having clear goals and expectations is the foundation of your hiring process.

    1. Vision and mission of your brand: a great SEO expert needs to feel part of your brand and fall in love with it. Explain why you created your brand, the biggest problems you face, what is the ideal customers, why are customers using your service/ product, and what are your long-term goals.
    1. Compensation: if you want to hire a top expert SEO consultant, you can offer a pay-per-performance compensation plan. If your business needs long-term SEO commitment, invest in a partnership with your SEO consultant.

They become more motivated to deliver great impacts and you have the guarantee they’ll do a great job. It’s a win-win!

3. Create an authoritative SEO plan

Within a crowded market, the best way to win is to invest in authority.

What do I mean by that?

Your final SEO goal is not just generating more traffic, but helping your website to become an authority in your niche.

What do I mean?

Because of the incredible increase in the number of websites – the number of websites globally is estimated to be approximately 1.72 billion-, Google is becoming more efficient in crawling and understanding websites.

Instead of checking each page and keyword, now Google checks the topical authority of a website. This means Google spends less time understanding your website keywords, and more time nailing down the whole topic you write about.

And then it gives an authority score.

In other words, great SEOs would recommend you to niche down and publishing more articles related to your niche and industry,

This involves extensive research on your market, your competitors, your keywords and the topics your SEO needs to write about.

So, if you want to dominate SERPs, this requires much more than just doing keyword research and optimising for SEO, as it was in 2009.

You actually need to develop a fully rounded digital marketing strategy, think outside of Google and search engines, understand your audience and customers and include also other digital marketing channels in the mix.

4. Look for these 5 SEO skills and personality traits

Now that you know what you need to get out of SEO, it’s time to look for the right skills and personality traits. You’ll probably receive many many applications but you only need to hire 1 person, the top of the top SEO consultant.

Now let’s look at the top traits an SEO consultant needs to have, based on what I learn in the last 10 years of doing SEO for some of the top brands in the U.K.

    • Google research skills. Look for their ability to search Google like a boss and not leave any stones unturned.
    • Audience & customers research skills. SEO audiences are not just your potential buyers, but also the people who will link to your content, share your content, buy from you and become advocates. A great SEO pro knows this and will search all types of audiences for you.
    • Content creation strategies. Once you have clear what audience you need to target with your content, it’s time to write the right pieces and make the connections. Look for people who can produce content for different audiences.
      • Determination. It’s hard to make something right the first time on a new website, no amount of planning can get it perfect. That’s why you need to look for determined people who will go the extra mile and test, test, test.
    • SEO tools mastering. Look for people who know how to use SEO tools, check what they use them for and since how long. Bonus points if you can find someone who actually built his own SEO tool.

???? Also read: 

One thing to remember is that SEO is not for the faint of heart and you should never babysit your consultant.

If you are still struggling with finding the right person, the next tip is going to be very useful.

5. First impressions count: hire people you like

Work is professional but relationships are personal.

When I hire and train new SEO pros to work with me, I have to like their personality.

In fact, every time I like someone, I tend to enjoy the projects and feel more relaxed and energetic at the same time.

As a founder, if you have to spend lots of time mentoring, guiding and working with these SEO consultants, you might as well enjoy spending time with them.

6. Consider hiring a Web Developer and Web Designer

The SEO game is a complex beast and it requires a diverse skillset.

So when it comes to talented web designers and developers, that’s when you can really scale your traffic.

Even the best SEO consultant will miss something here and there. And expecting an SEO expert to fix all of your design and tech issues can pull their attention away from their true skill – SEO strategy.

And that’s when web developers and designers come in.

That’s why I recommend you adding those pros to your list of contractors. A web developer can fix your website bugs even before the SEO expert can actually find them.

Or he/she can work with your SEO consultant to go through the SEO technical audit.

A web designer can work with the developer to create stunning UX and better experiences for your audience.

And you don’t stop there. You can add more roles for your SEO campaigns, like recruiting a content writer, a link builder and a Digital PR specialist, or those professionals that increase your conversion rates (by adding more conversions to your website, you can lower the cost per acquisition and have many other tangible benefits).

This is how the fastest startups grow in a sustainable way!

7. Understand when it’s time to hire an SEO expert

There are a few signals you can pick up that tell you it’s time to invest in SEO and hire an expert.

1. When you don’t have an SEO strategy

When it comes to SEO strategy, there isn’t a one size fits all.

Every website is different, which means every website needs its own, customised strategy for SEO. The strategy will either reinforce your digital presence, or it can generate more backlinks and increase your authority.

For example, the strategy for case study was to increase the number of products to sell, in order to offer products’ variety. It’s a similar strategy to Amazon that offers everything you can possibly imagine, but in smaller scale because medino is an online pharmacy.

Also medino needed a large number of authority backlinks to reinforce their authority in the space. So I got links from Insider, BBC, Healthline, Wikipedia, DailyMail, TheSun and many more.

This strategy works for medino because it helped the website indexing thousands of pages and generated thousands of new customers.

2. When your marketing budget is tight

When your marketing budget is tight, it’s probably time to look at SEO.

Startup companies often spend a fortune on PPC because it can deliver traffic quickly. But the problem is that as soon as you stop the paid campaigns, also your traffic will stop, which means your revenue will tank.

With SEO, instead, you can start slowly and have a long-term view of 1-3 years for building your organic revenue. In time you’ll be able to save PPC money and still generate leads and sales from search engines.

That’s when hiring an SEO specialist makes the most sense from a business perspective.

3. When you need flexibility

Hiring an employee to look after your SEO might not be the right choice if you need flexibility.

That’s because hiring an employe takes a long time (when I hired some I looked around got 6 months) and it’s very hard to fire one too.

Signing up an employee requires a tight contract that your HR department will gave to agree to. So what do you do when your employee underperforms?

That’s why I recommend hiring an SEO contractor instead. They can be hired on-demand and extremely quickly.

Brands often hire me for very specific SEO tasks, that last a month or two. For example, they ask me to translate their English pages into Italian and to look at international SEO for 2 months.

Or they can ask me to build backlinks only because they know they lack backlinks. In this case, the campaign will last 6 months and has predefined goals in mind.

SEO is an area with lots of different factors in play and you can ask your SEO consultant to focus on a specific area only.

4 places for finding an SEO consultant

Finding, choosing, and employing an SEO consultant–one with whom you can work long-term–is not always the most straightforward task.

Unless you can receive a few good references from your network, you’ll have to start your search from scratch.

Since I’ve been in the SEO industry for over ten years, I thought I’d share some of my insights into the process that I’ve seen my customers and prospects go through, as well as some of my own recommendations.

1. Asking your network for recommendations

Your inner circle of trust is your network.

Look for at least a few of SEO experts that have worked with other marketing professionals (or business owners) in your network, and achieved good results.

Begin with your social media accounts, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter.

I propose a mix of social media postings asking for recommendations and private conversations to people in your network who have worked with an SEO professional.

2. Attending SEO Conferences

This is a great opportunity to meet face to face with your potential SEO consultant.

It’s easier to understand if you can potentially work with this person if there is a good fit for you, your team and your organisation.

SEO experts teaching other SEO experts are often the best choice, although they are most probably the most expensive ones to hire.

3. Searching for SEOs on Google

You have probably a good first impression on an SEO consultant if you search “seo consultant” in your local area and pick the top 3-5 results.

There is no better way to vet and assess an SEO expert by checking if the consultant shows up on page 1.

I rank on the top 4 results for the keyword “SEO consultant Portsmouth” and on page 1 for “Freelance SEO Consultant London” UK-wide.

freelance seo consultant london

4. Read the reviews on 3rd party sites

Many SEO consultants and experts join sites like Clutch, ProvenExpert, and similar websites, where clients write reviews about their experiences with SEO experts.

You can read these reviews detailing the type of work done, the results they have achieved and how good (or bad) the communication was.

Here is an example of my profile with

How to hire an SEO consultant (without creating more work for yourself)

The main reason of an SEO consultant is to take work and pressure off your shoulder.

But without a strategy in place, you won’t make any progress. That’s why I wrote this article.

I have been doing SEO for the last 10 years and recently I started to offer my SEO consultancy services to ambitious brands that want to grow with organic traffic.

I’ll take care of your SEO from hiring an SEO expert, training them on how to rank your website and implementing systems to manage their work. I’ll even set up an SEO strategy, including a content calendar and topics based on research.