What Is an SEO Consultant, and Do You Need One?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Explore what an SEO consultant can contribute to your business and how to hire the right one for your business goals.

[Featured Image]:  An SEO consultant is sitting at their desk, working on a laptop computer, performing his SEO research.

A search engine optimization (SEO) consultant helps businesses improve their websites’ ranking in search engine results. An SEO consultant’s goal is to make it easier for potential clients to find you, help you remain competitive in your niche, and increase your business’s revenue-generating potential. 

SEO refers to the process of making a website easier to navigate, more user-friendly, and trusted among consumers in a target market so that a search engine like Google will position the site’s pages higher in its search results for related keywords.

Improving SEO is an important endeavor for any business because it can:

  • Increase organic traffic without paid ads

  • Generate leads

  • Inspire trust in site visitors

  • Turn prospects into paying, loyal customers 

  • Boost sales 

Did you know? The cost of acquiring new customers with a good SEO strategy is 87 per cent lower than with paid search, according to a study by Terakeet [1]. 


What does an SEO consultant do?

The duties of an SEO consultant can vary depending on the organization a consultant works for. SEO consulting services might range from performing specific SEO tasks to advising companies on a strategic level.  

Here’s a list of services an SEO consult might offer: 

  • Conduct keyword research.

  • Create an SEO content strategy.

  • Optimize existing site content.

  • Uncover and fix minor technical SEO issues. 

  • Delegate more advanced technical SEO fixes to a development team.

  • Improve site navigation and page organization.

  • Conduct a competitive analysis of web pages that rank for target keywords.

  • Recommend call-to-action improvements.

  • Work with other marketing teams to distribute content on social media and in email campaigns.

Skills and qualifications an SEO consultant should have include: 

  • Customize SEO strategies and solutions to fit your business needs.

  • Forecast how an SEO campaign will perform, given online searcher behaviour and competing websites.

  • Demonstrate expertise in how SEO works.

  • Provide examples of results they’ve gotten for other clients.

  • Use the latest SEO strategies, methods, tools, and software.

  • Create original content that ranks at the top of search results pages.

  • Analyze data to make SEO recommendations.

5 signs it’s time to hire an SEO consultant

Hiring an SEO consultant is an important step in your business development. However, depending on the cost of services, it can also be a significant investment. 

You might wonder if now is the right time to hire a consultant. Review the following signs to decide.  

1. You have clear business objectives. 

Knowing where your business currently stands and where you want to take it can help you outsource the right service providers, including an SEO consultant, to meet your goals. 

2. You are scaling your business. 

A period of business growth can signal a need to prepare your website for more traffic. For example, you may be expanding your products and services or gearing up to attract new niche markets. 

An SEO consultant may be able to advise you on generating a higher volume of SEO-friendly content to reach new audiences, optimizing product pages for conversion, or improving the navigability of your website. 

3. You are revamping your website. 

Along with scaling your business, revamping a website can signal a need for SEO help. With a consultant, you may be able to focus your website improvements on the SEO tactics that will bring in the most traffic.  

4. You want to implement a new content strategy. 

SEO relies on having relevant, authoritative content that satisfies searcher intent. If you are considering implementing a new content strategy, you may benefit from an SEO consultant’s guidance. 

5. You have a working knowledge of SEO. 

When you have a working knowledge of SEO, you are in a better position to understand your business’s SEO needs and find a consultant whose skills and approaches can fill those needs.  

Steps for hiring an SEO consultant

If you’re ready to hire an SEO consultant, you can follow these steps to streamline the process. 

1. Clarify your SEO goals and business needs.

Clear objectives will make finding the best fit for your business easier. Use these questions to clarify your goals: 

  • What are your overall business goals? 

  • What specific outcomes do you want a new SEO strategy to enable? 

  • What SEO tactics do you need a consultant to use or help you implement? 

2. Determine a budget. 

For any business development endeavour or investment, it’s important to determine a budget before reaching out to potential hires. That way, you can keep your business healthy and maintain positive cash flow. 

Some questions to ask yourself include: 

  • What resources do you have on hand to invest in SEO consulting services? 

  • How much revenue does your business generate monthly or quarterly? 

  • In what areas of your business might you reduce spending without sacrificing operational efficiency or brand authority to invest in an SEO consultant? 

3. Research multiple SEO consultants and companies. 

Your next step is to find out what SEO services are available and which ones can help you achieve your business goals. Search the internet and freelance sites and tap into your professional network to gather a list of services to investigate further. 

Use these questions to guide your research: 

  • Which consultants or companies have the qualifications you need in a service provider? 

  • Which of them offers the closest match to the services you need? 

  • What do previous customers or clients say about these consultants or companies in the reviews?

  • What can you glean from SEO service providers’ work samples, portfolios, and case studies?  

  • How do the prices for different SEO consulting services compare? 

4. Create a detailed job description. 

Once you know your goals, budget, and services available in the marketplace, your next step is to draft a job description. Use this to attract potential SEO consulting candidates and guide your recruiting conversations.  

The job description will need: 

  • A job title that corresponds to the services you need, including “SEO consultant,” “SEO consulting services,” “SEO marketing consultant,” “small business SEO consultant,” and “e-commerce SEO consultant” 

  • A description of your business and its current SEO needs 

  • A list of tasks you need an SEO consultant to perform, such as keyword research, an SEO audit, or optimizing your entire e-commerce website 

  • A list of qualifications you’re looking for in an SEO consultant, including their skills and experience 

  • Additional details, such as the duration of the position and the scope of the work 

5. Connect with SEO consultants. 

To connect with potential SEO consultant hires, consider using the following approaches: 

  • Reach out to consultants directly through their websites or social media profiles. Include the job description in your message. 

  • Post the job description in online communities and on social media and ask SEO consultants to reach out to you.  

  • Create a job listing on sites like Glassdoor or Indeed, as well as freelance platforms like Toptal or Upwork, and monitor the applications you receive. 

Then, list the top SEO consultants you want to interview.  

6. Ask high-priority questions during interviews.

Your goals for this step are to build on the information you’ve discovered from service providers’ websites and select the best SEO consultant from your pool of candidates. 

Consider the following questions as a starting point for interviews: 

  • What SEO tactics and strategies are you good at that would help my site?

  • How often do you check in with your clients on how the SEO strategy is working? 

  • How long does it typically take your consultancy to get results for clients? 

  • Are you working with other brands or competitors in my niche?

  • How do you avoid SEO practices that go against Google's guidelines (also called “black hat SEO”)?

Improve your SEO and digital marketing with Coursera. 

Taking online courses can be a great way to build SEO knowledge and strengthen your digital marketing skills. Sign up for the Google Digital Marketing & E-commerce Professional Certificate to learn how SEO, email marketing, social media, and more can build a powerful marketing strategy for your business.

Article sources

  1. Terakeet. “The Compounding Value of Organic Search, https://insights.terakeet.com/rs/680-HEX-994/images/Terakeet_MarketingValue_Report_2022.pdf.” Accessed June 4, 2024.

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