Hiring an SEO can be tricky business. You will need to find someone that will put your business first, and focus their time effectively to get the results that you want. Regardless of how you decide to procure digital marketing services, there are a few key things you need to consider when hiring an SEO. Make sure they tick the following boxes for your business.


You need an SEO provider you can trust. Trust your instincts. Does this person have a track record of great case studies to back up their claims? Find someone with a solid reputation who you think will be the best fit for your company — and always check for transferable SEO experience. There’s a wide range of SEO tactics, ranging from digital PR to technical SEO — consider which ones matter most to you.

Track record

Good testimonials or reviews are generally a good sign, especially if they are on an external review platform like Google. A nicely presented portfolio or range of testimonials shows a commitment to professionalism and good customer service. See if you can speak to an old client for an insider point of view, or ask about their potential marketing strategy for your business and what they can achieve.

They should also have experience of dealing with similar sites and businesses: a B2B content and SEO strategy will require a very different skillset to B2C.

Reporting & Service Level Agreement (SLA)

SEO reporting is an important factor when choosing a supplier — you need someone who is able to give you all the data you need. You may not have a formal SLA with all SEO work, but you should at least be clear on how often reporting will happen and what that will entail.

What about phone calls and emails — are they answered on a daily basis? Make sure you are clear on how to get hold of your actual SEO manager before you sign on the dotted line.

Communication style

Similar to reporting, communication style will be important. Go for someone who you can trust and who is credible, but who is also straight-talking. You need to know what’s going on with your company’s SEO strategy, so go for someone who can give you clarity.


Alarm bells should start ringing if your SEO provider promises you top rankings in a matter of days.

The truth is, SEO is a bit more complex than that. It usually takes a little while for any visible effect to take form. Make sure your SEO manager has a valid SEO strategy in place, targeting realistic commercial keywords, and focusing on the best interests of your online business.

Research the basics of good SEO practice so you have a better understanding of your strategy. This might enable you to take care of some of the simple stuff yourself, leaving your SEO manager to focus on the technical side. (And remember, SEO isn’t the only way to increase web traffic).


SEO contracts can vary based on price and contract length. By all means, do some shopping around – but remember that cheapest isn’t always the best. Hire an SEO that you can trust, otherwise they could potentially cause damage to your business’s online presence.


Be clear on what tasks (if any) are outsourced to other digital agencies or freelancers. It may not make much difference to the end result, but it’s good to know where your money is going. Make sure you have a good understanding of who does what before you part with your hard-earned cash.

Photo of Zein Marketings guest blogger Gareth Simpson.

Gareth Simpson – Technical SEO & Startup Founder

Gareth Simpson is an SEO pro with over a decade in the industry. He’s currently focusing his attention on blogger outreach and content marketing.