Google’s John Mueller seeks advice on hiring SEO consultants
7 mins read

Google’s John Mueller seeks advice on hiring SEO consultants

Google search proponent John Mueller took to Twitter for advice on what to consider when hiring an SEO consultant.

He asked the question on behalf of an animal park operator, noting that a local SEO consultant was needed to improve their online presence.

“Anyone have any recommendations on people/companies and things to look for when making selections?” Mueller asked in his tweet“How do you separate the serious from the less serious?”

Here’s a glimpse of the conversation that followed, including a set of insights on what to look for when hiring SEO professionals.

Cost considerations in SEO consulting

One of the responses to Mueller’s tweet highlighted the cost-sensitive nature of SEO consulting.

Kris Roadruck emphasized that most low-budget on-premises SEO services that charge less than $1,000 per month are “shop stores” that offer minimal service.

He claims that these services follow a generic formula and warns that this is the level of quality companies can expect if they don’t expand their budgets.

road jerk conditions:

“Unfortunately, this is budget-sensitive. Almost all people doing low budget local SEO (under $1000/month) are chop shops who actually do very little and simply follow a general formula run by underpaid people. Unfortunately, this is the price range most local businesses can afford unless they are lawyers, dentists or some other high quality service business.”

“That’s painfully true,” he said in a reply to his tweet.

Look for experienced SEO agencies

Isaline Muelhauser responded to Mueller’s tweet by suggesting that a local agency might be a helpful resource.

She highlights The advantages of working with an agency operating in the same region as the company that needs local SEO services:

“Choose someone who has experimented with local SEO and understands the local market.
For example, for local SEO, we often only manage the multilingualism to a limited extent [monthly search volume].
The zoo owner should feel that their business is understood and not given a general pitch deck.”

To that end, it helps to make sure the agency you hire is familiar with the tools of the trade.

A person known on Twitter by the alias SEOGoddess conditions:

“If the local SEO company knows what @yext or @RenderSeo is, then that’s the first step in trusting that they know what they’re doing. From there, it’s all about designing a good strategy and knowing how to help execute it.”

Findings from the Twitter exchange

The Twitter thread sparked mixed reactions. However, these key themes remained unexplored:

  • Specific criteria or red flags to look out for when evaluating potential SEO consultants.
  • Concrete examples or case studies that illustrate successful SEO strategies (bonus points for businesses like a zoo).

To fill these gaps, let’s look at a successful SEO strategy for a local animal-related business.

The most relevant case study I could find came from Step 5 Creative, who performed local SEO services for Deer Grove Animal Hospital in Illinois.

This case study shows what is part of a comprehensive SEO approach and what you should expect from an experienced agency.

Insights from a successful SEO strategy

The first step in Step 5’s SEO campaign was a thorough onboarding process that included:

  • Creating meta titles and descriptions
  • Conducting a URL audit
  • Ensuring a mobile-friendly website
  • Set up the right page structures
  • Internal navigation audit
  • Implementation of local structured business data.

The above steps aim to improve a website’s visibility for both human visitors and search engine bots.

The Step 5 strategy also included ensuring the business was listed in local online directories and had a complete Google business profile.

Re-evaluating the keywords was another crucial step. The team monitored click-through rates and positions for targeted keywords and adjusted their strategy accordingly.

The team conducted extensive keyword research and experimented with different variations of keywords to see which produced better results.

Reviewing the Veterinary Clinic’s traffic capture report and bounce rate helped the creative team at Step 5 understand where visitors were coming from and how they were interacting with the site. Using this information, they were able to improve the user experience and encourage better traffic flow.

Finally, the team underscores the need for continuous updates for long-term success. This relates to the earlier point of working with an SEO consultant who is committed to staying current on best practices.

Criteria and warning signals in SEO consulting

In the complex SEO world, it’s important to differentiate between “serious” and “less serious” consultants.

Reputable consultants attach great importance to understanding your company, your industry and your specific needs.

In contrast, less reputable advisors may offer general services that are not tailored to your individual needs.

Here are additional criteria to consider and red flags to look out for when hiring an SEO professional:

  • Tailored strategy: A reputable SEO consultant will take the time to understand your business, its goals and challenges, and design a customized SEO strategy accordingly.
    • A consultant offering a one-size-fits-all solution without understanding your needs could be a red flag.
  • Transparency: Reputable SEO consultants are open about their methods and strategies and can explain them in terms you can understand.
    • Beware of advisors who promise instant results or confuse you with technical jargon.
  • Track record: Look for consultants with a proven track record. You should be able to provide case studies or references from previous clients.
    • Take this as a red flag when a consultant is unwilling or unable to demonstrate success.
  • Continuous Learning: SEO is an ever-changing field. Reputable consultants stay up to date with the latest SEO trends and algorithm changes.
    • Be wary of advisors who rely on outdated practices.
  • Ethical Practices: A reputable SEO consultant will adhere to ethical SEO practices, often referred to as “white hat SEO”.
    • Avoid consultants who propose or employ unethical practices known as “Black Hat SEO” such as: B. Keyword stuffing or hidden text.

In total

The Twitter conversation initiated by Google’s John Mueller provided valuable insights into what to consider when choosing an SEO professional.

Cost shouldn’t be the only factor, as low-budget services often deliver minimal results.

Instead, prioritize experienced SEO agencies that understand the local market and have a track record of success.

Look for consultants who are knowledgeable about industry tools and can develop a customized strategy that fits your organization’s needs.

Other key factors include transparency, a proven track record, continuous learning and adherence to ethical practices.

By following these guidelines, you can make an informed decision when hiring an SEO consultant that will help your business thrive in the digital landscape.


Featured image created by the author using Midjourney.