How to Hire an SEO Expert – A Guide for Startups and Small Companies 2023
SEO plays an important role in all kinds of businesses, whether you’re running a one-person band, partnership, limited company, or you’re a freelancer. Of course, SEO also has a part to play in corporations, but the requirements for this type of organization aren’t usually the same.
In this article, we will concentrate on businesses other than corporations because the requirements for an SEO expert are very different. You don’t want an expert who is willing to tow the company line.
Instead, you want an expert who thinks out of the box and isn’t tied to procedures, policies, and processes. They need to be someone who is prepared to take risks when it comes to something they feel passionate about.
In a startup, you need someone who can achieve results. They’re not bogged down by attending endless meetings and don’t have to wait months for various types of approval.
They don’t spend hours sipping coffee with their workmates and get nothing done. They won’t be process followers or Google guideline preachers.
The ideal SEO agency or specialist for an upcoming business, whatever its size, shape, and form, is someone who has hands-on experience, and can produce statistics, figures, and case studies that back up their expertise.
You need someone who has a vision, energy, and drive to take action and achieve the right goals for your business. In addition, they should have a fire in their belly, a passion for SEO, and not be afraid to act on their own initiative to make things happen.
Rather than the security and regular salary afforded by an SEO role in a corporation, they’ll be looking for opportunities to expand their portfolio and showcase examples of how they’ve helped specific businesses grow.
If this is the kind of person you’re looking for, keep reading for some tips on how to hire an SEO expert for a startup.
Can You Hire an SEO Specialist Remotely?
If you open the doors for a remote SEO agency or specialist, you’re giving yourself much more choice and the opportunity to save money. This could be key if you’re a startup company.
Imagine your startup is located in one of the many large cities around the world, for example, New York, London, Singapore, or San Francisco. You can expect an SEO agency or specialist to be very expensive.
Open your recruitment net much wider, and you’ll be able to find an experienced SEO expert anywhere else in the world. There are highly trained, passionate, and experienced people in Bulgaria, Poland, Ukraine, Serbia, Thailand, India, and China, for example. SEO specialists in these countries will be much cheaper and just as competent, if not better.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire an SEO Expert?
The cost of an SEO expert varies, depending on where they’re based. Let’s take a quick look at some of the average salaries for SEO experts in various locations.
- San Francisco: $71,378 per annum
- New York: $57,538 per annum
- London: £37,394 per annum (equivalent to $51, 749)
- Singapore: SGD 3K per month (equivalent to $26,881 per annum)
- Melbourne: A$79,999 per annum (equivalent to $58,596)
- China: CN¥4,354 per month (equivalent to $8,112 per annum)
- Thailand: THB 50K per month (equivalent to $18,240 per annum)
- India: ₹20,349 per month (equivalent to $3312 per annum)
- Bulgaria: BGN 2K per month (equivalent to $14,484 per annum)
- Romania: RON 4K per month (equivalent to $11460 per annum)
- Poland: PLN 6K per month (equivalent to $18,648 per annum)
- Ukraine: UAH 15K per month (equivalent to (6,828 per annum)
As you can see from these figures, there’s quite a wide range of salaries depending on where the expert is located.
What Skills Do You Want in Your SEO Specialist?
SEO professionals can come from a variety of different backgrounds. It could be programming, digital marketing agency, professional SEO services, and even entrepreneurs.
They could also come from an experienced SEO company. Whatever the background, there are specific skills you should be looking for when you’re hiring an SEO provider.
Experienced SEO specialist will have their own set of skills, but in addition, they’ll also be adept at using a variety of tools. There are many available to help the best SEO experts including link-building packages, SEO keyword tools, monitoring and reporting tools, analytics, and identification tools.
The list of skills isn’t an exhaustive one, and there are probably successful SEO specialists that only possess a few. Nevertheless, it’s good to have something to base your decision on, especially if you’ve never needed to hire such an expert before.
- Drive: SEO and digital marketing, in general, isn’t the kind of job you can leave at the office every night. They, therefore, need a drive that forces them to keep learning because, in the world of SEO, there’s always something new to learn.
- Motivation: At the top of your potential candidate list, make sure you include those who have their own side project websites or who have created their own tools to solve their problems.
- Vision: An SEO expert needs to be clear on what they need to achieve and how best to meet the goals.
- Risk-taker: SEO is a very competitive industry, so your expert should be prepared to take risks and stick their neck on the line to achieve their goals.
- Doer: Rather than just talking about what needs to be done, they’re prepared to get their hands dirty, be proactive, and put their neck on the line for what they believe is right.
- Strategy Thinker: A strategy thinker is someone who can be there at the beginning of a process and see it through until the end. They don’t need to be told what to do because they’re capable of making their own decisions.
- Analyst: An SEO pro should have an analytical mind that can differentiate between correlation and causation. They should be able to look at data and understand the “3 What’s”: What happened, why it happened, and what can be done about it.
- Responsibility: An SEO professional is prepared to take responsibility for the choices they make, whether they turn out to be the right or the wrong ones.
- Research Minded: An SEO expert should be able to engage in competitor research and figure out what’s working or not working for a company’s chief rivals. Keyword research also has a crucial role to play. Unfortunately, there is no standard SEO formula, despite what Google tries to tell you.
- Flexibility: Flexibility or adaptability are also essential skills because the industry is constantly changing, and different businesses require specific things. There’s also no one size fits all solution for Search Engine Optimization.
- Prioritization: This skill is vital for the successful running of a local and organic SEO campaign. An SEO expert should understand the steps that must be taken and which should be prioritized according to importance and difficulty.
- Management: An Search Engine Optimization expert might find themselves working with a team of people, so they need to manage them successfully and ensure everyone is on the same page and heading towards the same goals.
- Hiring skills: An SEO senior expert may need to hire other SEO specialists such as content marketing writers, link builders, and technical SEO specialists to help with the SEO campaign. They will need to know what to look for when hiring new members of the SEO team.
Where to Hire an SEO Freelancer
If you want your startup or business to be more competitive, you need the services of an SEO freelancer, but where should you look for such a valuable component of your business?
Some of the best places to look for a potential SEO candidate include:
Job boards can be an excellent source of Search Engine Optimization talent. Looking here saves you lots of time and effort because the most popular boards vet all freelancers in their database.
Some of the most popular job boards are:
- Pro Blogger
Social Media and other Marketing Communities
Social media now plays a vital role in the recruitment process. For many businesses, it’s an excellent place to source top talent. Make sure you check out social media platforms such as:
When posting your requirements, make sure you use a relevant hashtag such as #SEOfreelancers.
There are also other communities such as:
- B2B Bloggers Facebook group
- Traffic think slack tank group
Some very competent and good SEO experts have their own blogs. Do some research and see if you can find someone you like.
Tim Soulo is an excellent example of how a freelance blogger can work for your company. He was noticed by a well-known company called Ahrefs and is now head of digital marketing for this company, as well as an award-winning blogger.
Freelance platforms such as Upwork, Freelancer, Guru, and People Per Hour are freelance marketplaces for professionals. The only difficulty with these platforms is that you could find yourself having to sift through hundreds of profiles before you find the right one.
Look who ranks in Google
A freelance SEO specialist will generally have a website where they showcase their SEO work. If they’re as good as they say they are, these websites should rank high on Google if you use the right keywords. In the search engine, type the keywords: SEO freelancer, SEO consultant, or SEO marketer.
If you want one who’s based near you, simply google “SEO freelancer + your area,” and it will pull up the results of the best freelancers near you.
However, the chances are that these people will have a small business of their own, and you might find it hard to recruit them full-time.
What could you do to tempt them to come and work for you?
Promise they’ll have:
- A budget to achieve results
- The resources and people needed
- The freedom to do what is necessary
Why do Most People Hate Their Jobs in the Corporate World?
The reasons tend to vary from person to person. However, there are some common reasons, including:
- The corporate world is fake: People tend to be in it for themselves, tend not to be sincere, and typically can’t be trusted.
- You’re just a cog in a wheel: You’re just an asset that the people at the top of the ladder are using to make themselves richer.
- Too many deadlines, processes, and procedures: Too much time is spent following processes and procedures, always focusing on a deadline.
- Very little freedom: There is no freedom in the corporate world. You’re not encouraged to think for yourself, just follow orders.
You might be interested to check those related posts as well:
- 159 Important SEO Stats 2023 [Facts and Trends]
- Creating the Best SEO Strategy in 2023 [Detailed Guide]
- SEO Copywriting Guide 2023 [Improve your Website Today]
Here are some common questions asked by people looking to hire an SEO specialist.
Can you do SEO yourself?
The quick and simple answer is yes, you can. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should.
There’s a lot you’d need to understand, such as coding, content creation, SEO strategy, backlink building, lead generation, SEO trends, website SEO traffic, market and keyword research, SEO marketing, and public relations.
There’s nothing wrong with learning the basic SEO principles, but you probably don’t have the time to learn everything you need to know.
Should I hire someone to do my SEO?
If you want to enjoy long-term success, you’re far better off hiring an SEO expert or using an SEO service. They’ll have the knowledge, experience, drive, and passion for doing the best for your business.
In addition, an SEO expert will help drive more organic traffic to your website by improving your SEO ranking. You’ll get a great return on your SEO firm investment because you’ll start seeing results almost immediately.
Why is SEO expensive?
Basically, there are three reasons why SEO is so expensive.
- It takes time to show results. You won’t see results overnight. It takes time for effective SEO techniques to work effectively and start improving your ranking. The person you hire will work on your campaign continuously to improve and maintain your rankings.
- A lot of work is involved in creating an SEO package. It starts with a review of your website and an understanding of your product or service. An SEO audit then needs to be done, which will require resources to analyze the data and understand the position of your site. Then there’s keyword ranking and research and integration.
- The SEO expert will take the time to find the best keywords for your website and then integrate them into the pages. The backend of your site has to undergo improvements. This involves cleaning up code, improving the speed of the pages, integrating responsive design, and much more.
Finally, your site has to be optimized for local SEO because you want to reach local customers too.