5 Tips Before Hiring an SEO Assistant

The Summary of Discussion 2: 5 Tips Before Hiring an SEO Virtual Assistants (VA)s or Contracting With
I posted a long time ago about being a complete novice to website building & Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I'm a Psychotherapist and just spent the last 18 months building my WordPress website whilst studying for my qualification. Zero knowledge or expertise πŸ™ˆ on any of it. It's been long and painful at times but also rewarding to learn some of this stuff. However, I do believe I'm at the point where I've reached my limit. Largely because I'm trying to index my site and now I'm hearing about HTML code and Google Search Console and it may as well be a foreign language πŸ˜ƒ. You all gave me some great advice last time on creating quality content which I've really focused on. I've done some Yoast stuff (I think) and really don't want to come across as sneaky asking for free advice. (Counsellors in the UK are badly exploited and I believe that you get what you pay for.) But! I need an expert to consult with who knows about optimising a website for local SEO for my sector in the UK but I've not idea where to start with that. Am I allowed to share my website so I can at least get an idea of whether it needs an overhaul, is ok but needs tweaking etc? Don't want to take the mickey on here and look like a free loader but I'm shooting on the dark (a lot 😬
Thank you.
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Mew πŸ‘‘πŸŽ©
Let me give you some insight as it pertains to contracting with someone or hiring an SEO, that way you don't end up in a situation in which you feel jaded or took advantage of, as that frequently happens in our industry.
1. Please remember the goal is never SEOSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) helps you get to your goal, but defining what your goal is will help you and your SEO of choice understand what are "Acceptable" milestones and Key Performance Indicators (KPI)s when working together. Is it more clients? To educate the community? Etc etc
2. Vet whoever you choose to work with extremely well. Ask them for examples of websites they have completed in your niche, that also meet similar goals, and for references. Without these two things, whatever they say, promise or suggest should be taken with a grain of salt.
3. See if said person/company has reviews. It's important to know how they resolve issues, treat their clients well and preform adequately in their soft-skills, outside of just being able to do Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This will prevent a lot of disagreements down the road if they know how to properly communicate.
4. When working with an SEO, try to understand what their methodologies are. Or in essence, are they more concerned with on-page authority building or off page. On page authority building keeps the authority in your corner and wheelhouse, where as of-page authority building gives the power to other websites through back-links and citational resources that at some point could be taken away.
5. Working with an SEO takes a lot of trust. You're putting your business's future in their hands. Make sure your principles align, and you feel a synergy. There's no sense in working with someone who you don't think you can build trust with. An SEO is your partner, and your resource for accomplishing your dreams – please do not take hiring one lightly.

Lisa ✍️ » Mew
Thanks so much for taking the time to give me this advice. It's food for thought and none of which I have even considered so far.
I really, really love Schieler's first point there. You can have all the traffic in the world but if they don't convert to paying clients, you have nothing. So before you EVEN BEGIN SEO, you need to make sure you're ready for that traffic. Are you? Post the link to your website, and we might be able to tell you – at least based on what we see.
Lisa ✍️ » Kathy
Counselling & Psychotherapy: Professional, ethical & confidential.
Counselling & Psychotherapy: Professional, ethical & confidential.
Lisa ✍️
I guess then that counselling & psychotherapy is not regulated in the UK. Anybody can use that title (shocking) so I'm wanting to provide ethical, accurate, quality info on the website. I also find websites for my sector which are sparse on info, full of dainty images meaningless quotes and false promises. I wanted the site to be professional and warm but not cheesy with some guidance on how to choose a counsellor and how I work.
I've tried to write rich and meaningful content which has led to using more complex sentences (as opposed to single clause, simple sentences) and vocabulary. But I'm getting crap scores on readability cos Yoast is saying my sentences are too long and the words are complicated. Seems a fine act to balance!
Mew πŸ‘‘πŸŽ© Β» Lisa
You can ignore readability in Yoast πŸ™‚
Lisa ✍️
Oh wowsers really… πŸ₯³πŸ₯³that sad red face on readability has ruined my last two days πŸ˜†
Lisa ✍️
Yes I want to attract clients but I'm a one man band so tonnes would be silly. However, my sector is saturated too. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈπŸ€·β€β™€οΈ
Marc Β» Mew
On point 2. What if a person is just starting with SEO and cannot show other websites
Mew πŸ‘‘πŸŽ© Β» Marc
Then in my opinion they have no business working on live accounts. Until you have ranked at least 10,000 pages, position 1-5 for terms that vary from 50 search volume to 50,000, you need not be selling services.
Marc Β» Mew
Fair enough, but how does a person gain experience without work
Mew πŸ‘‘πŸŽ© Β» Marc
Personal projects in the niches they plan to solicit services in, would be my recommendation.
Marc Β» Mew
Question for you. What would you suggest to small businesses that don't have huge budgets for SEO. What practical steps can they take.
Mew πŸ‘‘πŸŽ© Β» Marc
Focus on their Google My Businesses (GMB)
Make posts frequently. Get reviews daily. Upload before and after pictures, optimize all services and make sure you have an addressed location in the heart of your target city demographic
Marc Β» Mew
Thanks. The reason i ask, i deal with alot of small independents like plumbers, electricians, security companies. I always suggest to all to add reviews on their actual websites, to have a Google business listing. Many seem to feel that a website is some type of magical formula where they will get thousands of visitors just having a website.
Lisa ✍️ » Mew
Is this 'Google My Business'? (GMB
Mew πŸ‘‘πŸŽ© Β» Lisa
That's correct πŸ™‚
Castillo Β» Mew
Really great points. I'd also include, in this already solid list, that you should demand from your SEO of choice reporting that aligns with your goals. If your goals are to generate more revenue, then don't accept keyword rankings and traffic as metrics. Hold them accountable by having them provide reporting on revenue or potential revenue.
Let me explain what that *might* look like…
We don't report on revenue as accurately as we'd like. That's mostly because we can't integrate Google Analytics with clients accounting software, or because the client doesn't have a good way of tracking revenue according to source of acquisition for clients.
But how we report potential revenue is as follows:
1. We work closely with the client to determine, on average, how many inquiries are required for them to acquire a new client.
2. Different conversion actions can require more inquiries. Ie; it might take 6 inbound calls to get a new client, but only 4 form submissions to get a new client. We use this to determine the value of each conversion action.
3. We get an approximate lifetime value for a new client. This is where you the business owner need to know your numbers!
4. We divide the lifetime value of a new client by the number of inquiries required from each conversion action to assign a value to ONE of those inquiries. For example, if the lifetime value is $1,000 then one new inbound call would be assigned a value of $167 and one new form submission a value of $250 ($1000/6 and $1000/4 respectively).
5. We track those conversions in Google Analytics, assign those values to those conversion actions, and we provide a sum of those values to the client for each month.
With this type of reporting you can see the approximate amount of potential revenue you generated each month.
It's also worth noting that steps 1-5 are repeated quarterly to ensure we continue to track accurately. After all, if an SEO is generating quality traffic conversion rates and lead quality might improve over time.
The general goal of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to increase traffic, yes. But not all traffic is equal. So as your SEO continues to improve your website performance, traffic *numbers* aren't as important as revenue generated.
There was one time where a clients traffic went down, a result of Google changing how it prioritized content and it deprioritized the content of a page that was a big traffic generator, but interestingly enough revenue increased after that. Traffic went down, revenue went up.
Make sure your SEO is reporting on what really matters!


I agree with Mew
The most sad thing about SEO is that the people who really know stuff are very low key and are hardly found on social media because they are busy ranking websites.
However if you need some help shoot me a pm and I will be glad to help free of charge.
I know what you are going through and been there…
Lisa, before investing too much time and money into Search Engine Optimization (SEO), it might be an idea to check your localised search volumes for the primary keywords in your space. You can be #1 on Google, but if there is no real demand it's a pointless exercise. Are you in this for bragging rights about being "#1 on Google" or are you in it for the money? Generally, for businesses like yours, there are far more effective and profitable ways to promote your services. I'm not trying to discourage you. I'm telling you to confront reality.
Forgive me, what does "Don't want to take the mickey" mean?

Mew πŸ‘‘πŸŽ© Β» Cody
I believe it's British for making someone look foolish.
Cody Β» Mew
That's a new one for me. Haha. I love learning little snippets like that about other cultures/languages.
Mew πŸ‘‘πŸŽ© Β» Cody
I think it's like making someone look "Mickey Mouse" lol. I have heard that here in the states before.
It is common in Australia too, but most here will say 'taking the piss' instead.
Lisa ✍️ » Cody
Yes it means taking someone for a fool.
Lisa ✍️ » Matthew
I prefer 'taking the piss' and use this phrase very often. 'Piss' is a swear word in the UK though too so I didn't want to come across all sweary in my post lol.
Matthew Β» Lisa
I just learnt 'taking the mickey' is short for 'taking the Mickey Bliss', cockney slang for 'taking the piss. Mickey Bliss was a UK radio presenter. Interesting.
Lisa ✍️ » Matthew
Haha that's so obscure and funny. I never knew this at all.

In case you all missed it, Lisa posted her website in a nested thread above. Here it is:
Counselling & Psychotherapy: Professional, ethical & confidential.
Counselling & Psychotherapy: Professional, ethical & confidential.

Lisa ✍️ » Kathy
I've since cocked several things up on the header trying to reposition the logo! Should have left it alone lol.
You live and learn.
Kathy Β» Lisa
Go buy a theme! Seriously. Easy. And you'll get other benefits you need and are missing. They are basically ready to go. Beautiful. Functional. Just fill in the holes.
I'll make a couple of recommendations. Most will probably be on their phones. It's better there than on desktops. So the new theme can wait. But that will fix your header. First thing, everyone wants to know what's in it for them. What are they going to get out of it? What will their average day be like after working with you? Talk about that. Come up with a captivating headline that encapsulates that message. If you avoid I statements that will help reset your copy. All the text in your home page is really better for an about page.
Then a little technical recommendation. Left align your text. Centered text is harder to read and studies confirm that.
Those are just a couple of things you can do to get your site ready for traffic.
There are on page SEO things you should do for sure. I bet you will get lots of help on that in this group.
Lisa ✍️ » Kathy
Thanks for your advice! I've just been looking at the premium elementor ready to import websites. I use an Astra theme and got Astra Pro but have changed so much of it. I'd need to delete the current installation I think to be able to import one of these fancier looking builds. I've always wondered about this but haven't had the bottle to start over from scratch. But then I guess I've learned much more now and have written a lot of the copy which can be easily re typed. Yes the 'about sentio' page isn't much of a landing page. Needs another page! Thanks πŸ™πŸ»


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The Summary of Discussion 1: Some Tips Before Hiring an SEO Assistant
Does anyone have a good test that we can give before hiring an SEO person? Something to test their skill set. Would like to have a test to give them.
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Truslow 🎩
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is at least a much art as it is science. As such – a test can be difficult to gain much from. Whatever set of questions or tasks you prepare may or may not really be relevant to your circumstances. Depending upon the niche and your company goals and objectives, something that is absolutely critical for one scenario might be something we "do eventually, maybe" in another scenario.
Personally, I can't even take most SEO surveys and tests because I see them and want to shout, "That's not even the right question! How can I give a good answer!?!?"
Here's a pretty decent video that gives you some pointers and things to look for – as well as some questions to ask. It's a few years old now, but I just scanned through it (after having not watched it for a year or two) and there's no outdated info in there that I saw.
Rand points out a pretty important thing at the end that he doesn't get into a lot of detail about, too. So let me touch on that quickly.
"Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not for everyone"
This is true and very important. In order to drive the qualified traffic you need, a certain amount of groundwork must be laid and then a certain amount of time and energy must be invested on an ongoing basis. Even in an area where it's not particularly competitive, you're going to be looking at some numbers that you're going to have to pay. In order to justify that, you have to be able to have an expectation of gaining at least 5 times that (and preferably closer to 10 times that) in revenue (at least once the first 3-5 months have passed – there is a start up period). So if you have a $2k per month budget, by that 6th month you MUST be at least breaking even and also still have room to improve. By 8-10 months you need to definitely be at that "Digital Marketing Budget = 20% of Generated Revenue" number.
Quite frankly – some sites just don't have the real potential to do that. Making $3k per month on your site without SEO might make for a moderate income and you can be happy with that. But if you only have the capacity to increase that business to $4k per month before you start hitting back orders or otherwise unable to fulfill things – then a $1500 a month SEO budget ends up with you working $1k harder to fulfill the orders while taking in minus $500 per month in net revenue. That's not a good place to be.
In some cases, too – the market just may not be there – so you are more in need of developing product awareness and creating a need/desire/demand before trying to rank and drive traffic that doesn't yet exist.
In cases like these, you're probably better off just reading some best practices articles, maybe spending an hour with a consultant or coach who can help with some tips and procedures you can do to help out as part of what you're already doing – but having a full SEO budget would just be silly.
There's always an initial "investment" you need to make to do Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It covers laying the foundation and then 3-5 months of getting things starting to click. Sometimes laying that foundation can be expensive too – if the site isn't built on solid ground, you may need a lot of technical work done first – from cleaning up the code to even reworking the whole information architecture so that it makes sense. This is why I recommend having SEO and Digital Marketing involved at the time a site is developed – so it's built from the ground up to be going after the goals and being positioned to achieve them. It doesn't HAVE to be done that way, but I can't count the number of times we've said to a client, "We need to start by reworking almost everything on the site." To which they respond, "I just spent $8k getting this site built." And then we have to say, "That's unfortunate… but…"
Anyway – the point here is that after that initial investment, month 5 or 6 rolls around and you should be getting to the point where it's not costing you anything. Your $2k monthly budget is driving at least $2k in sales every month. You may not quite be MAKING any money yet… but you should be breaking even hopefully – or (in very competitive niches) be seeing strong indicators that you're on a path toward achieving it very soon. By month 9 or so… you need to be making some money for yourself AND covering the digital marketing/SEO plan. Again – the times can vary a bit… highly competitive markets can take a bit longer, but they also tend to stand potential for higher returns or they wouldn't be competitive.
So… give that video a look through. That should give you a bit of framework to work with.
How to choose an SEO company – Whiteboard Friday
For me, I would probably test an applicant based on his/her grasp of the day to day operations and company policy on certain tasks or projects . An SEO specialist may be good in all the SEO related tasks but sometimes they fail in company SOPs. Remember, that before an SEO specialist applied,he has already knowledge about the tasks but limited knowledge on the way you like things ti be done. Just my 2 cents as an SEO Proj Manager 😊😊
Wanda ✍️
Wait everyone. I don't want an audit. We have 50 sites and I do audits in 5 minutes using SEMrush. I want to test job applicants with sophisticated questions and see if they have answers before I hire them.
I presume you'd be looking at hiring this person full time for an agency?
100% agree with Pera above. Get them to do a trial morning, or as a second round of interview a group task with other applicants to see how they can work in a team.
As Revelyn said, just because they may have expertise (or a qualification), it doesn't mean that they're necessarily going to be brilliant, or a good fit for your company.
I don't know where you're based, but I know that here in the UK there's companies in specialise in group task interviews. Usually, the task has nothing to do with the job, but it's more a general test of keywork.
I've been to sessions before where they were talking about these, and they gave examples like having 45 minutes to build a paper airplane with limited material, and the one that would fly for the furthest wins. Or build a parachute for an egg in 45 mins, etc.
Obviously if your agency is remote, this is more challenging but I am sure there are still ways.
Some useful links:
6 Group Interview Activities to Boost Your Hiring

Wanda ✍️
Thank you, and, all of that aside, I just want to ensure an advanced skill set before a hire and teamwork and all of that.
GellΓ©rt Β» Wanda
Do you have an existing SEO team? or an SEO team leader?
What about getting them to write a list of questions?
Wanda ✍️
Yes, we are going to have to do it inhouse as there are not any good ones online.


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