How to hire the best SEO expert

So, you’ve got a website to show off your products or services, but customers don’t know you exist and aren’t aware of how you can help them.

That’s where search engine optimisation (SEO) can help your business website get found. 

Ok, yeah, that’s great and all, but you’re probably wondering how do you even do SEO? Where do you even begin in making your website show up for relevant searches online from customers?

By hiring an SEO expert to do the work for you. 

You know as well as I do that running a business or the entire marketing for a brand is HARD WORK. And any way streamline your workload to keep your workload unharmed is a no brainer.

You find yourself saying, “there’s not enough time in the day,” every single day. With that lack of time, where do you expect you’ll fit in learning about SEO and then doing the SEO too?

This is why most business owners or marketing managers outsource their SEO marketing to a freelance SEO expert.

SEO is well worth the investment, especially if you’re looking to turn your website into a full time selling machine that gets lots of customers visiting every day.

Keep reading to see how to find and hire the right SEO freelancer, consultant or agency.

A guide to hiring a quality SEO expert

Here’s your guide to hiring the best SEO expert for your business. From how to go about finding SEO experts through to the telltale signs of a quality SEO freelancer, agency or consultant.

How do I find an SEO expert?

The best SEO freelancers - Finding the best SEO expert Google them

Search online! It’s literally the best way to put any SEO freelancer or agency to the test. 

If they show up high in your search, then that’s a great first sign that they know their stuff about SEO.

However, don’t hire the first SEO agency, expert or consultant you see – make sure you spend time reading through their content.

The reason I say this is that there are some SEO agencies out there who play SEO. They rank high through creating long form blog posts, but actually, that content is poorly written and their SEO methods are only focused on ranking rather than the most important part of SEO – customer experience.

Take my word for it. Ranking is key, but what matters most is what the user does once they land on your website. You want the content they land on to be helpful to your customers and keep them on your website or turn them into a customer.

How to identify the best SEO experts

When buying a product or hiring a tradesperson, you always look for those signs that it’s a good purchase or hire. It’s no different with hiring an SEO professional.

Here’s the typical telltales of a good SEO professional:

Talk of user experience (UX) 

They should mention about creating a great user experience on your website. That’s what we SEOs care about most. When your website ranks, we want the user to stay as long as possible, enjoy your website content, and hopefully convert!

They ask about your goals, but more importantly, who your customers are

The best SEO pros will be heavily focused on what you know about your customers. Your goals are important, but to achieve your goals, the SEO strategy needs to align to your customers’ needs. 

Knowing your customers gives you a huge advantage to succeed with SEO.

The keywords they want to rank you for are relevant to your business, and their data shows customers are searching for the keywords

You can rank for any keywords, especially keywords that are super specific and no one is actually searching that keyword. You want to rank for keywords that will bring people to your website. 

SEO is only effective if you’re looking to rank for keywords that are relevant to your business and are what customers actually search to find businesses like yours.

A bonus point for them if they talk to you about creating content to match the intent of the keywords. Essentially, a keyword can have multiple meanings or intentions from the person searching. You want to make sure that when they talk about the keyword intent that it aligns with your customers and business goal. 

For example, if you’re an online shop you may target ‘commercial’ keywords. Or, if you’re looking to write advisory blogs you may look for more informational keywords. They should be able to explain the strategy behind the keywords you’re targeting. 

Transparent about SEO and their process

The best SEOs will never guarantee results – they can’t, it’s all in the search engine’s virtual hands as to which websites rank and which don’t make the cut. 

All the SEO expert can do is execute their SEO strategy using the ‘best practices’ of SEO.

And with that, an SEO should be happy to explain their SEO process and why they’re doing it. 

Focused on website content 

There’s no SEO without website content creation and optimisation. They should have a plan for creating new content for your website and optimising any existing content you have. 

Provides regular reporting and analytics

Data is an SEOs best friend. Without it, they can’t keep themselves accountable, or worse, report on your SEO progress and results.

Regular reporting is a must in any SEO strategy. And that report should help the SEO align on their focus for the short or long term future.

Good communications

Always happy to answer your questions and always contactable. Whether it’s WhatsApp, email or a regular phone call, having these open conversation channels is important throughout the SEO journey.

They’re focused on the long term

SEO is an ongoing process, so it’s quite likely that your new freelance SEO buddy will be working with you for years not months. They will emphasise that you need patience and will not promise quick fixes or overnight success. If they do, that’s a huge red flag. 

They are not cheap

There is so much work that goes into an SEO strategy. There’s reporting and data, keyword research, content planning, content creation and technical optimisation of your website. All this is hours of work every month.

Expect to budget anywhere from £500 – £2,500+ per month for a decent SEO

Every SEO plan is different, so costs vary. But if you want the whole hog, you need to pay up and invest. 

Any SEO quoting £100 per month, avoid like the plague. 

Check out our SEO cost guide to see how much SEO is from agencies and freelancers.

They have great reviews about their SEO, and can show you results of past work

Check out their reviews, see if people mention their SEO specifically. And ask them for past results they’ve achieved for clients. 

You should be able to see winning SEO case studies they have, like our SEO case study for our London based nursery, Lucky Beans.

What’s the difference between an SEO agency, consultant and freelancer?

These are the typical differences between the three options:

SEO freelancer

Freelancers may have specialist areas they focus on in the SEO process. However, you’ll likely be working with an SEO freelancers who can come up with your strategy and do all the planning, keyword research and technical optimisations on your website.

Other freelance SEOs are copywriters, which means they can not only do all the SEO research, but they can create new SEO copy for your website. 


An SEO consultant typically takes a more strategic role. They will advise you and oversee your project. They may have experts to call upon to do the SEO work, like SEO content.

An SEO consultant is also a great choice of hire if you have a content team in-house and need an experienced SEO to guide your writers.


Agencies usually offer a broader service beyond SEO. They’ll have a broader team available; an account manager, copywriters, SEO execs, web developers and designers.

Agencies will likely have a specialism, and it may not be SEO. It’s worth discussing this with them!

Which type of SEO expert should I hire?

It largely depends on your budget and how much SEO support you need.

SEO consultants will advise you, lead your strategy and orchestrate your SEO workflow. However, they’re expensive and usually charge an hourly rate: anywhere from £70 – £200 per hour. 

SEO freelancers, similar to consultants, can lead the entirety of your SEO project. From keyword research through to technical website optimisations. Some freelancers can take on all your SEO copywriting too. They’re typically a more cost effective option to consultants, but a healthy budget still needed; around £500 – £1,500.

SEO agencies will offer you everything. Be warned, quality SEO agencies will be the most expensive option, anywhere from £1,000 – £5,000, depending on your location and how much work you need.

Could we be the right SEO freelancer for you? 

At TJ Creative, we provide a full service SEO strategy, which means we do strategy, keyword research, reporting, technical optimisation and SEO content creation. 

I’m also around to provide consultancy services too if you only require strategy and SEO or content advice.

FAQs about SEO for business

How long does it take SEO to kick in?

Your website should start getting crawled by Google pretty quickly. However, it can take time for a website to get indexed (showing up in Google search). We usually expect this to happen within 3 months. 

The aim is to start seeing traffic coming in from your SEO efforts by ranking on page 1, and ideally, top 3 results. This can be achieved by 6 months. It all depends on how competitive the keywords are that you’re targeting.

Is paying someone to do SEO worth it?

Paying an expert to do your SEO is a wise investment. It means you’re not left trying to learn SEO, or trying to find to do the SEO, or guessing you’re doing the right things with your website. 

You need to make sure you hire a quality SEO. Otherwise, if you hire someone who isn’t experienced or knowledgeable with SEO then it will drain your budget with no return. 

Does SEO matter anymore?

Yes SEO matters. Without SEO, how do you expect your website to get discovered by your customers? 

There are around 60 billion separate web pages indexed by Google alone. That’s a lot of websites and content. 

Is SEO worth it for small businesses?

SEO can help small businesses to compete with the biggest brands in your sector.

For any size business, SEO is one of the best marketing tactics when it comes to return on investment. The entirety of the internet is geared towards SEO practices. 

The algorithms that guide SERPs prioritise those web pages that take keyword strategies into account. When you have no other reputation to bank on, your number one bet is SEO keeping you on the best results page possible.

SEO will help your small business website build authority online through your SEO and content. Bigger brands may be putting more money into other forms of advertising, advertising you may not be able to afford, but SEO is a more affordable option with huge ROI potential. 

Is SEO better than paid ads?

SEO and paid ads seem like they’re in competition. However, one isn’t better than the other. They’re just best used for different business goals. They can also be used well together. 

Paid ads can instantly drive traffic to your website, at a higher cost.

SEO is a longer term investment, driving traffic to your website in 3 months. Although more patience is needed, there’s more longevity with SEO.

For more information on how SEO works compared to paid ads, you can check out our blog post on deciding which is best for your business. 

SEO vs PPC what's better for your business

Still got SEO questions? 

Drop me an email with your questions, more than happy to help!

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