Google has shared a three-step guide on hiring an SEO for companies who are doing it for the first time. This suggestion was offered in Google’s latest episode of Search for Beginners on YouTube. It is an extended version of the advice offered in the earlier episode.

The advantage of hiring an SEO, according to Google is the potential for enhancing a website and saving time which you would otherwise devote to doing on your own. However, Google has also warned that hiring an SEO comes with the risk of a damaging, not just a website, but also the reputation of a company. Google offers a three-step process for hiring an SEO. These steps include

  • Interview
  • A reference check
  • A technical audit

These steps are explained below.

Step One: Interview

While interviewing an SEO professional to work on your website, Google suggests listening to ensure that they focus on the right things. For instance, the SEO professional should focus on helping a company by improving the way their site appears in search results. Focused only on rankings and SERP results is a red flag, according to Google. It is a positive sign if the candidate asks you questions like-

  • What makes your company and services stand out?
  • How does your ideal customer look like?
  • How do customers find your site at present?
  • How is your business making money(and how can search help you in that)
  • What marketing channels are you using?
  • Do you utilize social media or offline advertising?
  • Who are your competitors? Are they doing well?

If you are interviewing a candidate who is not interested in your business, consider it a red flag. If you are faced with such a situation, Google suggests that you hire someone else. Another red flag is unrealistic guarantees of ranking on Google’s first page since no one can offer such a guarantee.

Step Two: Cross-Checking References

The next step of the hiring process, suggested by Google is a reference check of the candidate’s past clients. While checking references, Google recommends that you should ask questions to find out how useful the guidance of the SEO professional was. Ask whether the results were sustainable.

A positive trait of a competent SEO professional, according to Google, is his ability to help make SEO an integral part of a company’s business operations. When you talk to past clients, find out whether the SEO focused on their long-term plans rather than quick fixes.

Step Three: Technical Audit

Once you have checked the references and have shortlisted some candidates, conduct a technical audit. The candidate should offer a prioritized list of what needs to be improved to make your website more search-friendly. His suggestions should be backed by data he has collected during the audit and should be implemented to offer a better experience to people visiting your site.

The SEO should be able to calculate the overall investment needed by the company and the positive impact that such an investment will help to achieve.

What should you do after hiring an SEO?

Google also offers some advice on what you should do after hiring an SEO professional. Before starting work, discuss the goals, metrics, and the way results will be tracked. Google states that you should have a clear idea of what you are going to get out of hiring the SEO right from the beginning.


Navneet Kaushal is the Editor-in-Chief of PageTraffic Buzz. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet is also the CEO of SEO Services company PageTraffic which is one of the leading search marketing company in Asia.