Why You Should Hire an SEO Consultant

A graph of Google Search Console data showing an increase when you hire an SEO consultant.

Hiring an SEO consultant can be quite a big investment. But that last word is the most important — it’s an investment, not an expense.

In this article, I’ll outline why hiring an SEO consultant might be the right choice for your website. I’ll talk about everything an SEO consultant will (and won’t do) for your business, and I’ll talk about the key signs it’s time to hire one.

I’ll also go through the differences between hiring an SEO consultant vs an SEO agency, and I’ll provide guidance on when it might not be the right time to hire a consultant.

What Can an SEO Consultant Do for Your Business?

An SEO consultant can significantly contribute to enhancing your online visibility in various ways:

Improve Search Engine Rankings

The primary goal of SEO is to improve your website’s rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). An SEO consultant will typically conduct in-depth keyword research and optimise your website’s content to help it rank higher for relevant search queries. This increased visibility can lead to more organic traffic and potential customers finding your business online.

But a good SEO consultant won’t just throw a list of new keywords at you — they’ll ideally go through your existing keywords first. All too often an SEO consultant will rely on tools to provide keywords a business should be targeting without first understanding where you’re already doing well in the SERPs, and where some optimisation of your existing content could actually give you big wins.

Targeted Traffic

Driving traffic to your website is crucial, but it’s equally important to attract the right audience — those who are genuinely interested in your products or services.

An SEO consultant can help you target specific keywords and phrases that align with your business offerings, ensuring that the visitors coming to your site are more likely to convert into customers, buy the products you talk about, or any other important conversion action you want them to take.

Better UX

User experience (UX) is a critical part of any modern website, and it can affect your rankings too. This takes into account everything from how fast your website loads to how it functions on mobile devices.

With the majority of internet users accessing websites on mobile devices, optimising your site for mobile is essential. Slow load speeds can drastically affect conversion rates, so this really is not something you want to neglect.

Quality Content Strategy

SEO consultants can help you develop a content strategy that includes creating high-quality, informative, and engaging content. This not only attracts visitors to your website, but it also helps position your business as an authority in your field.

Link Building

SEO consultants can also help you build a profile of quality backlinks, demonstrating to search engines that your website is a trustworthy source of information. This can improve your search rankings, as links have long been an important ranking factor.

Analytics & Reporting

SEO consultants use various analytics tools to provide you with detailed reports on your website’s performance. You can track metrics including organic traffic numbers, keyword rankings, and conversion rates, allowing you to assess the return on your SEO investment.

An SEO consultant can be a valuable asset for your business by improving your online presence, establishing authority, adapting to algorithm changes, and delivering measurable results. Their expertise and experience in the ever-evolving field of SEO can help your business thrive in the competitive digital landscape.

An SEO consultant will be able to do a lot of things to help you improve your website (including some I haven’t mentioned here). But they won’t do everything for you. Below are some things an SEO consultant (including me) won’t always do for you (although obviously some consultants will do these things).

What an SEO Consultant Does Not (Always) Do

Web Development

SEO consultants are not web developers or designers. While they may offer suggestions for improving the technical aspects of your website for SEO purposes, such as optimising page load speed or fixing broken links, they typically do not perform hands-on web development tasks.

Content Creation

While SEO consultants can provide guidance on content strategy and keyword optimisation, they are not responsible for actually creating content for your website. Content creation, including writing blog posts, articles, or product descriptions, usually falls under the domain of content creators, copywriters, or in-house marketing teams.

Paid Advertising (PPC)

SEO consultants specialise in organic search engine optimisation, which focuses on improving your website’s visibility in unpaid (organic) search results. They do not typically manage paid advertising campaigns, such as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising through platforms like Google Ads.

This is one of the more common services offered by SEO agencies that go beyond pure organic optimisation. More on that in a later section of this article.

Social Media Management

Managing social media accounts and creating social media content is a separate aspect of digital marketing. While SEO and social media strategies can complement each other, SEO consultants are not social media managers. You may need a dedicated social media team or manager for this role.

Website Hosting & Technical Support

SEO consultants are not responsible for managing your website hosting or providing technical support for hosting-related issues. These tasks are typically handled by web hosting providers or IT professionals.

Ecommerce Platform Management

If you run an ecommerce website, tasks related to the management of your ecommerce platform, including product listings, inventory management, and payment processing, are typically outside the scope of SEO consulting services.

Graphic Design

SEO consultants do not typically perform graphic design tasks. Creating graphics, images, logos, or other visual elements for your website or marketing materials is the work of graphic designers.

Legal & Compliance Matters

SEO consultants are not legal experts and do not provide legal advice. Dealing with legal issues, such as copyright infringement, privacy policies, or terms of service, is a separate domain that may require legal counsel.

Business Strategy & Management

While SEO consultants can provide recommendations to improve your online presence, they do not generally provide overarching business strategy or management consulting services. These aspects are usually handled by business consultants or strategists.

So, you know what a consultant will and won’t do. But how much will it cost?

How Much Does an SEO Consultant Cost?

The cost of hiring an SEO consultant can vary a lot depending on a wide range of different factors. SEO consulting fees are typically determined by the consultant’s level of expertise, the scope of work required, the complexity of your website and industry, and the geographic location of the consultant.

Longer-term contracts or ongoing consulting relationships may result in lower hourly or monthly rates compared to one-off projects. The cost may also depend on the specific services you require. For example, if you need comprehensive SEO strategy development, technical SEO improvements, content creation, and ongoing monitoring, the total cost will be higher than if you only need a site audit.

It also depends on how the consultant decides to charge for their services.

Hourly Rates

Many SEO consultants charge by the hour. Hourly rates can range from $50 to $300 or more per hour, depending on the consultant’s experience and reputation (indeed it can go beyond $500 at the top level).

Monthly Retainer

Some SEO consultants may work on a monthly retainer basis. This means you pay a fixed monthly fee for their services. Retainer fees can range from $500 to several thousand dollars per month. The specific amount depends on the extent of the SEO services provided and the competitiveness of your industry.

Project-Based Pricing

For specific SEO projects, such as conducting a site audit, keyword research, or implementing technical SEO changes, consultants may offer project-based pricing. These projects can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, depending on the complexity and scope of the project.

Performance-Based Pricing

In some cases, SEO consultants may offer performance-based pricing, where their fees are tied to specific outcomes, such as achieving a certain level of improvement in search rankings or an increase in organic traffic. However, performance-based pricing is less common due to the unpredictable nature of SEO results.

Warning: Performance-based SEO is a risky investment. Some agencies will pick the keywords for you, and then only take payment when they rank for them. This means the keywords they choose may be of little value to your business, but it looks like they have improved your site. Be cautious about working with company that ‘guarantees’ results!

It’s important to note that the cost of hiring an SEO consultant should be considered an investment in your business’s online presence and growth. While it’s tempting to choose the lowest-priced option, it’s crucial to evaluate the consultant’s qualifications, experience, and the potential return on investment (ROI) they can deliver.

Next, I’ll discuss whether you should hire an SEO agency or a consultant.

Hiring an SEO Consultant vs Agency

When it comes to improving your website’s search engine visibility and overall online presence, you have two primary options: hiring an SEO consultant or working with an SEO agency. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between the two depends on your specific needs, budget, and preferences.

SEO Consultant

Personalised Attention

Pros: An SEO consultant typically offers more personalised and one-on-one attention to your project. They can tailor their services to your specific business needs and goals.

Cons: The consultant’s capacity and availability may be limited, which can affect the speed of execution on larger projects.

Expertise & Specialisation

Pros: SEO consultants often have a deep level of expertise in SEO, and you can choose a consultant with a specialisation that aligns with your industry or objectives.

Cons: Their expertise might be limited to specific areas of SEO, which means you may need to hire multiple consultants for different aspects of your site’s SEO.


Pros: Hiring a consultant can often be cost-effective, especially for smaller businesses with specific SEO needs. You pay for only the services you require.

Cons: High-demand consultants with a strong track record can charge premium rates, which might be beyond the budget of some businesses.


Pros: You have the flexibility to work on a project-by-project basis, and you can easily switch consultants if you’re not satisfied with the results.

Cons: Continuity might be a challenge if you frequently switch consultants, and it may take time for a new consultant to fully understand your business.

SEO Agency

Team of Specialists

Pros: SEO agencies typically have a team of specialists with diverse skills, including technical SEO, content creation, and link building. This means you could have access a broader range of services.

Cons: Communication with a larger team can sometimes be less personalised, and you may only have a designated account manager as your main point of contact.


Pros: Agencies are often better equipped to handle larger and more complex projects. They can scale their services to match your business’s growth.

Cons: Some agencies may have a minimum retainer or contract duration, which might not be suitable for very small businesses or short-term projects.

Resources & Tools

Pros: Agencies typically have access to advanced SEO tools, resources, and industry connections, which can enhance the effectiveness of their campaigns.

Cons: These additional resources may come at a higher cost compared to hiring an individual consultant.


Pros: Agencies often have established processes and systems for project management and reporting, providing a high level of accountability and transparency.

Cons: You might have less direct interaction with the actual team members working on your project, which can sometimes lead to a feeling of detachment.

Whether you choose an SEO consultant or an agency is up to you. It really does depend on your specific needs. But if you think an SEO consultant might be the right choice, below are some of the key signs it might be time to hire one.

9 Signs It’s Time to Hire an SEO Consultant

1. Limited Organic Traffic

If your website is not receiving a significant amount of organic traffic from search engines (relative to the amount of content you have), it may be time to consult with an SEO expert. Low organic traffic could indicate that your website is not ranking well for relevant keywords, and an SEO consultant can help improve your visibility.

Note: If organic search is not and is not likely to become a main source of your site’s traffic, an SEO consultant may not be required. Some businesses may drive a lot of their traffic through social media for example. But it could still be worth looking into hiring an SEO consultant to diversify your traffic sources.

2. Stagnant or Declining Rankings

If you’ve noticed that your website’s search engine rankings have been stagnant or declining over time, it’s a clear sign that your current SEO efforts may not be effective. An SEO consultant can analyse the reasons behind this decline and develop a strategy to reverse the trend.

3. Poorly Optimised Website

An outdated or poorly optimised website can hinder your SEO efforts. If your website is not mobile-friendly, has slow loading times, or lacks proper on-page optimisation, it could be time to bring in an SEO consultant to address these technical issues.

4. Competitors Are Outranking You

If your competitors consistently outrank your website in search engine results, it’s a sign that they may have a stronger SEO strategy. Hiring an SEO consultant can help you identify your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and develop a plan to compete with them and reclaim those rankings.

5. Lack of SEO Expertise

If your business lacks in-house SEO expertise, it can be challenging to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of search engine optimisation. An SEO consultant can provide the expertise and guidance needed to navigate the complexities of SEO.

6. Inefficient Use of Resources

If you’re investing in online marketing but not seeing a significant return on investment (ROI), it may be a sign that your resources are not being allocated effectively. An SEO consultant can help you optimise your budget and focus on strategies that deliver results.

7. Penalty or Google Algorithm Changes

If your website has been penalised by search engines or if you’ve been affected by significant Google algorithm changes (e.g. core updates), an SEO consultant may be able to help you understand why. A consultant can help you recover from penalties and adapt to algorithmic shifts.

8. Growing Business

As your business grows, so do your online marketing needs. If you’re expanding your online presence, launching new products or services, or entering new markets, an SEO consultant can help you scale your SEO efforts to match (and further enhance) your business’s growth.

9. Lack of Time & Expertise

Running a business is time-consuming, and managing SEO on your own can be challenging. If you find that you don’t have the time or expertise to handle SEO effectively, it’s a strong indicator that it’s time to bring in an SEO consultant.

Things to Consider When Hiring an SEO Consultant

Hiring the right SEO consultant is crucial for the success of your online presence and search engine rankings. To make an informed decision, consider the following factors when hiring an SEO consultant:

Experience & Expertise

Track Record: Look for an SEO consultant with a track record of success. Ask for case studies or examples of past clients they’ve worked with, and the results they have achieved.

Specialisation: Consider whether the consultant specialises in a particular industry or type of SEO, such as ecommerce, local SEO, or technical SEO. Choose someone whose expertise aligns with your needs.

Transparency & Communication:

Transparency: Ensure that the consultant is transparent about their methods and techniques. Avoid consultants who promise quick fixes or use black-hat SEO tactics that violate search engine guidelines.

Communication Skills: Effective communication is essential. Choose a consultant who can explain complex SEO concepts in a clear and understandable manner. They should be responsive to your questions and concerns.

References & Reviews

References: Ask for references from previous clients and contact them to inquire about their experiences working with the consultant. This can provide valuable insights into the consultant’s professionalism and results.

Online Reviews: Check online reviews and ratings for the consultant or their agency. They may even have a testimonials section on their website.

Services Offered

Scope of Services: Clearly define the scope of services you need from the SEO consultant. Are you looking for a comprehensive SEO strategy, technical SEO audit, content optimisation, or link building? Ensure the consultant offers the services you require.

Customisation: The consultant should be able to tailor their services to your specific business goals and needs. Avoid one-size-fits-all approaches.

Reporting & Analytics:

Measurement of Success: Discuss how the consultant plans to measure the success of their SEO efforts. They should provide regular reports on key metrics, such as organic traffic, keyword rankings, and conversion rates.

Access to Data: Ensure you have access to the analytics and data related to your SEO campaign. This transparency allows you to monitor progress and make informed decisions.

Budget & Pricing

Budget Alignment: Discuss your budget openly with the consultant and ensure it aligns with the services you require. Be cautious of unusually low prices, as quality SEO services often come at a reasonable cost.

Pricing Structure: Understand the consultant’s pricing structure. Some charge hourly rates, monthly retainers, or project-based fees. Clarify how and when you’ll be billed from the start.

Timelines & Expectations

Timeline: Establish realistic timelines for achieving your SEO goals. SEO is a long-term endeavor, and significant improvements may take months to materialise.

Expectations: Set clear expectations regarding the expected results and milestones. A reputable consultant will manage your expectations and provide regular updates.


Contract: Have a written contract in place that outlines the scope of work, deliverables, timelines, pricing, and any other relevant terms and conditions. This protects both you and the consultant.

Termination Clauses: Ensure there is an exit clause in the contract, specifying what happens if either party decides to terminate the engagement.

Should You Hire an SEO Consultant?

Deciding whether to hire an SEO consultant depends on your specific circumstances, business goals, and resources.

You should consider hiring an SEO consultant if:

  • You have limited SEO knowledge
  • You’re in a highly competitive industry
  • Your rankings are declining
  • You’re struggling with technical SEO issues
  • You have a Google penalty or were hit by an algorithm update
  • You don’t have time to devote to SEO yourself
  • You don’t have access to expensive SEO tools
  • You want to scale your business

You may not need to hire an SEO consultant if:

  • You have a lot of SEO expertise (or your team does)
  • You have a limited budget
  • You’d rather do it yourself

Ultimately, the decision to hire an SEO consultant should be based on a thorough assessment of your specific situation, goals, and available resources. If you do choose to hire a consultant, make sure to do your due diligence, check their credentials, and discuss your expectations and objectives clearly to maximise the benefits of the partnership.

Below, I take a closer look at how to do that.

How to Hire an SEO Consultant

Step 1: Define Your SEO Goals & Budget

Before you start looking for an SEO consultant, clearly define your SEO goals and objectives. Determine what you want to achieve, whether it’s increasing organic traffic, improving search engine rankings, or boosting conversions. Having well-defined goals will help you find a consultant with the right expertise.

Establish a budget for hiring an SEO consultant. SEO consultant fees can vary widely (as I’ve discussed above), so knowing your budget will help you narrow down your options and find a consultant who offers services within your price range.

Step 2: Research Potential Consultants

Start your search for SEO consultants by using online search engines, professional networks like LinkedIn, and industry-specific forums. Look for consultants who specialise in your industry or have experience with businesses similar to yours.

Step 3: Check Credentials & Experience

Examine the credentials and experience of potential SEO consultants. Look for the following:

  • Reputation: Check for reviews, testimonials, and case studies from previous clients.
  • Portfolio: Review their past work and projects to see if they align with your goals.
  • Years of Experience: Assess how long they have been in the SEO field and their track record of success.

Step 4: Interview Multiple Candidates

Contact multiple SEO consultants to discuss your project and assess their suitability. During the interview process, ask questions such as:

  • SEO Strategy: What is their approach to SEO strategy development?
  • Customisation: How do they tailor their strategies to individual client needs?
  • Reporting: What types of reports and metrics do they provide to track progress?
  • Technical Skills: Do they have technical SEO expertise?
  • Content Strategy: How do they handle content optimisation and creation?
  • Communication: Assess their communication skills and responsiveness to your questions.

Step 5: Assess Their Compatibility with Your Business

Ensure that the consultant follows ethical and white-hat SEO practices. Avoid consultants who engage in black-hat techniques or promise quick fixes that violate search engine guidelines.

Also ensure that their services and methods align with what you need to improve your website’s SEO. If they’re hyper-focused on things you don’t need, they’re probably not the right choice.

Step 6: Review Contracts

Once you’ve identified the right SEO consultant, review the contract thoroughly. Ensure it includes details such as the scope of work, payment terms, timelines, reporting, and any termination clauses. Seek legal advice if needed.

By following these steps and conducting thorough due diligence, you can hire an SEO consultant who aligns with your business goals and helps improve your online presence and search engine rankings effectively.

Why Hire Chris Hanna as Your SEO Consultant?

I can provide your business with high-quality, reliable SEO consultancy services to grow your online presence, get more traffic, and improve your conversion rates. I offer a wealth of individual services, but I’m also available for ongoing SEO consultancy.

I have 4+ years of experience in the SEO industry, and I’m continuously growing my skill set. If you think I might be the right fit for your SEO needs, get in touch with me here.