Problems finding a SEO professional with solid experience
The problem has been that on Upwork and Fiverr the quality of the work has really bad.
I tried posting a job ad, but did not receive any resume with solid SEO experience.
I am willing to invest in this – but I need the right professional. How can I find one?
Will probably be a mix of:
• How much you expect to pay – a decent freelancer, with 5+ years actual experience / results is going to cost you hundreds of dollars a day.
• Your expectations – you won't find an individual who's a top-tier content + technical + linkbuilding specialist all-in-one. You may find someone who's 2 out of 3, but be suspicious if someone says they're 3/3 of those things.
Honestly though… in the short term you're probably better off just writing decent content and making sure your website is usable… and focusing on Paid Search. Start getting an idea of what your site's performance is like, what terms convert well etc. Then build your SEO strategy off the back of that.
From a quick glance at your post history it appears you're a new B2C business in a competitive niche. If you've only got a finite runway then it's best to get quick results, then scale into Search Engine Optimization (SEO) once you know where the money is in your niche.
If you want SEO results you either have to spend a lot of time (learning) or a lot of money (outsourcing).
Obviously this is my opinion and I'm sure others here may disagree with me… I just think that you either build a business off of existing SEO expertise, or you scale into SEO once you can afford to pay someone to focus on it (and do Paid Search yourself in the interim)
If you are looking for an employee – the answer would be to go on job portals.If you are looking for a freelancer/another SEO agency – the answer would be to go on LinkedIn.
If you are a business owner looking for SEO services for yourself, I would highly recommend going with an agency instead of an individual.
If you are an agency owner yourself, you can either hire an employee or a freelancer for a specific skill that your current team lacks at, also another option can be to outsource the entire project to an SEO agency like ours.
Can you share about what you do and what gap are you looking to fill, based on that can tell you what could be right fit for you.
You could perhaps try posting at LinkedIn and/or Indeed. You can also use LinkedIn to look for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialists who freelance and are open to work, and reach out to them to inquire about their availability, pricing, etc.
Those freelance bidding platforms have a negative reputation among freelance professionals. Basically, you're looking in the wrong places.
Fiverr's branding and positioning revolves around low dollar microgigs — you're not going to find a decent SEO specialist there. It's not a platform that those people tend to use to source clients, because it's a race to the bottom that attracts cheap clients.
Upwork these days is going to be, at best, a needle in a haystack situation for this kind of thing. (Assuming you have a viable budget for a real professional, with experience, who knows what they're doing.) That is, you might luck out and be able to find someone, but you'll find yourself sifting through possibly hundreds of unqualified, low quality applicants.
The problem is that you're posting on Fiverr and Upwork. Try hanging out on some of the SEO-related Facebook groups and you'll soon see who really knows SEO; either by posts they've made or comments they've made. Friend them and get in touch with them directly, ask if they have time to take on any extra projects.
As others here have already said, Fiverr & Upwork are not the platforms to get the expertise that you're looking for.
Any agency worth their salt are going to want to do a thorough audit before making any recommendations & another thing you might want to consider is looking to work with an established international agency, especially as your target market is not local.
One of the first things that we do with any new client that we onboard for instance, is to send them a detailed questionnaire that formalises what it is they're looking to accomplish & what they can expect in return.
This helps to establish clarity, transparency and expectancy right from the very outset & helps to avoid unnecessary potential misunderstandings further down the line.
Happy to help/elaborate further if required.
The pros / cons with each of these platforms from my own testing along with other places you might find SEO users:
1. Fiverr – Most often these sellers create a process or product based on extremely outdated SEO information. They sometimes sell it as "Search Engine Optimization (SEO)" generically labeling it or other times specifically label what it is. In any case the work has to be repeatable and easily scalable agnostic to the website they are working on. This means they will almost always miss technical SEO issues, conduct SEO work that is not fruitful, or worse yet do things that can actively harm a website's rankings. Some of these sellers know they are scamming you or doing low quality work, others I think are innocently trying to do good work but are not aware of the full scope of impact what they are selling might have. This creates what appears to be a plethora of low cost SEO options on the platform, when in realtity there are exceedingly few, if any at all, qualified sellers here. Fiverr of course advertises that they are a great place to find SEO help, which further confuses business owners or marketing department heads seeking out help.
2. Upwork – There are some really solid SEO practioners on Upwork believe it or not. However, like Fiverr they typically have a repeatable process they are selling and not customized SEO work. You will also find that most SEO users available on Upwork are foreign (to your country unless you're in India / Pakistan / Phillipines) and those that are located in your country or regionally/culturally adjacent likely have salary requirements at or above what you are seeking to fill while wishing to work half or less of the time you need to fill in. If you know exactly what you are looking for this could be a good solution, but you have to keep on top of them and be an expert-level SEO yourself (or very near) to really get full value out of this and avoid the same problem that plague Fiverr.
3. Fiverr-like platforms – There are other Fiverr-like platforms that sell "SEO" services. Unfortunately in my private testing these have all been extemely low quality and most appear to try and sell some previously unknown 'hack' (which likely doesn't work or will stop working really soon) or a known blackhat tactic that will lead to extreme future problems. While companies with a lot of investment capital might be able to harness these for some short-term gains and mitigate long-term losses, they are most often a bad idea for small to mid-sized business simply trying to do good. (yes VC backed companies really do this, learned about this from Mr. A. Goldstein)
4. LinkedIn – Searching for an SEO on the service will reveal millions of users, often those who have 'optimized' their profile by shoving SEO or related keywords into their current title "Helps small businesses rank higher with great SEO" for example. This is problematic because they know how to rank decently well on LinkedIn but doesn't exactly show any knowledge of SEO outside of the platform. Some of these are probably a good fit for an outside consultant or even an in-house gig but be careful and ask questions about their knowledge and experience.
5. Indeed and other Job Listings – We hire and sometimes help clients hire SEO roles via these platforms. I would recommed giving job listings a shot if you're trying to find an in-house solution. The largest problem here is the knowledge gap in SEO becomes painfully obvious extremely quickly. Most applicants I have gotten resumes for from these places have little or zero SEO experience and say they want to grow in their position (i.e. entry level). That, or they are all highly skilled and knowledgable with an extremely high salary request (which they rightfully deserve). Trying to fill a middle-range SEO position becomes a challenge here because there are not that many mid-range SEO users looking for a new opportunity where the salary is also mid-range.
6. Searching for an Agency on Google/Bing/DDG – Searching for an SEO agency most frequently actually surfaces; web design agencies that sell SEO, local maps Spammers who are probably not actually in your city/region, Public Relations (PR) agencies who sell PR tactics as SEO itself, or tech / platform companies selling software of some sort that makes it sound like an SEO solution. Depending on your search your ability to find a quality SEO via searching is ironically one of the harder things to do since those SEO users are most often focued on client / brand work instead.
The design agencies typically get here with a LOT of links from client websites they designed and a little SEO know-how but are unlikely to actually be able to deliver similar results for your business since their SEO strategy revolves around getting inbound links from selling design work. Most often the SEO these companies sell is simple things like placing keywords in a title tag and installing Google Analytics. Not something you should pay a monthly fee for.
Local Map spammers are typified by using the name of a city plus the word SEO in their brand name for example "Vice City SEO Company". They may actually be able to help your local business rank for a short while and some might actually be owned by a real SEO agency using them as a lead gen portal. However, most often they obtained their Maps rankings (and yours) by leveraging some little known Maps blackhat tactic which will ultimately catch the ire of Local SEO users and get fixed by Google anywhere from 3 months to a few years in (though some of these tactics keep coming back as useful which is super annoying).
Public Relations (PR) Agencies might be good at doing link building for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but could falter in other areas such as content optimization or pagespeed or technical SEO basics. Best course here is to know exactly what they are calling SEO and see if that fits your needs. This has been a growing segment lately and I have seen client sucked by a Private Blog Network (PBN) system calling themselves a 'digital PR' agency. There are really good ones out there, but you will likely be paying a premium for them. These might also be a good fit if you need reputation or branding help.
Tech / Platform companies selling SEO usually are selling the same exact thing to thousands of businesses and give you no competitive advantage over others using the same system – if the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) they do is even valuable. In most cases I have seen (when a client leaves them for our services) the SEO performed is a mixture of basic SEO a web designer might do and some technical SEO tweaks across their platform. It is almost never strategic in nature and they almost always fail to do things we might consider SEO staples today such as making a geo page for a service area business or writing unique product copy or doing inbound link building.
7. SEO / Marketing Conference Speakers – A great way to find a highly qualified SEO for your team or agency, but note they likely also come with a high price tag and/or want to be a leader of a team. Still, I fully endorse using the catalogs of conference speakers or attending conferences (as the pandemic wanes) to find great talent and start a dialog about what it would take for them to join your team.
8. Word of Mouth – Ironically this is what I believe is the best way to find a qualified SEO employee, contractor, or agency. Talk to your friends and colleague and get recommendations. Then vet those recommendations on a list of things you believe you need for your success and how they fit into your overall marketing goals. Sometimes this will lead to an SEO who is popular on LinkedIn or Twitter or that ranks well for local queries, but most often you'll find a hardworking, talented SEO (or agency) that desires to both grow their own expertise and your business.
Remember no SEO practicioner or agency is a silver bullet. Hopefully this helps you find a qualified SEO for your team or an agency to work with.
In general I also recommend always looking locally / regionally for help as those SEO users are more likely to be qualified for all of the work you will require of them. If you don't know how to find those look for a local SEO meetup group or a local SEO you know and like but are unable to hire and they should be able to help you get your search moving in the right direction.
^ All of this
You wouldn't (shouldn't) hire someone from another country to do your SEO. You need someone in the same country, and sometimes, someone that knows the local area. That ensures the local vernacular is used.
Fiverr is known for cheap things. Upwork can be okay for programming related tasks, but if you need someone, search your local area; triple bid (or more), and go with a company you trust.
For Search Engine Optimization (SEO) I would recommend an agency that does it specifically. Marketing agencies do not seem to know SEO, nor creative agencies, nor extremely technical agencies. If anything, go with an agency that has their own tools and does not rely entirely on SEMrush or moz.
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