Once you have decided to hire an outside firm, you need to go through some sort of selection process. This can be daunting if you are not already familiar with the space and if you don’t already have some understanding of SEO yourself. There are many solid and reputable companies out there, but unfortunately there are a large number of bad ones as well.
In addition, there are many different types of projects you may want them to work on. For example, if you have a local SEO–focused project in mind, you will need to find a team with the right type of experience. Similarly, you may have specific contract requirements that will impact which firm is right for you. Consider looking at resources such as the SEOmoz vendor directory (http://www.seomoz.org/marketplace/companies) and the GetListed.org vendor directory (http://getlisted.org/resources/trustedproviders.aspx).
Just as a bad hire can be a very expensive proposition, so can engaging the wrong consultant or firm, either through a haphazard selection process or by simply relying on gut feel. Here is an outline of the steps you should take for a more methodical, disciplined search for outsourced SEO expertise:
Start with your goals. Connect with your team and make sure you have a good idea of what you want to accomplish by working with an SEO expert. Sometimes it’s as simple as an audit to make sure you’re following best practices; other times it’s training for your marketers ...