This week for Ask An SEO, we have a question from Bob in Florida. He asks:
“I have been doing small business SEO since 2001. Sometimes I need help on technical issues beyond my expertise. Is there someone that I can hire on a ‘per ticket’ basis? i.e.; help me fix this analytics setting or canonical issue, or whatever comes up next. I don’t need a whole managed services contract, just some technical help.”
I feel your pain, Bob! I have the same obstacles in my business and with what I do.
Here are a few options that help me overcome technical SEO issues that are either out of my knowledge base or when I cannot come up with a solution.
1. Build a Trusted Network of Content & Tech SEO People
I’m not talking about a massive group, and it will take a long time to build.
Your goal here is to find people you trust and will openly share your strategies with.
My private network took 10+ years to build, but the process sped up when I began attending conferences like:
- Pubcon (this one specifically has been a game-changer for SEO).
- Affiliate Summit.
- Advanced Search Summit.
- Blogging shows.
From there I found people who write code and build sites that could answer questions about speed, rendering, etc…
They didn’t know this was SEO and when I explained why, they fell in love with the channel.
I trust and shared my personal strategies privately with actual data and they do this in return.
Once I was sharing with the right people I was invited into two private Facebook groups.
That is where I can get answers for free and fast, but I give equally as well.
This is also where I find tech SEO consultants that have been vetted by people I trust.
2. Create an Hourly & Project-Based Vendor List
Once I built my network I also created a spreadsheet with their prices per hour (public and private) as well as per project.
Now I have them all in my CRM system.
This is where it gets tricky because every project is unique, but at least I have a baseline of options.
My sheet worked like this:
The tabs across the bottom are for specifics like audits, schema, page/site speed, etc…
- Column A is vendor name.
- Column B is the price per hour.
- Column C is the price per project.
- Depending on the type of work I’ll also include a column for sites with 100 pages, 101 – 1,000, 1001 – 5,000, larger.
- Column D is the amount of time for project completion (1 day, 1 week, 1 month).
- Column E is the most important. Do they deliver on time and are they responsive? This is a scale from 1 to 10. Anyone that falls below an 8 for me no longer gets work.
Other columns you could add might be:
- If the vendor white labels or if you need to have their branding.
- If they have an NDA or non-compete with you.
- Do you have their tax information on file and a link to it.
But that is up to you and your business model.
My CRM system has very similar information but I also include tags with specific skill sets like forensic SEO, WordPress, Java developer, etc…
It contains notes about what went well and not so well on projects and makes a great reminder about why I eliminated certain relationships.
3. Post to Social Media & Advertise the Question
When none of the above works, I post to social media.
If I get really desperate then I may even advertise the post so that it shows to people who may have the skill sets to answer the problem.
Targeting might include: (I didn’t check to see if these are available, I’m just sharing my thought process on finding targets.)
- Income: I’d exclude super-high incomes because they could be too expensive.
- Interests in digital/online marketing, SEO, marketing, ecommerce.
- Job title: Director of IT, Full Stack Developer, Webmaster.
- Employer: I’d look for brands that would have a large dev team and are built in the same framework and platform as the project I’m working on because they may have familiarity with it.
You get where I’m going with the targeting.
I’m trying to narrow it down to the specific people who work in the field, on the same platform, and have an interest in digital marketing.
If the person works for a company that uses the same platform the person may have already faced the same obstacle.
These are my go-to solutions to find technical SEO experts when I cannot resolve the problem on my own.
I hope this helps!
Editor’s note: Ask an SEO is a weekly SEO advice column written by some of the industry’s top SEO experts, who have been hand-picked by Search Engine Journal. Got a question about SEO? Fill out our form. You might see your answer in the next #AskanSEO post!