An SEO consultant is a digital maestro, specializing in the art and science of search engine optimization. Read on to learn what they do, how much they cost, how they help, how to hire one, and the 8 best consultants to consider.

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Evolving algorithms, shifting user behaviors, and competitive market dynamics — navigating the choppy SEO waters without expert guidance can be like sailing a ship without a compass.

And the stakes? Incredibly high. An unoptimized website can miss opportunities for potential traffic, leads, and, ultimately, revenue. On the flip side, employing outdated or black-hat techniques can lead to penalizations or even removal from search engine results entirely.

Risks no brand should be willing to entertain.

The wiser option: turning to an experienced SEO consultant. Someone with the depth of knowledge, hands-on experience, and strategic foresight to steer your brand toward digital success.

But how do you sift through the noise and find that diamond in the rough?

Before diving into that crucial question, let’s highlight our curated list of the top SEO consultants (or SEO agencies) you should consider.

The 8 best consultants to consider

  1. HawkSEM
  2. Merkle
  3. Tinuiti
  4. Siege Media
  5. Ignite Visibility
  6. Omniscient Digital
  7. Higher Visibility
  8. Silverback Strategies

1. HawkSEM

That’s us! With over 15 years of experience under our belt, we’ve consistently delivered optimal results for our clients. Our commitment isn’t just about increasing your website’s rank, but ensuring a holistic strategy that prioritizes user experience, content relevancy, and technical optimization.


Our average client ROI is 4.5x, we have a client retention rate of 98%, and we manage over 3 million keywords. Want to learn more? Browse through our case studies, explore the variety of services we offer, or just hit us up for a chat. We’re always eager to connect.

Best for: B2B/B2C, ecommerce, lead generation, SaaS, finance, healthcare, education, professional services

Notable clients:

  • Nike
  • Microsoft
  • Verizon Media
  • Siemens

2. Merkle


A behemoth in the SEO consultancy realm, Merkle is renowned for delivering data-driven solutions tailored to individual business needs. Their strategic approach to SEO consulting services blends technology, analytics, and creativity, ensuring visibility and impactful engagements.

Best for: B2B/B2C, automotive, retail, financial services, health, nonprofit, media & entertainment, travel & hospitality

Notable clients:

  • Neutrogena
  • Siemens
  • Crocs
  • Mini

3. Tinuiti


Priding themselves on their performance-driven approach, Tinuiti offers a suite of services that go beyond SEO. With a holistic view of digital marketing, they can integrate SEO with other channels for maximum efficiency.

Best for: Enterprise B2C and B2B

Notable clients:

  • Rite Aid
  • e.l.f.
  • Converse
  • Ethan Allen

4. Siege Media

Siege Media

Siege Media stands out with its content-driven SEO approach. Believing that quality content is at the heart of SEO success, they have a team of creative experts dedicated to crafting content that resonates and ranks.

Best for: B2B/B2C, ecommerce, SaaS, fintech

Notable clients:

  • ZenDesk
  • Casper
  • Instacart
  • Shutterfly

5. Ignite Visibility

Ignite Visibility

With a name that embodies its mission, Ignite Visibility is all about making your brand seen and remembered. They offer a comprehensive SEO strategy, covering everything from local SEO to international campaigns.

Best for: Small and medium businesses (SMBs) to mid-market and results-driven SEO

Notable clients:

  • Experian
  • Army & Navy Academy
  • Jazzercise
  • Tony Robbins

6. Omniscient Digital

Omniscient Digital

A boutique agency with a focus on B2B companies, Omniscient Digital leverages content marketing and SEO to drive quality leads and traffic. Their strategies are backed by in-depth research and a clear understanding of client needs.

Best for: B2B SaaS companies

Notable clients:

  • Jasper
  • GatherContent
  • AppSumo
  • Shipyard

7. Higher Visibility

Higher Visibility

From startups to Fortune 1000, Higher Visibility has catered to a diverse clientele, offering personalized SEO services. Their strategies are transparent, results-driven, and tailored to achieve long-term success.

Best for: Small and medium businesses (SMBs) B2B/B2C, franchise brands, lawyers, ecommerce, financial services, automotive, home builders

Notable clients:

  • Orangetheory
  • Pure Barre
  • Lawn Doctor
  • Brilliant Earth

8. Silverback Strategies

Silverback Strategies

Silverback Strategies brings a blend of data-driven decision-making and creative strategies. They offer a transparent process, ensuring clients are always in the loop about the SEO efforts and results.

Best for: B2B/B2C, hospitality, education, home services, SaaS

Notable clients:

  • Ritz Carlton
  • Cornell University
  • Fiscalnote

What is an SEO consultant?

An SEO consultant is an expert in search engine optimization. They use a mix of techniques to help search engine algorithms find and rank websites to gain more visibility and traffic for businesses. They typically offer a range of SEO services tailored to your business’s SEO needs, such as keyword research, technical SEO audits, and content audits.

According to a study by Terakeet, a solid SEO strategy can slash the cost of acquiring new customers by 87% compared to paid search. So, while search engine marketing (SEM) specialists are knee-deep in the world of PPC ads, SEO consultants are the champions of organic growth, making sure your brand shines naturally in the digital realm.

What are the benefits of an SEO consultant?

Navigating the digital landscape can be challenging, but with the right guidance, your brand can grow. Let’s explore the invaluable benefits an SEO consultant can bring to your online marketing efforts.

  • Expertise in organic growth: In the digital age, visibility is everything. An SEO consultant brings a wealth of experience driving organic traffic, ensuring your brand is visible and stands out without relying solely on paid advertisements. This includes on-page SEO (like keywords) and off-page tactics (like social media and email marketing) to promote growth.
  • Cost-effective strategies: Investing in SEO ensures long-term growth and visibility. An SEO consultant can provide a high return on investment by optimizing your site for consistent organic traffic.
  • Deep dive analysis: With ever-changing search engine algorithms, staying updated is vital. SEO consultants provide in-depth SEO audits, market insights, and competitor analysis, ensuring your brand remains on top.
  • Tailored strategies: Every business is unique, and so should be its SEO strategy. An SEO consultant crafts bespoke SEO strategies aligning with your brand’s vision, goals, and target audience.
  • Sustainable growth: Unlike paid campaigns, where traffic might plummet once the campaign ends, SEO ensures sustained growth. An expert consultant will set the foundation for continual organic traffic and growth.

Five things to look for in an SEO consultant

Now that you know why an SEO consultant is so beneficial, what should you look for to ensure you’re investing in someone who can elevate your brand’s online presence. Let’s dig in.

  1. Proven track record: Just as you’d check the portfolio of a designer or the past cases of a lawyer, scrutinize the past projects and successes of the SEO consultant. A history of effective results speaks louder than any promise. This also includes reviews and testimonials that speak to their results and overall client experience.
  2. Comprehensive skill set: SEO is about more than keywords. It combines technical audits, content optimization, backlink strategies, SEO best practices, and more. Ensure your consultant is well-versed in all facets of SEO.
  3. Transparency and communication: The SEO world can be complex, but a good consultant will ensure you’re never left in the dark. Regular updates, clear reporting, and open channels of communication are paramount.
  4. Adaptability: SEO is a dynamic field. Algorithms change, new trends emerge, and strategies evolve. Choose an SEO consultant who’s adaptable and stays updated with the latest in the industry.
  5. Understanding of your industry: While not mandatory, having a consultant with SEO experience in your niche can provide a competitive edge. Their insights into your industry’s specific challenges and nuances can be invaluable.

SEO expert David Jenkins adds, “Businesses should look for consultants who not only know the ins and outs of SEO but can also adapt to the unique needs of their business. SEO isn’t a one-size-fits-all gig. A common misconception? We SEO consultants just tweak some meta descriptions and call it a day. The reality? We’re part psychologist, part marketer, and part data analyst.”

What is an SEO consultant’s role in a marketing campaign?

An SEO consultant’s job description in a marketing campaign is pivotal and multifaceted. They don’t just focus on search engine rankings — they holistically integrate SEO into the broader internet marketing strategy.

Here’s a snapshot of their pivotal role.

Strategy development

Before any marketing efforts kick-off, an SEO consultant crafts a tailored SEO strategy. This involves understanding the brand, its audience, and its goals. They ensure all marketing content, from SEO-friendly blogs to ads, is optimized for search.

Keyword research

Central to any SEO strategy is understanding what terms potential customers use to search. This is one of the driving forces of a strong SEO campaign. The consultant identifies high-potential keywords that align with the brand’s offerings and audience.

“When crafting an SEO strategy, it’s about finding the perfect blend: target those ‘money keywords’ that boost revenue, but also sprinkle in long-tail topics that position you as a thought leader,” says Sam Yadegar, CEO of HawkSEM.

Technical oversight

An SEO consultant ensures that the website’s technical aspects are search-engine-friendly, from mobile optimization to fast loading speeds and secure connections.

Some of the technical on-site SEO issues an SEO company may find include:

  • Broken or missing links
  • Missing HTML tags
  • Keyword cannibalization
  • Poor URL structure
  • Difficult site navigation
  • Slow loading speeds

Content guidance

Beyond just keywords, the SEO consultant offers insights into content creation. They ensure content is valuable, relevant, and optimized for both search engines and readers.

“True content optimization isn’t just about rankings, says Yadegar. “It’s about understanding search intent and delivering thorough, actionable insights that captivate both users and search engines.”

Link building

One of the pillars of SEO, link building, involves getting other websites to link to yours. An SEO consultant will strategize on acquiring high-quality backlinks. They can also implement an easy-to-follow link-building strategy to add to your online marketing efforts.

Examples may include:

  • Writing guest blog posts on relevant, reputable sites with a backlink to your website
  • Creating in-house research reports and ungating it so others can link to it
  • Featuring exclusive expert quotes in your content that they will link to on social media and their own blogs

Analytics and reporting

A marketing campaign’s success is in its numbers. SEO consultants dive deep into Google Analytics and other insights to gauge the strategy’s effectiveness, adjusting as needed and providing transparent reports on performance. Some consultants are implementing SEO tools to transparently share metrics so everyone has a clear view of how your efforts are performing.

Yadegar adds, “Progress shouldn’t be a mystery. We believe in providing clients with real-time dashboards and fostering open conversations through regular check-ins.”

While an SEO consultant isn’t a magician, they can dramatically affect your website rankings and overall SEO marketing effectiveness. But keep in mind a consultant doesn’t come with a guarantee.

How do I find and hire an SEO consultant?

Embarking on the journey to find the right SEO consultant might feel overwhelming, but think of it as seeking a trusted guide for your brand’s digital odyssey.

  1. A good place to start? The good ol’ online search. It offers many choices, but a real gem often comes from a recommendation within your circle. Your colleagues or peers may have a. Post to your LinkedIn network and other communities to see if others had success with an SEO specialist or SEO team.
  2. Once you’ve got a roster of potential guides, it’s due diligence time. Dive into their reviews, like you’d skim through book critiques before purchasing. This will give you an authentic snapshot of their expertise. The cream of the crop in the SEO world will proudly present case studies — the real proof in the digital pudding.
  3. Now, for the pivotal moment: the face-to-face (or screen-to-screen). Set up interviews with your top choices. Gauge their grasp on your brand’s essence and the alignment of your mutual goals. And as you inch closer to that partnership handshake, clarity is key. Discuss the frequency and format of communication. After all, being on the same page ensures a smoother journey to success.

Scott Lieberman of Touchdown Money adds, “Ask about their content creation philosophy. Ask about their link-building strategy. Ask what they will be doing versus what they will ask you to do. For example, are they creating a strategy for you to execute? Or are they executing for you?

Ask to see examples of how they’ve grown organic search engine traffic to a site. Even if you know nothing about SEO, heed this quote from billionaire Warren Buffett, “If you don’t know jewelry, know your jeweler.”

You want to know your SEO consultant knows their stuff and will get the job done. It’s not enough for them to say SEO works. They need to back it up with more than certifications, and explain how their efforts will help boost your brand.

8 signs it’s time to hire an SEO consultant

Ever wondered if your online presence could use a professional touch? Here are eight signs that it’s time to bring an SEO consultant into your digital strategy.

  • Stagnant or declining traffic: Every website has its ups and downs, but if your numbers have flatlined or—worse yet—are plummeting, it’s a red flag. Instead of scratching your head and wondering where your visitors went, it might be time to call in an SEO consultant to troubleshoot.
  • Low search engine rankings: Remember the thrill of being on the first page of search results? If that’s a distant memory and your website is now buried under pages of results, an SEO consultant can dig you out and put you back in the spotlight.
  • Website overhaul: Not just design tweaks but deep structural changes signal the need for SEO mastery. Ensure the foundations of your changes are SEO-strong from the get-go.
  • Penalties from search engines: If search engines like Google slap you with a penalty, it’s not just a gentle nudge—it’s an alarm bell. This means something’s awry. Before things spiral, an SEO consultant can identify the issue, rectify it, and ensure you’re back in Google’s good graces.
  • In-house team overwhelmed: Even the most dedicated marketing teams have their limits. If your in-house crew juggles too many balls, it might be time to pass the SEO to a dedicated expert. This lightens the load and provides specialized insights not available in-house.
  • Unclear business objectives: If you’ve mapped out your business journey but need more clarity on how SEO fits into the picture, an expert can align your online strategy with your grand business vision.
  • Scaling too fast: Skyrocketing from small business to large business owner? Awesome! But as you expand, your website needs to handle more action. Whether it’s a broader product range or new markets, an SEO consultant ensures your digital footprint grows with you.
  • New content strategy on the horizon: Thinking of dishing out fresh, engaging content? Before diving into the content ocean, an SEO consultant can chart the waters, ensuring you’re sailing in the right direction with a solid SEO content strategy.

How much does an SEO consultant cost?

According to our research, SEO pricing ranges from $3,000 to $10,000 per month for fixed rates, $500 to $1,000 per month for local SEO, and $5,000 to $30,000 for one-time projects.

The cost of hiring an SEO consultant can vary widely based on several factors:

  • Experience and reputation: Seasoned consultants with a proven track record will typically charge more than those just starting out.
  • Scope of work: A comprehensive SEO strategy overhaul will naturally cost more than a one-off consultation. Be clear on deliverables and expectations before agreeing on a price.
  • Geography: Consultants in major cities or high-cost-of-living areas may have higher rates.
  • Contract length: Some consultants may offer discounted rates for longer-term engagements.

Questions to ask a potential SEO consultant

Ready to chat with an SEO consultant? Before diving in, arm yourself with some smart questions. Here’s what to ask and why it matters.

How do you stay updated with the latest SEO trends and algorithm changes?

SEO’s like the weather — always changing. So, how does your consultant keep up with the SEO forecast? They need to be on top of the ever-shifting Google algorithms to ensure you’re not caught in a downpour.

Can you provide references or case studies from past clients?

What’s the consultant’s track record? Diving into their past adventures and having a quick chat with old clients can paint a clearer picture of what you’re signing up for.

How do you approach link-building?

Links are the bread and butter of SEO, but there’s a right and a sneaky way to bake that bread. So, is your consultant whipping up some honest, top-tier backlinks, or are they sneaking in some shortcuts?

How do you measure SEO success?

Metrics are the name of the game. What’s the scorecard your consultant is using? Be it the surge in site visits, keyword effectiveness, or
conversions, you need to know what winning looks like.

How do you handle SEO for mobile search?

Mobile is more than a trend — it’s how most of the world functions. So, how’s your consultant ensuring you’re not just a blip but a beacon on mobile searches?

What strategies do you recommend for local SEO?

If your business caters to a local audience, optimizing for local search is crucial. What’s your consultant’s move to make sure the neighbors not only know you but love you?

How often will we receive reports, and what will they entail?

Regular catch-ups and reports keep things fresh and transparent. Clarifying the frequency and detail level will help set expectations for both parties.

What happens if we don’t see improved rankings or traffic after several months?

SEO’s a marathon, not a sprint, but what happens when things are still at a standstill? It’s good to know how your consultant shifts gears when the terrain gets tough.

How do you approach technical SEO?

Technical SEO, including site speed optimization, structured data, and more, can make or break your overall SEO performance. The consultant should be well-versed in ensuring your website’s technical health.

How will our working relationship be structured?

Understanding communication frequency, point of contact, and how feedback is handled will ensure a smooth collaboration between your team and the consultant.

The takeaway

Selecting the right SEO consultant is critical for your business’s online success. The field of SEO is huge and constantly changing, so it’s essential to choose someone who is knowledgeable and adaptable.

To find a consultant who will effectively boost your visibility in search engines, set clear expectations, thoroughly vet potential candidates, and ask pointed questions. It’s an upfront time investment, but the payoff in improved search rankings and increased traffic will be well worth it.

Ready to get started on SEO efforts that will drive results? Connect with a HawkSEM expert for a free consultation.

Stephanie Trovato

Stephanie Trovato

Stephanie Trovato is an experienced marketer and content expert in the B2B space with a background in international trade and marketing analytics. A multi-channel storyteller and strategist with over a decade of copywriting and content marketing experience, Stephanie's expertise spans the marketing, technology, SaaS, ecommerce, and workplace management industries. Her work has been featured on industry-leading sites including Oracle, Evernote, HubSpot, Investopedia, and Forbes.