Hiring an Amazon SEO Consultant – What To Know [2023]

Picture of Author: Martyn N.

Author: Martyn N.

Hi! I’m Martyn, a full-time Amazon E-Commerce Manager with over 5 years of experience selling and managing a wide range of products for various small businesses on Amazon.

Hiring a good SEO consultant is one of the most difficult tasks when looking to outsource some work for your Amazon business.

Unlike design work where even an untrained eye can detect the difference between professional and amateur work, it can be quite hard to correctly judge whether an SEO consultant is of professional calibre or not.

To ensure that your SEO consultant has what it takes to properly improve your SEO on Amazon, here are a few points that you might want to consider to ensure you get the best SEO freelancer for your Amazon business.

Hope it helps!


What will be included in the keyword research


Firstly, ask them what will be included in any keyword research – the most important factors being search volume, relevancy to your product and competitiveness for the keyword, the latter which involves the number of direct competitor listings, their product features vs your own product, their price, as well as the listing’s rating and number of reviews.

Make sure that you will get a list that includes at least the keywords and their search volume, but the more of the above you can get, the greater the chance that you can properly identify which keywords have potential and which do not.

How they proceed with keyword research


Secondly, ask them how they usually proceed with their keyword research.

It’s critical to ensure that your SEO consultant will explore as many different seed keywords and fully explore any and every potential keyword that your customers might use to try to find your product – or alternatively, keywords that will result into sales should your product rank for them, even if they are not directly related to your product.

For instance, let’s say you’re selling yoga pants.

You want to avoid an SEO consultant who will only give you a list of keywords with “yoga pants” in it. Anyone can do that.

Instead, you will want your SEO expert to search beyond just words like “yoga pants” and fully explores keywords like “stretchy clothes”, “sports clothes” or “tight leggings”.

Also ask them what software or tools they use to conduct their keyword research. The most common tools are JungleScout and Helium10, but there are many others available as well.

A professional SEO expert will use at least one tool to get the keywords. The greater the variety of tools, the higher the likelihood that they will deliver better results.


Process with SEO


Next, ask them to explain their process for optimizing your content on your Amazon listings.

They should confidently explain the SEO impact of different attributes like title, bullet points, product description and backend terms.

It can be particularly tricky here, especially if you don’t have much knowledge with SEO (I mean, if you did, maybe you wouldn’t be looking for a freelancer!) but here are a few tips you can apply even if you’re clueless about SEO:

(side note: I recommend you ensure you know the basics of Amazon SEO – this will help tremendously with the rest).

Firstly, check how confident they seem when you ask them how they usually proceed with search engine optimization on Amazon.

An expert will be able to tell you concretely and without hesitation what they do – experience makes it easy. Ideally, they get a little carried away and start to talk too much.

A lot of hesitations and “ums” is a sign that they might lack confidence or experience.

This is a simple and easy way to tell if they are experienced or not.

And – trust your gut feeling. If you feel that they are not so competent, chances are they aren’t.

Secondly, don’t hesitate to ask questions about anything that you do not understand – a master of a topic should be able to explain it to a ten-year-old.

Thirdly, try to sense if there is a general structure to their approach. If they explain it with a certain order, like “first, I do A, then I look at B, and depending on whether I find X or Y or whether you want Z, I proceed either to C or skip directly to D”, that’s a good sign that they are serious about their work.

Enthusiasm, clarity and orderliness are often good signs of underlying expertise in a topic. Conversely, lacking those is often the calling card of a novice who won’t deliver what you need.


Examples of previous SEO work


Finally, I recommend you ask for examples of previous optimization work to compare what they have optimized before and after it has been optimized. This last step might be harder due to client confidentiality, but try to get an idea of how a listing reads after they have worked on it.

Even if you’re not familiar with the product’s industry or target market, you should be able to judge a listing based on how many relevant words are used on the listing as well as how it reads.

A proper SEO freelancer should have as many keywords included, with the most promising keywords included at the very top.

Note that I said “promising” and not “biggest”. This is a big pitfall when it comes to hiring SEO managers.

Many simply take the keywords with the highest search volume that are “relevant enough” to your product and lazily add them in your listing copy one after the other.

Successful SEO on Amazon is a careful balance between relevance, search volume and competitiveness.

There might be a hundred thousand searches a month for “Yoga Pants”, yet it might not be the best keyword to have right at the beginning, as thousands as other listings do the same, effectively negating that advantage.

Instead, perhaps that writing a core feature that distinguishes your product from your competition in a valuable way would lead to more sales. For example, if your designs are particularly elastic due to a specific material that almost no other competitor has, you might want to put this in the title first before mentioning “yoga pants”.

Remember: Successful SEO isn’t about including the same set of words that all of your competitors are using. True successful SEO is about finding the best combination and order of keywords to maximize your sales over the long-term.

An expert at SEO on Amazon should be aware of this, and should give you the reassurance that they will optimize your listings with those rules in mind.

Summary

Once again, here are the questions you should ask when considering an Amazon SEO freelancer:

  • What will be included in the keyword research
  • How they proceed with keyword research
  • What their process for SEO is
  • Examples of previous SEO work

Considering all of the above when selecting your SEO specialist on Amazon should greatly improve your chances to hire a competent professional straight away who will deliver results.



Defining your needs and requirements


Being clear about what kind of SEO work you need to have done is critical to ensure you get the right person for the job.

For instance, you might need your SEO freelancer to have some level of knowledge about the products you are offering.

Let’s take a simple example.

Let’s say you’re selling some special nutritional supplement with specific ingredients and effects.

If your SEO consultant doesn’t know anything about the product or the effects of the ingredients, they won’t be able to find every single relevant query for your product!

The more niche or complex your product, the more important it is to have an SEO consultant who either has background knowledge of your product or is able to get knowledgeable about it.

Other things to consider – are you looking to sell your product on markets with different languages?

Then you’ll ideally need an SEO expert with knowledge of that language, or find some way to have the content translated before being optimized for SEO.

Are you looking for just keywords and writing the copy yourself?

This could save you a lot of money, as you’ll only need to pay for keyword research.

Are you able to get the keywords yourself, but need someone to write the copy?

Then perhaps you’re not actually looking for an Amazon SEO expert, but a copywriting freelancer!

Always make sure that YOU are clear about what it is that you need – if not, you will find it difficult to judge if you’re getting the right person for the job.



Setting your budget


Once you’re clear about what you need, you can decide how much you are ready to pay for it.

Having a clear idea of what you can afford and what the standard market price is for the work ahead is crucial to make sure that you’re not going to overpay or worse, have to sacrifice your budget for another area.

Let’s talk about the first point – being clear about what you can afford.

Any business, whether online or not, requires careful capital management to ensure it functions well. Basically, it means being efficient with your money.

You should already have a ledger or an accounting file that tracks your budgeting per area, such as raw material purchase, shipping costs, tool subscriptions, advertising and so on.

If you’re not keeping track of all of your finances properly yourself, I strongly recommend that you get yourself a bookkeeper to do so – not only is it extremely useful to ensure that you keep proper track of your finances and budgeting, but it is also extremely helpful to make sure that your business is compliant with local income/tax laws and regulations.



Where to find Amazon consultants

If you look online for Amazon consultants, you will be given a wide range of agencies that will be happy to do the work for you.

Personally, I advise against hiring directly from such websites, for the following reasons:

  • You can never trust the offers and reviews (all content and reviews are made by website owners)

  • Agencies often ask for premium prices or act as middlemen, increasing the base amount you have to pay

  • Refunds can be tedious or downright impossible, depending on the agency and country



Instead, I recommend hiring a freelancer directly yourself – this has the following advantages:

  • You can hire from an independent freelancer platform, which prioritizes customer satisfaction above all else (for future purchases)

  • You have a much higher chance of reading real customer reviews, meaning more chance to hire the right person for the job

  • You benefit from much better security, from work contracts to smooth refunds

  • You avoid the unknown premium margins and have a larger chance to pay less for the same amount of work


Below are the direct links to find the list of freelancers for my top 3 preferred platforms:


Amazon Consultants on Fiverr

Amazon Consultants on Upwork

Amazon Consultants on Freelancer.com


If you want to know more about platforms that offer freelancing services, here’s my article reviewing 3 popular freelancing websites for Amazon freelancers/consultants/experts etc:



Spotting the real experts


So you’re now browsing one of the freelancer platforms – and you’re faced with dozens of similar results.

How do you find the right one for you?

Well, here’s the good news – the platform is designed to maximize the chances of you hiring someone and being satisfied enough to come back and hire again.

Thanks to this, most of the first results you will see should already be a good match for you.

However, here are a few things to keep in mind while you’re browsing:

  • First – make sure that what you searched for matches what you want.


This can be so obvious that it is often overlooked – you search for something and have a certain idea of what you mean behind it, yet the search engine – or the consultants – might have a different idea of what this means!

Double-check the descriptions of the top results to confirm that the results show what you’re actually looking for.

  • Make a list of potential candidates.


Firstly, even though I’ve just made a case for “best results come first”, don’t just go for the first result you see. You will want to have at least 5 different tabs open with the most suitable candidates.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of hiring the first one that looks good – but don’t rush!

Remember, if you’re looking to give away a reasonable amount of money, then it’s worth spending an extra hour ensuring you get the best fit.

  • Focus on consultants whose skill spectrum is as narrow as possible (while still fully covering your desired work).


What do I mean by this?

You might spot a consultant who does it all – from listing optimization to PPC management, knows inventory management, expert at supply chain management, etc.

Consultants who seem to be able to do everything might seem appealing, but just like in any industry, being a generalist who can do everything very often means that they are not quite as good as a specialist.

A consultant who specializes in just what you require is as such more likely to have more experience and expertise for the task at hand.

  • When looking at reviews, don’t just rely on review score/rating.


Firstly, check how many reviews the consultant has accumulated – a few reviews can always be fake ones from friends and family looking to help them out. A couple dozen gets harder to fake.

To help further on spotting the fake reviews – check the distribution of reviews.

For instance, if they have a rating of 4.5 stars with 90% being 5/5 and 10% being 1-2 stars, this should alert you – reviews for good consultants are usually distributed in an exponential-like pattern, with most reviews being 5-4 stars, very few 2-3 stars and a couple 1 stars for horrible clients who don’t know what they want.

Having only 5 stars is also shady – you cannot please 100% of people, no matter your skill. Someone with loads of 100% 5 stars reviews is either a unicorn or a liar!

Still on the reviews – take a look through the reviews to see what previous customers said, especially on the “cons” or “dislikes” part.

Try to find out if there are inconsistencies between the reviews, for instance some reviews saying “great attention to detail” while others say “could have gone into more detail”. Such comments can point out to inconsistencies in work quality, which you will want to avoid.

Basically, look for a consultant whose alleged “cons” or “weak points” are alright with you.

For instance, if you’re happy to wait longer for quality work, hiring a proper expert whose negative point is said to be that “they are slow” is actually a good sign for you.

  • Check their writing style and grammar.


An expert is often well-educated and has good knowledge of the language. While English might not be their mother tongue (my case as well!), there should be no obvious mistake that hints that they haven’t been properly educated (such as basic spelling or grammar mistakes, like “I am ppc consltant expert for you”)

Of course, you can be great at say, bid management and have terrible English – however, you’re more likely to hire a quality consultant if their description shows a good level in your target language.

Furthermore, this will make communication between you easier, which is critical to ensure that you get what you’re asking for.

The above points will not guarantee that you’ll find a proper expert if you follow them all diligently – however, they should increase the likelihood that you’ll find one.

If your gut tells you that someone isn’t competent and yet they pass the above tests, don’t just shush it – use your own flair as well to tell who might be good or not.



Conducting a proper first call


Once you have selected your top choice, it’s time to establish first contact.

The call will mostly be about confirming what you found out in the previous section i.e. that the consultant is competent and will deliver what you pay them for.

I strongly advise to insist on a video call – reason being that it’s a lot harder to fake being an expert on a live video than it is on a webpage.

If they try to dodge a video call, that could be a bad sign, unless they have a valid excuse.

While most of the call should be a simple discussion of what you need vs what they can provide, here are a few other things to ask on that first call to confirm their expertise:

  1. How did they get into this job?


This is both a good icebreaker and a good way to spot if the consultant has indeed the experience they claim to have. Usually, a competent (and truthful) freelancer will have no problem telling their story from the beginning with enthusiasm and with minimal hesitation or visible discomfort.

  • What do most of their clients ask for?


This question is aimed again at confirming that they have had a fair bit of clients. A lot of hesitation or an inability to provide a clear answer can be a sign that they’re overplaying the number of clients they have had.

  • Within their job, is there any part that they really feel they excel at or particularly like?


Watch out for freelancers who say that they are experts on everything when it comes to their job – unless they say that with visible excitement, in which case that’s a great sign.
This question is aimed more at seeing if they are truthful – someone who wants to just impress you is more likely to brag that they can give you everything at the same top-notch level of quality.

A good answer could be something like: “Well, I am an expert on every topic when it comes to X, but I suppose I have particular experience with Y, and I enjoy doing Z the most”.

The next one isn’t a question – but check out their background in the video. Does it seem like they are in a professional office, or in a small, noisy shared bedroom?

Of course, with many freelancers working remotely, many will be working from home. However, successful freelancers should have the funds to afford a good workplace (which also contributes to increased productivity!).

If they seem to work from their bedside, maybe they haven’t the skills required to afford a decent workspace – or if they do, then they may not take their job seriously enough to work in a professional way.

On the other hand, watch out for signs that they are trying too hard to impress you – full business suit, throwing business jargon around even when it’s hardly relevant, talking too much about their achievements and glorious past clients, and so on.

Finally – don’t forget to tell them clearly what you’re expecting from them, and for how much!

Don’t be shy about your demands – you’re paying money for this, and if the demands are too high for the amount you’re willing to offer, it’s the consultant’s own responsibility to negotiate.

However, keep your head cool and request another call if you feel that you’re being asked for too much or being offered too little for your money.

Remember to have your budget sheet open during the video call so you can review it anytime you need.

Better to take it slow than to quickly agree to something that you’ll later regret!



Monitoring and tracking performance


So you have finally gone through the list of consultants, found your top choice and after a video call, decided on the tasks to do and the cost – congratulations!

However, we’re not just done yet 😊

We have to make sure that your freelancer is going to deliver on time – which means task tracking and monitoring.

The best system I have personally found is to use a team task management software, such as Asana or Monday.

I personally use Asana for both my own full-time job and my personal work (like writing this article!).

A typical Asana dashboard when working with an Amazon consultant.


Having such a task-tracking software with clear responsibilities and deadlines helps tremendously to keep the workload as clear as possible.

Way too often have I dealt with external freelancers who only communicated through email – and let me tell you, you quickly lose sight of what’s going on!

“What’s happening with this task? What was the deadline again? Are they working on it? What’s the last thing they said about this other thing? Did I tell them that I need it done?”

You get the idea.

If you decide to use this kind of software – just Google for tutorials. There are plenty out there that will explain all you need to know better than I ever could.

And yes, many of them are free.

I also recommend having a weekly status quo meeting with your newly hired consultant.

Even with a clear task-tracking system, it helps to fully understand the details and intentions. Sometimes, you can’t put everything in a description box, particularly if the task is a bit creative, like creating or optimizing visual content.

There! Hopefully this is helpful in getting you to hire the right Amazon consultant for you.

Remember that this is not a step-by-step guide – please use it as general advice from someone who has/is working with Amazon freelancers.

There are naturally more aspects to hiring a consultant that I cannot mention – namely contract laws, taxes and so on – since these are dependant on local laws, which is not my area of expertise.

Still, the most important part of hiring a good consultant is – well, hiring a good consultant. I hope the above has helped you with this.

On that note, let’s keep selling!

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