Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. The advice I would give would be first to asses your budget and goals so you are more prepared for a consultation. Then see if the company you're talking with is ranking in the search engines for "their" industry search terms. ie sacramento seo company, etc. Then check to see if they have results from other clients they have worked with as well as testimonials and reviews.The next step would be to talk with them and see what kind of questions they ask and if there is a connection. A proper consultation should be about you, your business, and the goals you want to achieve not about how great they are.
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. Interesting question. I think I would want to know how to weed through all the shenanigans in the industry to find the right service provider. Business owners are being hit every day with big over-night success promises, that it is hard to know who you can trust. Inside secret? Massive amounts of backlinks does not work anymore, it's quality not quantity now, and there is no such thing as a "cheap" service that actually delivers results.
Q. What questions should a consumer ask to hire the right service professional?
A. I think I pretty much covered this above but because the industry is changing so rapidly you may want to ask how often they educate themselves. Some SEO professionals are not too up-to-date and 10 yrs experience is quite irrelevant now. The landscape has changed much just in the last few months and weeks and will continue to change. You have to be up on that.
If you think they may be the one, you can also ask for references for assurance.