SEO coach, SEO mentor or SEO consultant, choose the right fit for your business

#14 Choose between an SEO coach, mentor and consultant


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I want to help you distinguish between SEO coach, SEO mentor and SEO consultant. I thought that these were used interchangeably until I started looking into it in more detail.

In this post I will show you the difference an offer advice on how to approach choosing an SEO professional to help you rank your website.

Let’s look at the options briefly.

SEO coach

An SEO coach has a strong experience in SEO in general and has a great teaching skills.

Ideal for: Those new to SEO who want to learn and do it themselves, or those who want to improve their existing SEO knowledge and skills.

Your Focus: Personal development and skill-building in SEO.

Method: Self-guided courses, 1:1 coaching to help you learn and implement SEO best practices yourself.

SEO mentor

An SEO mentor has a hand-on experience in your specific niche. An SEO mentor is amazing at 1:1 conversations.

Ideal for: Those with some SEO experience who want personalized guidance and support from a more experienced professional.

Your Focus: Long-term professional growth and strategic guidance in SEO.

Method: Shares experiences, knowledge, and advice to help you make informed decisions and navigate your specific SEO journey.

SEO consultant

An SEO consultant is great at doing things. She or he has direct experience implementing changes and being more responsible for the outcomes of those changes than the other SEO vendors.

Ideal for: Those who want someone to handle their SEO entirely or need expert help with specific tasks such as rank drop investigation or website migration issues.

Your Focus: Specific SEO tasks and project implementation.

Method: Analyzes your website, develops an SEO strategy, and executes specific tasks (e.g., keyword research, content optimization, link building) on your behalf.

Side by side

Let’s look at a more detailed comparison with costs and engagement options for each of the three types of SEO vendors.

FeaturesSEO coachSEO mentorSEO consultant
FocusSkill-buildingLong-term growthProject execution
MethodCourses (MOOC, CBC), 1:1 coachingAdvice, experience sharing, regular callsAnalysis, strategy, implementation
Ideal forBeginners, skill developmentOwners/managers with some SEO experienceNeeding hands-on help
DIYYesYes (but with guidance)No
EngagementHourly and sessions per monthHourly and sessions per monthHourly, retainer, project-based
Cost$50-$200/hr or $500-$2,000/mo$100-$300/hr or $1,000-$3,000/mo$150-$500/hr or $2,000-$10,000+ per project
Comparing SEO coach, SEO mentor and SEO consultant to help business owners choose the right vendor.

Cost of SEO

The cost figures in the table above are ranges based on my own experience and industry surveys like this one by Ahrefs. Ahrefs polled 439 people to identify average costs of various SEO related services.

It’s important to remember that when it comes to SEO cost you get what you pay for. Cheap or affordable SEO services are unlikely to drive any significant results. SEO coaches, mentors and consultants are services based on experience and experience costs. Check this SEJ post to better understand SEO pricing options.

Recalling the Picasso’s napkin story:

A Parisian admirer reportedly asked Picasso for a napkin sketch. He obliged, but charged a hefty sum: one million francs.

The lady was shocked: “How can you ask for so much? It took you five minutes to draw this!”
“No”, Picasso replied, “It took me 40 years to draw this in five minutes.”

From JG Contemporary

Your coach, mentor or consultant is much like Picasso and his napkin story. A good coach is dedicated years, made mistakes and learned from them so you don’t have to.


Here is a step-by-step process of finding and choosing your SEO vendor, be it a coach, mentor or consultant.

Step 1: Consider your needs

Always start with your specific case. SEO vendors need specifics from you to help you.

  • What specific areas of SEO do you want to improve?
  • What is your monthly/total budget?
  • Do you want them to handle your SEO or do you want to DIY?
  • How comfortable are you with SEO yourself?

Step 2: Research coaches

Read their blogs, listen to podcases, watch their videos, and see if their approach aligns with your goals.

The SEO industry has matured and many practitioners have a great grasp on fundamentals. What differentiates them is their personality and experience in your specific fields.

Your goal is not to find the best, but to find the right SEO coach, mentor or consultant.

Step 3: Read reviews

See what other clients have experienced before making a decision. It sounds obvious but sometimes overlooked because low trust in customer reviews.

Yes, SEO consultants, coaches and mentors will only feature positive reviews on their websites. But see if you have find 3rd party websites with more objective reviews. When looking at negative reviews, pay attention at how the practitioner responded, if responded at all.

Look for reviews featuring your specific needs. For example, if you’re looking for an eCommerce SEO, look for reviews that mention eCommerce SEO details and issues solved by the SEO consultant, mentor or coach.

Step 4: Schedule a discovery session

Many coaches, mentors and consultants offer free consultations to discuss your needs and see if you’re (company, niche) a good fit. Take advantage of those discovery sessions.

In preparation to the call provide your vendor with as much input as you can in a short form. This will help you use the 15-minute exploration discussion in the most productive way.

Treat the discovery call as an interview, not as a way to get free SEO consultation. Ask questions about their experience in your field. Try to meet them (virtually or in person) and learn about them as a person beyond SEO.

Leave comments, ask questions, let me know what you think in the comments section below. And sign-up for the newsletter if you want more posts like this in the furture.

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