Ask for a technical and search audit for your site to learn what they think needs to be done, why, and what the expected outcome should be. You'll probably have to pay for this. You will probably have to give them read-only access to your site on Search Console. (At this stage, don't grant them write access.) Your prospective SEO should be able to give you realistic estimates of improvement, and an estimate of the work involved. If they guarantee you that their changes will give you first place in search results, find someone else.
Another ethical controversy associated with search marketing has been the issue of trademark infringement. The debate as to whether third parties should have the right to bid on their competitors' brand names has been underway for years. In 2009 Google changed their policy, which formerly prohibited these tactics, allowing 3rd parties to bid on branded terms as long as their landing page in fact provides information on the trademarked term. Though the policy has been changed this continues to be a source of heated debate.
In addition to measuring your website traffic, you need to track your conversion rates. For example, if, as a result of your search engine marketing efforts, your traffic doubles from 250 to 500 visitors per month, how many new customers did you acquire from the additional 250 visitors to your site? Do you now have twice as many customers as you did before? If you picked up 5 customers your conversion rate would be 2 percent of the new traffic (5 divided by 250) and 1 percent (5 of 500) overall.