While searching for the right SEO agency, there are some important questions to ask. Before you hire SEO expert, you need to know how does SEO work, as it could make or cripple your site.
Professional SEO Services
What is SEO service? A professional SEO agency can improve your site ranking. You could have created a great website with amazing content. Yet, there are no visitors.
The problem is probably because it is not search engine friendly, so no one is aware of its existence. There are literally thousands of sites in every niche, so locating your site is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
- Also Read – Is SEO Changing? Exposing the Top SEO Myths
In addition, SEO is an ongoing task and needs to be monitored continually to attract the target audience. It’s worth it to do your research among the SEO agencies available and pick a suitable one.
But the problem is finding the top SEO companies. You need to hire an SEO firm. You do a Google search for your location. The search results in hundreds of SEO firms around you.
- How do you start?
- On what basis do you decide?
Vital Questions to Ask Before Hiring an SEO Agency
I’ve listed the top 20 SEO questions that you need to ask BEFORE you consider hiring one.
The SEO questionnaire listed here might not be relevant to your website or blog, but most of them have a general relevance.
It will surely make the task of hiring the best SEO company much easier. This is because all SEO companies are not the same and there’s no one size fits all solution.
#1) Where is the Location?
- You don’t have to mandatorily opt for a local SEO agency. Technology has advanced and you can have a productive meeting without being physically present.
#2) What is the Response Time of the SEO Professional?
- Is the communication and response of the SEO consultant quick?
- Do they answer the phone at all times?
- Do they respond to mails and queries immediately?
#3) Is the Search Engine Optimization Company Abreast with the Times?
- SEO is a constantly changing environment and the company must keep up with the changes.
- It needs to evolve with changes in Google’s algorithm.
- In order to check out whether the potential SEO company is indeed keeping up with the latest trends, you can check out the information about seminars attended by the company; check out the blog-posts written by the company members regarding new SEO strategies and evolving technology.
- What is the process involved for creating backlinks?
- What is the price of a link? A good link could cost around $50. If some SEO agency is offering you a link for $1, that’s your cue to walk away.
- How many links are offered in a month? (At least get a rough estimate)
#5) Can I have a List of your Clients?
- Ask an SEO expert to share information about previous clients.
- Check out the SEO company reviews and testimonials from previous customers.
- Though they may not offer their entire client list, it’s enough if you get around 3 or 4 important ones.
- Check out long-term results, as they offer more credibility. For instance, an SEO agency could have brought in a lot of traffic for a specific period. There might be plenty of other reasons for the sudden surge of traffic, not entirely attributable to the agency.
#6) Does the SEO Agency Follow Google Algorithm Updates?
- Google (as well as Bing, Yahoo and others) offer several algorithm updates in a year. This improves user experience while searching with targeted keywords.
- Make sure that the agency you hire is not violating Google’s rules, or you’ll end up being penalized by Penguin or Panda, resulting in loss of traffic.
#7) What are the SEO Tools Used?
- These could be reporting tools for calculating SEO metrics; tools for building links; research and technical tools and so on.
- Are the tools used in keeping with good SEO practices?
- For instance, there are some tools that are used for generating spam comments on blogs and forums. SE Nuke and Bookmarking Demon are just two of these and if you hear about these, keep away.
#8) What are the Service Items Provided?
- Ask the SEO company to provide a list of services offered as SEO strategy, as part of website optimization services.
- Ask whether the services will evolve with time.
- How many hours will be offered?
- What are the technical aspects addressed? This could include website URL changes; internal links; web page title; headings tags and so on.
- What are the pages that will be optimized initially and in later stages? How many landing pages created?
- How many backlinks per month?
#9) What are the Optimization Methods Used?
- Will they create new content? (Content is King, you know)
- Will creating new landing pages be a part of the service?
- What is your strategy for driving up search engine ranking?
- What is the approximate time for achieving the set goals?
#10) Are you Working with our Competitors?
- Now don’t rush to think that this is a bad idea. It could be good for you.
- It means that they have the necessary resource network and partnerships suitable for your niche site.
- For instance, if they are doing SEO work for travel agencies and you’re in the same niche group, they will have good knowledge, the right kind of writers, using tactics suitable for your industry.
- Find out what the competitors are paying and the type of services being offered to them. You don’t want to be lagging behind in any respect, especially with your niche competition.
#11) How Much Time Does Your In-House Team Have to Spend When You Buy SEO Services?
- Though you have outsourced the SEO job, your in-house team of designers, content writers, developers and so on will also probably have to spend time with the SEO agency team till they are familiar with your requirements.
- To what extent will the agency be autonomous?
- Can you sign off completely, at least at a later stage?
#12) How Many Scheduled Meetings a Month?
- Will there be a weekly recap or just a monthly one?
- Will you get regular emails and reports?
- There are some collaboration tools like Asana. The SEO agency uses it for describing the ongoing tasks, and you have access to it, so you can monitor the same from your end for greater transparency.
#13) Do you Want a Long-Term Contract?
- Don’t get caught in a long-term contract.
- Go in for a trial run in the beginning, say around 3 months to begin with. This way, you will not be stuck with the wrong SEO consultants.
#14) What is the Guarantee for Achieving the No.1 Ranking?
- First page on Google is impossible to guarantee even for the best SEO agency. Get away as fast as possible if the answer to this one is 100% guarantee. It should raise the red flag immediately.
#15) What is Your Expertise in Local SEO Optimization Field?
- If you have a brick and mortar business, you need to bring in the local crowd.
- Ask for expertise in local SEO results, so that your website appears in local keyword searches.
- It involves the addition of your local address on the title tag; meta description, etc.
#16) How Will You Measure Your SEO Campaign Success?
- Your SEO consultant must be experienced in using Google Analytics and the like for tracking the traffic, the source of the traffic, the incoming links that are driving traffic to your site, the type of keywords being used.
- This is necessary for steady improvement of site ranking.
Related – SEO for Bloggers: Guidelines for Measuring SEO Success
#17) Can You Identify Why My Site is Penalized?
- If the firm is aware of Google’s algorithm updates, they can surely zero in on the cause of a penalty.
- You can rectify the problem only if you know the root cause.
- For instance, if you attack your link profile, whereas the actual culprit was the content, you’d do more harm than good.
#18) What are Your Fees?
This one is a no brainer.
- Ask for the charge, whether it is paid weekly, hourly, monthly or on a project basis.
- Project basis is the usual trend in the SEO agency business.
- Hourly rates are usually between $75 to $200, whereas monthly rates are $250 to $500.
- There are some smaller agencies that charge less.
#19) Do you have Technical Experience?
- An SEO agency must have basic technical skills.
- This includes handling 404s, server codes; redirection at server levels; rules for meta descriptions; unique title, proper web design etc.
#20) Will you Implement Social Media Features for SEO?
- Your SEO consultant must be effective in creating content that is social media friendly.
- Ability to transform social media subscribers to email ones and then customers.
Over to You
If you get vague answers for most or all of these questions, it’s time to back out and look elsewhere. It’s surely better than getting a rude shock and being penalized further down the line.
Remember, SEO is not just about technical skills; it’s a marketing strategy. Search for professionals with experience in relationship building. Look out for transparency and demonstrated or proven results. Ask these SEO agency guys to report progress to you.