8 Questions to Ask your SEO Agency before Hiring
So you have started your business. However, your customers and clients are dwindling and the results from your recent flyer drop are not what you expected. You need a solution that will give you long-term, measurable results. Then, you discover the holy grail of online marketing: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
From here you have two options: either spend all of your valuable time and precious money taking a massive quantity of different SEO courses, joining SEO groups, and testing your knowledge, OR you can hire someone who has already been through all of the courses. Chances are, most business owners will choose the latter. Before you make any drastic decisions, please take a moment and read the questions below of things you should ask any SEO before hiring them. Many people claim they know SEO, and they will have different ideas behind what it is and how to get results. The unfortunate thing about these people is that they make the rest of us look bad. Unlike them, our team at Local Web Solutions has invested over $200,000 in our knowledge, tested countless number of theories and strategies. and continually update our knowledge. We also have a pretty neat track record. The reason I say this is not because I am about to deliver you a biased sales pitch, but quite frankly you need to know that we know what we are talking about. My only goal while writing this is to empower YOU, the business owner, to make the right decision so you don’t get scared away from what is the most powerful online marketing tool in current existence.
Here are the questions you need to ask any SEO ‘guru’ or agency before hiring them. If they can’t answer it like this, walk away and call someone else.
1. Do You Guarantee #1 Results?
The answer here should always be NO! The algorithms Google has created to rank websites is constantly being updated, and there is not one single SEO alive that can guarantee they know the algorithm so well that they can guarantee you the number one spot. However, this does not mean an SEO can’t guarantee anything, otherwise there is a lot of risk on your behalf. Most good SEO’s will do first-page guarantees on a certain percent of keywords. How long that will take and which keywords is up to the SEO; just make sure you get a detailed overview of the time frame and the amount of traffic the keywords get monthly.
2. Will You Do a Website Audit and Keyword Research?
This is a definite yes. Every SEO should provide you with a detailed audit on your website that explains the following (this may sound technical but it is the SEO’s job to explain to you what each section means):
- Meta tags
- HTTP status codes
- Site architecture
- Site performance and speed
- Is it indexed?
- Has there been a penalty?
- Age of the site
- On-Page Ranking Factors
- URL structure
- Keyword density
- Duplicate content
- General content structure
- HTML mark-ups
- Meta descriptions
- Other tags and headings structure
- Off-Page Ranking Factors
- Trustworthiness and authority
- Social engagement
- Competitive Analysis
- Who are they?
- How are they ranking?
- What are they ranking for?
Lastly, make sure they offer to do an in-depth keyword research for you that explains the monthly search traffic and competitiveness of it.
3. Show Me a List of Past Clients and Their Rankings
This one is easy—every good SEO should have a list of past clients and rankings. Look for consistency, and make sure the rankings are for solid terms, not easy to rank low competitive terms. Don’t ask the SEO to show you every single clients rankings, the reason being that there are, at times, a privacy agreement between the SEO and the client. Get them to show you at least three to five clients.
4. Do You Practice White-hat SEO?
The answer to this should be a very confident yes. Black hat SEO is a short-term strategy that can do more harm than good to your site. Rankings can be achieved with just white hat SEO; however, they usually take a lot longer. Expect results with three to six months. Here is a useful link that explains the difference between white and black hat SEO.
5. How Often Will You Communicate with Me?
This should be worked out with your SEO to suit your preference. We have a variety of clients that like to chat with us regularly and some who just want their report every month. At the very least, the SEO should make an effort to contact you personally at least once a month with their reports.
6. How Will You Measure the Results?
At minimum, you should receive monthly reports that shows you rankings, traffic growth, and general changes and improvements made. This report should be clearly labelled with descriptions of each section and what they mean. You are paying an SEO good money to do what they do, so make sure they are making your life easier, not harder. Keywords will not rise every single month—sometimes they even drop. Just ensure that there are more keywords going up than down more often. Be patient within the first three months. If zero results have happened after four months, simply leave.
7. Do You Do Contracts?
Most SEO’s will require you to be on a six-month contracts, this is because results take time. Some SEO’s do three-month contracts, as they may be more confident. Then, there are companies like us that do zero contracts. This way, it is guaranteed that we will work for your money every single month.
8. What Happens When We Part Ways?
All work done to your website is yours, so no SEO should ever threaten to take it away or lower your rankings; this will happen over time, as no SEO work is working on your site. A good SEO company will have you sign a contract that protects you from them having any rights to your content and website. If you are required to sign a contract, ensure they state the early-release contract rules from the beginning and you sign off on it.
I hope these questions give you more confidence when approaching SEO companies. Remember that SEO is going to be a big majority of your marketing budget, so ensure you are giving it to the right person and they can give you a return on your investment. SEO should be making you money, not costing it.