Hiring an SEO company to help promote your website shouldn’t require a degree in rocket science.
Picking the wrong agency might lead to disaster, which is why it’s important to ask several critical questions before you decide to hand any money over to an SEO provider.
How Will Your Staff Help My Website Earn Links?
Ask the agency how they plan on acquiring new backlinks to your site. If they can’t answer your question quickly, and in great detail, then politely end your meeting with them.
Earning new links to your site is critical to the success of your SEO efforts, any agency that sounds the least bit fuzzy regarding their tactics either does not know how to earn links or is planning black hat activities. Both of which are your cue to move on to the next agency on your list.
If they can detail their linking strategies, check them against these Link Building Best Practices put together by none other than LinkMoses himself. If not, keep your search alive until you find an agency who will meet those standards.
Who’s Responsible For Your SEO Strategy?
Some SEO firms will make decisions that move your business closer to black hat techniques, while others will follow the best practices put forth by Google.
There’s no meaningful way to gauge the risks unless you have a full appreciation of the prevailing philosophy their link building team follows.
It’s also important that the buck stop with one individual. That person better should be an excellent communicator and an even better problem solver.
If you can’t talk to this person directly, take your business elsewhere.
What Is Your Metrics for Success?
Success is IMPOSSIBLE to achieve without first having agreed upon parameters that will define the success of the agency’s efforts.
Quantifiable goals need to be in place. If you’re looking to increase active daily users, it’s important that the SEO Team’s reports track that metric and not something else.
Here are the metrics I track. If the vendor can’t hang with that, then send him or her back to their sad little cubicle.
How Will I Be Kept Informed of Site Changes?
The folks working on the SEO for your site will likely need to make changes to both content and the underlying structure of the site. It’s important that modifications being fully documented and properly authorized.
All interested parties also need to be kept in the loop. If you have a separate company handling web coding, database administration and hosting, they’re likely to want to know when and where the professionals will be poking around within their systems. They may also need to authorize admin-level access to servers.
How Will Your Keyword Research Conducted?
Knowing what your users are hunting for is critical to crafting your marketing strategy. Search engine optimization companies for small business have a broad range of tastes regarding the tools they prefer to use for researching keyword phrases.
You’ll also want to know how the agency plans on communicating keyword recommendations to you. One organization might offer dashboard access to such reports, while another may only present specific recommendations within reports sent to you. Whatever approach is employed, you’ll want an existing record of all keyword recommendations.
Are You Prepared to Make Adjustments Over Time?
The world of SEO is one of constant flux. Search engine providers are trying to stay ahead of unscrupulous tactics, while everyone else is trying to catch up.
It’s important to know that the firm in charge of your SEO campaign will be prepared to make changes, sometimes on the fly.
You’ll also want to have an agreement in place for how the agency will bill you for these adjustments and what manner of authorization will be necessary to implement them.
How Do You Stay Current With Trends?
At a bare minimum, the SEO company you hire should be encouraging its employees to read the Google Webmaster Central blog regularly. The GWC Blog is where Google itself informs the SEO industry about best practices and changes.
How Will Your SEO Company Bill Me?
Everybody in the SEO world likes to charge in different ways. Some, especially freelancers, like hourly billing, while others may favor monthly retainers or even yearly billings.
How Does User Interface Factor In What You Offer?
A capable SEO firm will take a long look at your user interface. Increasingly, the time users spend on your web pages is becoming a vital ranking factor. The SEO professionals you hire should demonstrate a willing to address these issues early on in the process.
Finding the right SEO company for your job means weeding out the bad ones. By asking the right questions, you can get a step closer to forming a partnership that will last for years.