Search Engine Optimization (SEO), is gaining more importance as competition for visibility in search engines increase. So why are companies so hesitant to embrace it? In a way, it’s the SEO industries own fault. In the past, it operated in not so great space, engaging in practices that were a little less than honest. While most SEO agencies have long since dropped any sketchy practices, there are still a number of illegitimate SEO companies out there spoiling the industry. There are countless companies that have gotten burned by scam SEO agencies and are now reluctant to get back into it.
While we completely understand the hesitation, not hiring an SEO agency for your company ultimately only hurts you. It all comes down to doing good research and asking the right questions.
Make sure you ask the following questions when interviewing SEO agencies and we promise you’ll save yourself from falling victim to a scam artist.
If you’ve done any research about SEO, no doubt you’ve come across the phrase “content is king” a time or two. SEO agencies hate the phrase but there is truth to it. Content is extremely important to the success of an SEO campaign. So when choosing an SEO company, make sure you understand how content will play into their plan.
Be sure to ask these content questions:
- How will our content be optimized?
- Will you create new content, work with our current content, or both?
- Why is it important to optimize content?
- Will you create new landing pages for it?
- How much content will you be creating?
- What types of content will be created? (Videos, blog posts, about pages, graphics etc.)
- Where will the content be posted? (On our site, on other sites, on secondary blogs, on social media, etc.)
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that SEO is a service. That means that you should understand exactly what you are getting when you pay for this service. Every SEO agency offers different things as part of their SEO packages. Transparency is the key thing to look for here. A good SEO company should spell out exactly what services they will provide to increase your ranking.
For SEO, keep in mind that the number and type of services will vary depending on how far along into the campaign you are. The first few months may be about technical optimization while later months may focus more on content building. Don’t be afraid to ask about hours and timelines for these tasks.
Here are a few service questions you should ask:
- What are the exact services you plan to deliver?
- How many hours will be spent per month on each service?
- How much of the website will be optimized?
- What is the timeline for each service?
- How much content, link building, and optimization can be expected per month?
Link Building Questions
Link building is an important part of SEO, but it’s also one aspect that you should keep an eye on. In the old days, SEO agencies would link your site to hundreds of sites, most not very reputable. There was little repercussion by search engines, but today Google levies heavy penalties against sites that do this practice. It’s vital that you find an SEO agency that is interested in good back linking. Understand how they will build both external and internal links so that you don’t end up with your site being penalized.
Some link building questions for you to ask:
- What kind of links will you be building?
- Roughly how many new links per month can we expect?
- How do you determine quality back links?
People often come to us and say, “Hey we have all this great content, why are we not ranking well?” The answer is almost always because their website isn’t technically optimized. Technical optimization is usually small changes that you won’t even notice, but a search engine will. It’s good to know what technical changes are being made though because if someone makes changes and they don’t know what they’re doing they can really tank your website.
Ask the following technical questions:
- Are technical improvements going to be made? What will they be?
- What information from us do you need to make these changes? (Login info, codes, etc.)
- Will you be making the changes or hiring someone else to?
A company might be legitimate and good at what they do, but if the two of you just don’t work well together it can be a disastrous experience. When interviewing SEO agencies, get to know a little about their company and how they operate. This will help you determine if it’s a good match. Knowing more about the company will also shed light on who their past clients are and what results they achieved for them.
Here are some questions to ask about the company:
- How many people are in the company and which ones will be working on the project?
- What is each team member doing?
- Can we meet them?
- Do you currently, or have you in the past, worked with anyone in our industry?
- What results has your company gotten for other clients?
In order to determine if an SEO agency is legitimate, or if they are a scam (or just plain lazy or incompetent), asking questions about results is vital. Sketchy SEO companies don’t often provide reports or fabricate results. Transparency in results is key to hiring a good SEO company. It’s the best way to knowing if you’re paying for actual results or for nothing. If a company is hesitant to give you reports or is vague, it’s time to move on.
Questions to ask about SEO results:
- How often will receive reports?
- How do you measure an SEO campaign?
- What sort of ranking increase can we expect?
- Can we see case studies?
- How do you analyze campaigns?
- How often will we, or can we, meet?
- What time frame is realistic for seeing results?
Save yourself a headache and a hit to your wallet by asking these questions the next time you’re searching for an SEO agency. If you have any more questions about SEO or SEO scams feel free to contact us.