Have you searched for your company name on Google? This is a branded search hence you must be at the #1 position on the results page. What do you see? If you can’t find your website on the results, now is the perfect time to hire an SEO company. SEO services help in obtaining better search engine visibility. However, not all SEO companies can help you with this. So, how can you ensure that you are not hiring a mediocre provider?
Here are the important questions to ask prospective SEO specialists.
1) Can I have a list of your past and current clients?
Better yet, ask the consultant if the company has any success stories that he or she can share with you. It should have one and not necessarily its own website. Only the most reputable can share such a list with you. The answer will help in gauging the prospect’s effectiveness. You can also verify whether the stories the consultant shared with you is true or not.
2) How will you go about improving my site’s ranking?
Proposals often indicate an initial review of your website. Good thing if the proposal details the goals, strategies, and timeframes. If a prospect cannot even provide you with a decent proposal, it only shows how inept a company it is. Avoid companies who cannot freely discuss their optimization methods with you.
3) Do you adhere to Google’s webmaster guidelines?
Google has a clear set of optimization guidelines and best practices. Ask if the prospect has been penalized by Google before. If it is, chances are, the company is not complying with Google’s quality guidelines. This can happen to your website too. Don’t bother contacting the company again.
4) Can you guarantee a #1 ranking?
Such question must not be answered with a YES. There are guarantees, but not a #1 position. Definitely, a red flag! It is very unethical for an SEO consultant to promise such especially when he or she already failed to do so for previous clients.
5) How experienced are you with local SEO?
Particularly for the local businesses, it is critical to know if the provider utilizes local SEO. You want to know that the business can bring in the right traffic to your website, or the people who will consider your business and will actually do business with you.
6) Are you going to make changes to my site?
Important changes will be made to your website, so make sure that the prospect can relate to you what those changes will be. Bonus points if the prospect can relate how each change may impact your site’s traffic and ranking.
7) Are you using metrics?
Measuring the success of the SEO campaign is an absolute must. Monitoring and evaluation are fundamental parts of SEO, so reports are very welcome. For one, the prospect must know what Google Analytics is and how to use it. It is important to know what metrics they are using and the frequency of sharing the analytics with you.
8) How are going to communicate?
Between agencies and clients, communication cannot be ignored as well as the quality of such. Make sure that the prospect can update you on a regular basis. Determine how the prospect plans to reach out to you, particularly on issues wherein your permission is needed.
9) Do you have packages?
Asking this question is a polite way of asking what the payment terms and fees are. As a paying client, you need to know where your money goes into.
10) Can I bail out if I am not happy with the results?
If you are not happy with the services of the provider, you should be able to terminate the contract. Nonetheless, you also need to know what are you taking with you when you part ways with the company and whether there will be fees for early contract termination. As a rule of thumb, you maintain ownership of the results of services that you have already paid for. Simply, read the fine print before signing the contract.
As Google puts it, an irresponsible and incompetent SEO company can only do more damage than good. It is your responsibility to determine if the company that best fits not just with your SEO needs, preferences and expectations, but also with your company culture. Your presence and reputation are at stake, so invest a little more of your time to investigate the prospects.