Choosing an SEO agency for your business is not just important, it’s critical. It could be the one thing that takes your business website from getting zero monthly views to thousands of clicks per day. In case you don’t know, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is how you get your website to rank on major search engines like Google. The goal is to get your website on the first page of Google, and then hopefully in the first three listings. This will get more traffic to your website, more clicks, and ultimately, more sales. When choosing an SEO agency, there’s a lot to consider before signing a contract and getting to work.
GR0: 10 Smart Questions You Need to Ask an SEO Agency Before You Hire
1. Don’t hire an SEO team that has writers overseas
Make sure they are US-based and you as the client can speak to them directly, otherwise, it’s a red flag. If you can’t talk to the people who are producing your content, something is up. One of the most important aspects of working with an SEO agency is communication. You need to know exactly what work you’re getting, and you need to be able to make changes if need be. You can’t do this if you can’t talk to the team or writer responsible for your content.
2. Find out where and how the SEO company gets backlinks
Ask them to show you the specific placements and ensure they are not paying for links. Backlinks are links that are created when a website is linked to another website. This is important because the more websites that link to your website, the more it will have a positive effect on your site’s ranking and visibility on search engines. It shows that your website has authority on whatever topic it’s discussing. Buying backlinks is actually against Google’s guidelines. If for some reason a company is caught buying backlinks, it will dramatically impact your organic search traffic.
3. Ask for case studies with real and concrete data
If they can’t back up their claims, move on. You want to see numbers and results that prove they are a successful business, and that the results they give you will be successful as well. Ask to see examples of work they’ve done for previous clients and to see the results of that work. For example, ask them to show you how their SEO strategy was implemented in another business, and if it boosted sales and website clicks.
4. Ask to speak with a current customer and ask about their experience, and read online reviews, too
Reviews are helpful and will give you a great indication of whether or not you want to work with a certain company. However, speaking to a current customer will give you an idea of how the company works and if they are true to their word. A paying customer is likely to always be brutally honest, which is what you want. You need to know if the agency has been difficult, not followed through on their contract, and not produced the promised results.
5. Ask for any certifications
This should be an easy one. SEO agencies should always be transparent about things such as certifications. What are they qualified to do? What can they do and what can’t they do? Do your own research on the company as well to see if there’s any information on their certifications. It’s not a deal-breaker if they don’t have certifications, but it’s nice to know if there’s legitimacy to their qualifications.
6. Ask about the experience and ethics of the founders
This is one question many people overlook. The people running the company should have values that align with yours (in terms of business and ethics) and the necessary experience. The longer a company has been around does not necessarily equate to experience and expertise. SEO startup companies are often producing some of the best work and are definitely worth looking into.
7. Follow the company on social media and see what content they put out
This will be a huge indicator of whether or not you want to work with them. If you don’t like their content, chances are you won’t like the content they create for you. You want to work with a brand that is in line with the same quality of content you expect for your own business.
8. Ask about their fees and contracts (and how to get out of a contract in case things are not going the way you planned)
You want to know all of the costs upfront. Ask to see every cost explained on paper, and make it clear you won’t pay for anything not outlined in a contract. Things don’t always go as planned, so make sure you also ask how to get out of a contract if they are not delivering the work as promised. For example, see if there’s a termination fee or a loophole for non-completion of work. You want to know all of your options upfront.
9. Ask for a technical and search audit
This isn’t as complicated as it might sound. This basically means the SEO agency does their own background check on your website. They’ll look at things like your target audience, and more in-depth aspects such as technical issues (crawl errors, indexing, etc.), keyword research, analysis of your top competitors, putting together meta data, backlinks, and growth strategies. After they perform the audit, they should be able to give recommendations and strategies based on their findings.
10. Find your firm by word of mouth, not just by searching “best SEO firms.”
While searching for agencies is obviously a great place to start, take it a little further. Ask around and talk to other businesses. See who they used for their own websites and what they thought of them. Reviews are reliable, but talking to someone directly will tell you all you need to know about whether a certain agency is reputable and reliable.
When choosing an SEO agency, you need to ask these 10 smart questions. You need to work with an agency that is transparent in their work, listens to and addresses your concerns, and produces high-quality work for your business. At the end of the day, you want the agency to boost your business, resulting in more money and more organic traffic for your website. Don’t be afraid to ask these questions, and any questions not on this list that you think are relevant to your decision about working with the agency. If something feels off to you, it probably is! Once you have all the information you need, you can make the right decision regarding an SEO agency.