There are some fantastic SEO agencies out there, in fact the first one I ever worked with win my early 20’s felt like part of the company and was so responsive and high quality I got a little spoilt and just presumed everyone was like that.
The reality is they aren’t. For every top notch SEO agency, there are a dozen chancers trading on people’s lack of knowledge (as is the case with any industry, so don’t think I am bad mouthing SEO professionals).
From my own experiences, and reading other people’s, here are 8 questions I think you should ask any SEO professional who you have asked to pitch for your business.
These will prevent any future stress or strife further down the line. Please note:
These are not in any order of importance and I am going to presume you have already asked about prices by the pitching stage.
Can you show me examples of your previous work?
This includes performance reports and hard data to demonstrate their effectiveness. Even if they can’t tell you who their clients are, they should be able to tell you which keywords they worked on and how they improved rankings.
Do I keep any text links you buy on my behalf if we part company?
Some agencies will try to lock you in by renting links on your behalf but maintaining ownership of them. This means if you part company, you’ll lose the links as well.
Do I retain copyright on any new content you write for my website?
Using the same principle as above, if they own any new content, they can demand you remove it as well.
What improvements would you make to my home page right now?
A good agency will do their research before they meet you and start making mental notes on how they would improve your one-site SEO.
Can I come to your offices and meet the team?
This obviously depends on how big they claim to be. If you know they are operating out of their bedroom, then this is unfair.
If they claim to be a large operation you can see for yourself, and get to meet the team who will work on your account. People will work harder for those they know, so it will benefit you as well.
What is your approach to link building?
If they exclusively buy links, it is your website that will be penalised not theirs. If they are going to create “link bait”, tie them down to exactly what that means and if it is included in the price.
Have you worked in this industry before?
Every industry is different, as are the authoritative websites Google looks to, to gauge quality links. Generic directory submissions are largely a waste of time.
You need quality links from your industry related websites; do they know who they are?
How often will I get reports?
Reporting on a keyword’s performance is very easy, so they have no excuse not to do this.
Additionally they should be telling you how much traffic you are receiving from your target keywords, and most importantly, sales generated.