SEO can be daunting. Some folks don’t even know what it means. (For the uninitiated, it’s SEO. But we are initiated, aren’t we?)
Hiring the right SEO freelancer, professional or agency will determine the success of your online presence—if you choose the right one—grow your business. With a growing pool of people claiming to be experts in SEO, how do you weed out the experts from the scoundrels and the inexperienced?
Here are a few key questions to ask about SEO that will help you determine the right fit for your business. And yes, we encourage you to ask these of our own team.
1. What is SEO?
A basic question… right?
Your agency needs to have the answers you don’t have. Ensure your agency can explain and demistify SEO in a way that makes sense to you. Otherwise, what’s the point?
2. What are your methods for improving my search engine rankings?
Every agency or SEO consultant will use somewhat different techniques, but there are foundational principles and best practices every agency should follow. Clients should be wary of anyone who doesn’t share their methods for how they plan to improve your rankings.
Make sure they intend to assess your current site for areas of improvement such as broken links, duplicate content, and other items that could be contributing to poor rankings. More than likely, your SEO partner will want to incorporate on-page optimization to make your site as friendly to search engines as possible. This includes adding relevant, strategic keywords to your content, while expanding it in some places and pruning it in others.
Some details may be kept private until you kick off a partnership. Still, make sure they have an overarching plan that includes assessing your site and planning the appropriate tactics accordingly.
3. How will you communicate changes made to my site, and how often?
Effective SEO tactics will likely translate to a number of changes to your site, all of which you should not occur without your knowledge and approval. Whether your SEO strategy is being updated or created from scratch, it’s important to know what adjustments are being made and on which pages.
4. What is your reporting and meeting cadence?
It’s typical to receive a monthly report that covers traffic, leads, recent optimizations, overall strategy, analysis of performance and next steps for improvement. You should feel comfortable and educated on your SEO performance, strategy and plan.
5. How will you earn links for my website?
Backlinks are a link to your site from another website or web directory. Getting backlinks from high-quality sources improves the overall visibility and authority of your site in the eyes of search engines. Your SEO agency or consultant should have a plan for how to obtain more meaningful backlinks.
6. When will my site start seeing results?
A tricky question, but one that any SEO expert will be asked. An important thing to remember is that good SEO practices are a continual process, and Google may pick up on those in a week, a month, or even longer than that. Since there are so many contributing factors, it’s hard to determine exactly how long it will take to see results.
A quality SEO expert understands that you will continue to see improvements in your site over time, and anyone who gives you an exact number or promises immediate results is someone to avoid.
7. Have you worked with clients in my industry before?
Many industries have specific language they use and even more specific markets they target. The right SEO expert will work diligently with you to understand your business, ensuring successful results. This doesn’t necessarily require first-hand experience in your industry, but we recommend you either find an agency who knows your industry or who has the ability—and plan—to learn it.
If your SEO expert doesn’t understand what your business does or who it serves, neither will Google.
8. When will we reach the #1 search ranking on Google?
This is one of the easiest ways to find out the quality of your SEO consultant or agency. If they are simply looking to make a quick buck, they’ll guarantee #1 rankings. But here’s the truth — no one can guarantee #1 rankings. Here are a few reasons why:
- No one knows when or how Google’s algorithms will change (only how to handle changes after the fact)
- “Doing everything right” within Google’s algorithms is still not an exact science
- Your competitors will always be changing what they’re doing. It’s not enough to match Google. You also have to beat your competition.
A guarantee to reach position #1 is a guarantee of one thing only: don’t work with the agency making such bold promises.
Have a different SEO question? We have answers.
Not seeing your question here? Get in touch with our team to ask any question you’ve got. We’re here to make the digital impact your business needs.