Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be described as the art and the science of getting a website to appear in organic (non-paid or natural) search engine results when a search submits a query relevant to that website. Websites position rise and fall in search engine rankings and results. Sometimes it is clear why this happens, sometimes the reasons are confused.
Doing SEO yourself takes a lot of time. And if you are not yet an expert in this field, there is also a chance that your efforts will fail. It might make sense to hire an experienced, reliable SEO company or agency. But it is not an easy task to find a good and reliable company for SEO especially when you don’t have right questions to ask in your mind.
Here are some essential questions to ask when hiring prospective SEO company or agency:
Most SEO companies will be happy to give examples of some clients they have worked on. In addition, they should be able to easily show their results and this is the key to identifying which companies are trustworthy and which companies are not. You should be able to at least tell you if there is a positive impact on their search ranking, especially in conversions and in gaining traffics.
Trust questions you should ask:
How long have you been in SEO business?
May I have a list of past clients and their results?
Can you show me examples of your previous work and share some success stories?
Following Google’s best practices is crucial to long-term traffic growth. Therefore it is very important that SEO always uses legitimate techniques to promote your website or business. An unethical SEO might take shortcuts that can temporarily boost rankings and consequences, such as getting outright banned from the search engines. Once you are out, it is very difficult to get back in.
Ethics questions you should ask:
Do you follow Google’s best practices?
Do you follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines?
What experience have you with Google policy violations and handling of Google penalties?
When asking your potential SEO company it’s also worth finding out how their pricing works. How do they charge you for their work? Is it per project, per hour or monthly? How much you will have to pay and when? Is there an interest fee for late payments? Having clear payment structure from the start will minimize frustrations on both sides in the future.
Price questions you should ask:
What are your fees and payment terms?
Which factors determine the price for your SEO service? And how?
What happens if we terminate the contract?
No one knows the exact Google’s algorithm and how Google’s algorithm will change. And any SEO who claims to have special “tricks” or secret methods to be number-one or first page on Google, Bing and Yahoo, they’re lying. Don’t hire them. There is not a set time frame in which you can become number-one. You should ask if there is a number-one ranking or first page guarantee, but use this question to disqualify any company that promises this guarantee.
Algorithm questions you should ask:
Can you guarantee my website will achieve a number-one ranking or the first page on Google, Bing and Yahoo for a major search term?
What kind of results do you expect to see, and in what time frame?
How do you measure success?
Good SEO company should be more than willing to tell you the actual SEO practices and SEO tools they are using. If they’re not going to tell you what their techniques are, I don’t recommend hiring the agency because they are performing potentially harmful actions.
Method questions you should ask:
What types of SEO work will you do?
Which SEO tools do you use?
How will you improve my search engine rankings?
A good SEO company will be more than willing to explain clearly how they do what they do. Good SEOs want their clients to understand what they are doing. So communication is very important. If you choose to hire a SEO company you need to ask in advance to give you a contact person you can contact in case you have questions related to SEO.
A good SEO company will send you regular reports, recommendations and a detailed log of any website changes. Reporting should be completely transparent.
Knowledge transfer questions you should ask:
How will we communicate and how often?
How will you keep me informed of changes you make to our website?
How often will you report on your work?
By asking these questions and evaluating the answers to determine the practices and policies an SEO company employs, you can filter out black-hat SEOs and find a company that delivers long-term success.