9 key questions to ask an SEO company before hiring – or firing them

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Your business is your baby. Whether you own the business or are a marketer tasked with growing the business, organic traffic from Google is essential for generating more leads and sales in order to keep your sales funnel full.

Hiring an SEO company can be one of the most important marketing decisions for your business. If you find the right business, over time they can catapult you to the first page of Google, which will drive some of the most profitable traffic to your site. The reason I mentioned “profitable traffic” is that when you get the best placement on Google, you don’t have to pay for that traffic because it’s “managed” and therefore your profit margins are fantastic.

If you hire the wrong SEO company, it can set you back and do more harm than good. I have personally worked with many companies that have quit their SEO business because they were not seeing results or had given up on Google. After performing an audit, I was able to realize that there were poor quality links being built to the site, resulting in a penalty, or that there was no strategy or implementation. work giving results.

Whether you want to hire an SEO company or have to guess your current SEO company, use the questions below to make sure they’re on the right track.

1. How long will it take to rank on Google?

This is a trick question. Any SEO company that responds with “We’ll be able to rank your business within one to two months” is full of bullshit.

I apologize for being so blunt. It is these types of SEO companies that give the entire industry a bad reputation.

Of course, there are some onsite adjustments that can be made to a site that already has strong domain authority and a backlink profile that can move a website to the first page of Google. There is no guarantee however and no one should be able to give you an answer to this question without doing some research.

A safe and established SEO company will research your business and provide an estimate based on competitiveness and strategy, but will not guarantee first page results within a certain amount of time.

Related: To create an SEO strategy, you will need to be patient

2. What is the strategy for backlinks?

It amazes me how many businesses don’t have a backlink strategy.

The backlinks are the basis of the Google algorithm. If you don’t have quality backlinks to your site, it will be difficult to increase your ranking on Google. You’ll want to measure your domain authority against your competition, which is a great indicator of how well you rank on Google and also how far you need to go for that first placement. You can also view “recently discovered links” on Moz to see links that point to your site.

If you don’t have any new links pointing to your site, it probably means that no proactive action has been taken in this area.

If the SEO company says they are building backlinks to your site, ask them for the backlink profile so you can see all of the links to make sure they are legitimate.

Related: How To Build SEO Backlinks: A Beginner’s Guide

3. Will on-site optimization take place?

The user experience of your website is an important factor for Google. Do people stay on your site for a long time and have a good experience? Or is there a high bounce rate?

Our digital agency loves looking at Google Analytics on the 100 most visited pages on your site and finding out which pages have the highest bounce rate. We’ll help you find ways to correct these pages (or redirect them to more relevant pages, if they don’t help).

When looking for a solid SEO company, make sure they are always looking for ways to improve your website pages. As I mentioned, SEO is an ongoing process, so these types of projects need to be ongoing.

Related: How Long Does It Take To Become A Top Result On Google? (Infographics)

4. What is the local SEO strategy?

What percentage of your business takes place in your local market? If you are getting a good chunk of your customers or services in your local market, your website should be optimized within that local market. Ask the following questions:

  • Has my business been submitted to a local directory? (Moz Local is a great directory.)
  • Are my title tags optimized for my local market? (If the majority of your business is from the region, this is very important.)
  • Is your NAP (name, address and phone number) consistent across your site and in local directories?
  • Are you listed in the “best of” directories in your national market? (Tip: Do a Google search for “best of” lists and make sure your business is added to them. Sometimes a payment will be required for this, but it can be worth it)

Related: The Complete Guide to Dominating Local Search Optimization in 2018

5. How will reports be presented to show progress?

Moz is great software for beginners in SEO that will track your keyword rankings on Google.

Before you start with an SEO company, make sure that a list of relevant keywords has been compiled. This first list of keywords will serve as a benchmark for progress over time. If you start out in position # 40 on Google for “Cleveland Dentist,” obviously over time you’ll want to see progress as you try to climb to the first page.

Make sure this list of keywords is not too complicated. I think this is a major problem that a lot of SEO companies are doing. They make the reports so confusing that no business owner will really understand what the measurements mean. We love to compile a list of the “20 Most Relevant Keywords” that the business owner or marketer can keep an eye on.

Related: 10 fundamentals to understand SEO

6. How much time will you spend understanding our business?

For SEO to be successful, you need to really understand the company you are working with, otherwise Google won’t understand it.

We worked with a law firm that had previously worked with a PPC company that allocated 80% of their advertising budget to “workers ‘compensation law”, but workers’ compensation was only 15% of the law firm’s income. If your SEO company doesn’t understand which markets, services, and products generate revenue, your entire strategy may be misaligned.

I recommend every SEO agency and the company they work with to meet for at least 90 minutes before talking about SEO to just go over the business principles.

Related: Your SEO Checklist: 4 Steps to Optimizing Your Website

7. Is there an ongoing keyword research?

Our agency is located in Columbus, Ohio. There is almost four times the search volume for the term “Columbus digital marketing agency” than for “Columbus digital marketing company”.

Your SEO agency should be able to feature the most popular keyword variations for your homepage and inside pages that can drive more traffic to your site.

Quick advice: If you do a Google search and scroll to the bottom of the first page, Google will find “related search terms”. These are great keyword variations to include on your site. Ask your SEO company if they use this free method or a free tool like SEM Rush to find relevant keywords that can be converted for your business.

Related: SEO 2018: 15 Rules To Dominate Online Search Results

8. What is the blog’s strategy?

While many SEO companies can write generic blogs, you should ask yourself these key questions: “How relevant are these blogs to my site and to my business?” “

We constantly hear from business owners, “I’ve heard that blogging is important to Google.” Yes, blogging is useful – if the content drives relevant traffic to your business, which can lead to new business or just better educate your audience. For your blog, you need to focus on the questions your customers might have that might not be covered elsewhere on your site.

While many SEO companies compete for the term “SEO company”, there is less competition for the term “question to ask your SEO company before hiring them.” Even though readers may be earlier in the sales cycle when they search for that longer query term, their intention is still high. Plus, you have the ability to rank not only in your local market but also nationally for search terms that aren’t getting as much volume.

Don’t blog just to say you blog. Make sure it has a purpose relevant to your business.

Related: 3 reasons your blog sucks

9. Do you have three references that I can contact?

Any SEO company will have a reference they can provide to you. A more established SEO company will have at least three referrals that can speak to the success their business has had in working with the business.

Also, don’t forget to do a simple Google search to see if the SEO company you’re about to work with ranks in their local market. If not, ask why he does not practice what he preaches.

Related: The 7 Most Common Concerns Of SEO Newcomers

SEO is a giant puzzle.

A good SEO company will help you put all the pieces of your SEO puzzle together, which can make a big difference in terms of ranking on Google. It will also help you understand what’s going on with your SEO strategy, as it’s not that confusing (although many SEO companies try to make it more complex than it is).

You now have nine questions for your SEO company (prospect or current) that will give you a better understanding of their strategy before you hire them (or consider throwing them in the trash).

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