8 crucial questions to ask before hiring an SEO agency

Are you considering a new SEO agency to improve your search engine rankings? If the answer is yes, Here are 8 most important questions to ask.

There is an interesting saying, “If you have to hide a dead body, put it on page 2 of a search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo etc.). Increased search engine visibility can push the traffic on your website up North that can make your brand / website more visible thus increasing your sales or generate more leads eventually helping you get a better ROI / profitability in your online business.

With the ever-changing scenario of Google’s frequent algorithmic updates it gets impossible to manage the search engine optimization efforts on your own or by hiring an internal team because they typically feel challenged as the exposure is limited only to 1 or 2 internal websites thus making the efforts prone to mistakes leading to penalties or a very slow improvement. It might make sense to hire an experienced and reliable search engine optimization (SEO) agency / company.

Question 1
What do you know about the recent Google’s algorithmic updates?

An experienced and ethical SEO agency must be familiar with the most important Panda and Penguin updates. However, there are other Google search algorithm updates that are important and must be known in depth. Some of these are the Humming Bird, 7 Result SERPs, the Knowledge Graph, Exact Match Domain update, Link Warnings, DMCA Penalties,  etc.. Any top SEO firm should be able to explain to you the impact these updates have and why should they be evaluating and benchmarking if there is any impact on your website in relation to the above.

Question 2
What type of work execution and analytics reports will I be receiving?

While every business will need a custom reporting based on the objectives and nature of business, some of the must have reports are as follows:

Campaign Analysis

  • Keyword Trending and Ranking Report
  • Detailed Traffic Analysis Reports
  • Off Page submissions report
  • Conversion Tracking Reports


Most importantly, any report that is made must be actionable and must help in deciding or analyzing the next steps to improve the traffic, conversion or engagement.

Question 3
Will you guarantee that my website will rank #1 on Bing, Yahoo or Google search engine results?

A lot of customers ask me this question. Beware, any SEO company that shows you a rosy picture by guaranteeing you to be visible in top position is there for making a quick buck out of you. You will be lucky if you really get a rank with relevant and high competition keywords in a short time, irrespective of whatever happens and should you decide to stop the engagement, the over committing SEO firm would have milked you for a few months by that time. Instead, focus on understanding the process. A right process, more often than not will yield the desired results.

Google also clearly states that any SEO agency that guarantees a SERP is violating their guidelines. No agency can guarantee the top position in Google

Question 4
What techniques will you use and how will you get me to the #1 search engine ranking?

If you get an answer that indicates that the techniques are secret, too long to explain or we do a lot of things that are difficult to explain to a layman etc. then you must be immediately alarmed. Any ethical SEO agency will not only tell you a plan of execution but also will ask you many questions and provide you loads of suggestions.

Ethical SEO involves white hat techniques and if your SEO Company is following the guidelines, they should be able to explain them to you.

Question 5
Will you be using content marketing or blogging strategies to improve search engine rankings?

Content marketing or inbound marketing has become paramount in the past few years. Any ethical or genuine SEO agency will have a complete strategy around on site blogging or third party articles. It’s important to write high quality content in the form of blog posts, guest articles or press releases and then follow it up with a proper content syndication strategy.

Question 6
Do I need to tell you the keywords or will you identify it yourself? How will we decide which keywords are important?

There are many factors that decide the right key phrase to be picked for optimization. While typically single phrases have large search volumes but these are not transactional key phrases and vice-e-versa. Long tail keywords are important as they have a higher ROI and are transaction oriented. A smart SEO consultant will keep a delicate mix of short and long tail keywords, so that you regularly get an improvement in traffic instead of just waiting on and on for months.

Question 7
Who will be working on my account? Can I talk to my account manager before signing the contract?

Make sure that you figure out if the person working on your account is knowledgeable and experienced in the SEO field and not a fresh college graduate.

Question 8
My business is local. Can you improve my local search results or map search listings?

If you have a local business, you could get really benefitted by appearing in the local search results or map listings. These listings get triggered when someone is searching for your business keywords in the close vicinity or defined geography. In order to get successful in “local SEO” a separate set of techniques are used

If you sincerely ask the above questions and you are able to tick off all the check boxes above based on the responses received from the SEO firm, consider that you may have stumbled upon one of the best SEO agencies around.

So go ahead do your homework and see your rankings soar high.

About the author – Mohit Sareen is a digital marketer, web strategist, traveler and serial entrepreneur. He is currently the chief executive officer at Elixir Web Solutions – A Digital Media Agency and Founder at Jungli CEO -A travel networking concept.

 

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