Questions to ask when Hiring an SEO Agency/Consultant
There are millions of so-called SEO consultants and agencies out there, many of which are people who do a bit of marketing and a bit of web design. You then get people out there working in their boxer shorts at home with the curtains closed over pretending to be Freelance SEO experts.
There are lots of great SEO Agencies and Freelance SEO guys who genuinely do work from home but at times it can be very difficult to establish the difference between the good and the bad. A lot of people can talk a good game and can seem very genuine, this results in many of them somehow talking themselves into some really good and well-paid SEO work but on a daily basis I get people coming to me asking for advice and all I ever hear is ” The SEO didn’t provide the results “.
When I’ve done a little bit of research on a particular SEO on somewhere like Linkedin I’ve seen that the SEO in question has only been an SEO for a year or so. SEO isn’t something anyone can learn in a year or two, you can get a good understanding of SEO in that time, you need to make sure that the SEO you do choose to go with has a proven track record, and has the experience required to handle your business, as it can be a costly mistake by using someone who has no proven track record.
Over the years I’ve had questions from people looking to hire me, and questions that people should have asked their SEO prior to using them, so I’ve got a list below for you to ask your SEO company/agency/freelancer prior to hiring them.
Ask how long the SEO who is going to be doing your work has done SEO? How long the agency has been in business isn’t too important but try and establish how long the person or team who is doing SEO for that agency has been doing SEO. Lots of agencies use people on internships to do a lot of work, others outsource their work to other people, but what you need to see is results, previous examples of work and know that you are using an experienced SEO.
Is the SEO work outsourced? There is nothing wrong with agencies outsourcing work. Agencies personally outsource a lot of work to me and I provide good rankings so it’s win win. Although this is the case, there are agencies who outsource their work to places like Mumbai and that can lead to some poor quality work, language barrier is also another issue as there are many others that can come from outsourcing work to a country where English isn’t their native language.
Examples of current clients who rank well ? Make sure it’s not a sawmill in your local area or something similar where there is only one of that particular client in any area as that’s not good SEO because of the fact it’s a niche that has low competition. A good SEO will be able to rank your website in a competitive market and have some good keywords on page 1, not page 2-3 or even further down the list. Don’t fall for seeing clients analytics where it shows they get loads of traffic ( as this is open to manipulation ), you need to see good competitive keywords ranking well. Bare in mind though that an SEO agency or Freelancer is not going to hand you their client list, no-one would but a couple of examples of recent work that they have carried out from start to finish.
Does this SEO tie you into a contract? Any SEO worth their salt will not keep you in a contract. It is normal for an SEO company to bill in advance and want 30 days notice to stop their services in case they have got any scheduled work planned ahead but you should not get tied into any long term SEO contracts as there are no guarantees in SEO and you don’t want to be tied into anything that might not work for you. It’s a results driven business and not wise to be stuck in a contract when something isn’t working out for you. That could be a costly mistake.
How often will I get a report ? When you pay for a service that you may know little or nothing about and it’s something that you can’t see or touch then you should expect to see a monthly/quarterly report. Most SEO providers will provide you with a report every 30 days typically reporting on keyword rankings, web traffic, conversions and a few other bits and pieces. Some people over report and many will keep it simple, to the point and jargon-free which is what you want. Anyone who sends reports full of jargon, 20 pages long giving you chapter and verse are likely to be hiding something.
Depending on your budget some people will have you on a quarterly report, this is normal for clients doing local SEO on a low budget, it doesn’t make sense to do hours of reporting on a low monthly marketing budget as it wouldn’t allow them any time to actually do any work that is going to benefit your website.