If you have already decided to hire a SEO agency to help your business grow, but you are not really sure of how to decide on whose hands you are going to put the future of your company, this guide will help you out. We have listed below some questions you need to ask before you choose a SEO agency.
1 – Questions about the organization of the agency
You do not want to commit to someone that you don’t know. If you are dealing with an agency, ask about the people who are accountable for each task. Do not accept vague proposals, and always ask if they will need external help or if they can do all the work on their own. Do not hesitate to ask for meetings, even if it is over Skype, and in the case of agencies, always ask to speak with the team or the person who will be in charge of your case. It is also wise to ask if they are working with some of your competitors and to see how acquainted they are with your industry. Note down the following questions:
- How many people will be in charge of the work?
- Can I have a preliminary meeting with the team/person who will do the work?
- Do you outsource some of your work or do you do it on your own?
- Have you been working with other companies in our niche? Which ones?
- How well do you know our industry?
2 – Questions about the service:
Before you hire anyone to take care of your website’s search engine optimization, you should know what to expect from them, and what exactly they will offer. It is possible that they want to see how your website is doing first before offering further services. Remember to always ask:
- What are the services that you will offer us exactly?
- How much time will you devote to each of the services in a week/month/another period?
- How many and which pages will you optimize at first?
- Will you create or provide new pages/articles? How many per month?
- Will you enhance the existing content or create new content?
- When will I have the first reports?
- What technical changes will you be implementing if any?
It is also important that you ask about how much time is required from you since you do not want to spend all your days with the SEO team. At the same time, it is expected from you to show a little commitment. You could agree to catch up weekly or monthly, but you need to agree on that beforehand. Some questions you could ask are:
- How much time would be needed from our domestic team?
- Do you need to work with our developers, content writers or designers?
- How often will we hold meetings?
- Do you use platforms such as Slack or Asana?
3 – Questions about the content and the expected results
Content is the most important element of your webpage. Any good SEO agency will offer services that are related to the content of your site, either making new copies or working with the content that is already there. You should make sure that their practices are accepted by Google and other important search engines such as Bing. You do not want your website to be penalized and risk having lost both money and a good ranking in search results. These questions should be helpful:
- Would you be producing a new copy or working with our current content?
- Can I see samples of your work?
- Is the creation of new landing pages included in the contract?
- What are the processes you undergo to optimize content?
- How do you handle link building?
- What do you know about Google’s algorithms and how would you relate that to the quality of backlinks?
- How often will I be receiving your reports?
- What programs do you employ for reporting?
- What will you do once you obtain new findings from campaign data?
Other things you should know include what you should expect after a certain period of time. You should remember that questions as “how will our ranking increase in a month?” are impossible to factually answer. The good thing is that if any company gives you a straight answer about it, and vehemently affirms that your ranking will grow at a certain rate, you know you should run because they are lying. But there are things that you can predict by looking at the other cases that the agency has worked with.
It is advisable to ask them if you could see some case studies or even get in contact with other clients so that you form your opinion based on facts and previous results. You can also ask them about how they would analyze the campaigns report and what information you can expect from those reports.
4 – Questions about the contract itself
You should be sure that whatever you are signing is known to you. Never sign something that you haven’t thoroughly read! Always ask about the duration of the contract, and about clauses that you have doubts about or are not completely sure what they mean. Always check whether there is an out-clause included in the contract. An out-clause is a proviso in the contract that concedes the signing part the ability to cancel the agreement without any penalty. Make sure your out-clause includes a thirty-day notice. An out clause will give you both peace of mind and hold both parts accountable.
As soon as you come across the right agency for you, think of giving them at least half a year before you decide to cancel the contract. Seeing the outcomes will take some time. It is fundamental to be exhaustive and thorough in this process. Think of all the questions above, and write down some others, so that you can confidently ask exactly for what you are looking for and do not fall in the hands of the wrong agency.