What you should be asking prior to hiring an SEO agency or SEO Consultant
With many online service industries, there are huge numbers of so-called SEO consultants around the world. Many of which are those that do a little bit of marketing and some web design and now they are suddenly SEO experts! Another field of SEO consultants are those that are working from their home with the curtains closed over trying to come across as freelance SEO experts!
Now, there are on the contrary many great SEO agencies and freelance SEOs that do work from home but it can often be difficult to determine the good SEO experts from the bad. Many people can talk a good game and come across as being genuine, and this gets many of them very far and into some well paid SEO work. On a daily basis I get business owners coming to me asking for advice and I keep hearing the phrase “they didn’t produce results”…
LinkedIn is a valuable source of information for checking an SEO experts history and whether they have any recommendations and so on. Granted within a couple of years with the right training and testing you can learn SEO and have a relatively good understanding of it in that space of time. What I would always suggest is that you check to see if they have a track record that is proven and shows sustainable results. It can be costly, both in terms of money and time, if you choose the wrong SEO who doesn’t produce the results required!
Below are some of the questions I get asked quite often. These are the types of questions they should have asked their previous SEO before using them! So without further to do, here are the top questions:
Ask how long the SEO consultant or the person doing the SEO in the agency has carried out SEO for? The period of time that the SEO agency has been in business isn’t all that much of a concern, it is more beneficial to find out how long the person or team has actually been doing SEO for. Many of the larger agencies out that use interns to do lots of the work, some might be good, be a lot will not be. Other common practice in these larger SEO agencies is that they outsource lots of their work usually to workers in countries with lower wages so that they make more money. It can work, but often their language skills aren’t good, and this can be especially worrying if they are making direct changes to your onsite-SEO. That being said, there are some that will be good, but in my opinion that is too much of a risk. What you want to see if verifiable results, examples that prove that they have carried out the work and achieved the rankings.
Do you outsource SEO work? As mentioned above, there are times where outsourcing SEO can work. Agencies often try and outsource a lot of work to me and I provide rankings so it is a winning scenario all round. However, it is a problem when SEO agencies outsource their work to places like Thailand and Mumbai and this often leads to low quality work, English language issues and so on.
Ask to see examples of current clients that they have ranked and continue to do so. With this though, you need to make sure that it is actually a keyword or set of keywords that are relatively competitive and not some low competition local keyword whereby that company is the only company in the niche anyway. A good SEO will show you a handful of competitive keywords that are all on page one in Google and not page two or three. Also, do not go by analytics data as this will like show more than just organic traffic and is open to manipulation. It is also worth noting that an SEO isn’t going to hand over their client list either, so a couple of examples of recent work that they themselves have carried out should suffice.
Is there a contract? An SEO that is good at what they do will not require you to sign any type of contract. It is normal for an SEO company or consultant to charge you in advance and want 30 days notice to stop using their services – this is usually in case they have scheduled work planned ahead, but under no circumstances should you sign any long term SEO contract. This is due to the fact that nobody can guarantee results. Ultimately, SEO is a result driven service and therefore no wise to be stuck in a contract if the results are not being produced!
How often will you give me a report? SEO is a strange service as it is something you pay for and not see results until weeks or months down the line. It may also be something you know anything about. Can’t see it, can’t touch it, but you should expect to see a monthly or quarterly report. Most SEOs will provide a report every 30 days as it often takes that time for rankings and results to be refreshed. Some reports will be full of technical jargon that will need explaining and other will keep it simple and to the point, which is what you really want. Someone that sends a massive report full of jargon is often going to be hiding something. It is also worth bearing in mind that it takes time to produce such a report.
Depending on what you are paying per month should determine how often you get a report. If you pay a low amount per month then I wouldn’t expect to see a report monthly. Quarterly would be more what I would expect, because again it takes time to produce such a report and wouldn’t you rather your SEO worked on your SEO than a report about your SEO? Are you local to me in Glasgow? If so, why not find out how my SEO services can help your business succeed online.