How to Choose an SEO Company?
Author : Admin
SEO is not a checklist rather a process to re-engineer a website that requires ideas, analysis, and skills, but, the utmost concern is, how to hire an SEO agency that has all three traits? The primary criteria for the success of any website are aligning your visitor’s action with what you want them to do. So which essential things you should consider before choosing an SEO agency?
Well, asking the right questions will eventually contribute to your success in finding the right SEO expert. Here are some of the critical questions to ask your SEO provider to make an informed decision:
1. It’s been how long you are doing SEO?
The duration that the firm has been into digital marketing services defines their working approach and the efforts they put in to keep the process transparent, thorough, and informed.
Apart from this, the number of clients the agency has served would get you an idea of their working approach and level of experience. However, a higher number of industrial experience doesn’t guarantee you success. There are other factors to consider, which are explained in the below points.
2. What are the resources that you have on your team? Is it a virtual team or a local team?
There is n number of tasks in SEO such as website audit, link research, keyword research, or put forth an exciting approach with a completely different angle. For all this, you require a team and cannot rely on one person single-handedly to manage everything. Be it a virtual team or a local team advancement and awareness forms an important part.
A right SEO agency should work with the latest technologies and have a knack of current trends. Technology is the need of the hour while strategies should be carefully planned according to the latest trends as a strategy that worked best previously may not work now. Also, it must put to use efficient resources with much-needed knowledge along with proper analysis of the business goals.
3. With whom you have worked earlier?
An SEO agency should give a few big names with whom they have worked previously along with the results. You can refer to the reviews, testimonials and case studies to get a fair idea of their performance. However, word of mouth can also be an effective way to track their performance as these are genuine and honest assertions made by people.
A right SEO agency is expected to give the names of the legitimate businesses with whom they are working. Well, if they can’t provide the client names, this may be a warning sign that questions their level of experience.
4. Do you know about Google Webmaster guidelines?
Google webmaster guidelines provide for the best SEO practices which make incremental improvements that show a noticeable impact on your website. Google revamps the general guidelines now and then. An SEO agency is expected to have a sound knowledge of the instructions as it is essential when you own, manage, monetize, and promote online content.
If an SEO agency is not able to explain to you anything about Google webmaster guidelines, it questions their expertise and knowledge. It may highly jeopardize your website’s success.
5. How do you upgrade your SEO knowledge?
As you approach an SEO agency you should ask them as what they do to upgrade their knowledge in SEO? When it comes to knowledge and expertise, don’t expect that agencies know it all, they are still on the learning curve with their clients. They always on the mode of upgrading their knowledge. They may be digging deep in the sample websites or understanding the methodology to select sites with specific targets to follow up on certain pints.
6. Are you aware of the current trends in the SEO industry?
Trend analysis and search quality analysis forms a significant part of the SEO process, which makes it essential for the agencies to be aware of the current trends and happenings in the industry itself.
Since Google keeps you on your tows by making frequent changes in the algorithm to chase better SERPs, it is essential for an SEO company to keep itself updated. A right SEO agency is expected to keep an eye on current happenings as it helps in strategic management and planning of the campaign to stay ahead of the competition.
7. Why is SEO the right marketing tactic for my business?
As you approach an SEO company it is important to know as to why SEO could be the right marketing tactic for your business. There are a number of marketing tactics that businesses use for promotional purposes but, when an agency suggests SEO, you should ask this extremely important question before everything gets started.
Your agency should be such that it makes you realize the importance of SEO for your business. If it isn’t able to give you a satisfying answer then, you should think twice before you hire them.
8. What about Contracts and Pricing?
When it comes to contracts and pricing, different SEO companies follow different structures. As SEO can be done in many ways companies charge differently according to the project. Some charge monthly, quarterly, yearly or even on an hourly basis. So, you should ask the SEO agency to come up with their contract and payments terms so you would know what is included in the SEO contract. Moreover, it would give you an idea whether your SEO agency is trying to bind you in long term contracts.
9. What process do you follow?
SEO is not theoretical but practical, and the outcomes to it are the list of actions that forms a process which an agency follows. Every project is unique, and what worked for one, may not work for the other. It may include SEO tactics, SEO tools, resources, keyword research, audit, index status, crawl error, sitemap, links, demographics, content strategy and many more.
When you approach an SEO agency, you should ask the process that they are going to follow specifically for your website.
10. What about content writing and updating?
The content is the core and needs to be optimized. Sometimes the agency wants to write the content, and sometimes they want it from you. Well, the main point is engagement that moves people towards conversation, along with regular updating according to the latest trends.
If your SEO contract includes the content part then, it is important to know as to how much content would be posted and at what frequency. Also, how would they manage the content part whether they have an inhouse team or they prefer outsourcing it. You should ask your agency to send it for approval before it gets published on the website.
11. Who will make on page SEO changes in the website?
It is another crucial question which will an answer for how to choose an SEO agency. SEO requires multiple changes to be done on the website, which must be handled by an SEO expert. If it is taken up by a beginner who doesn’t have the expertise, might hamper the overall quality of the website.
12. What is your experience with CMS?
There are different types of CMS such as Shopify, WordPress, Squarespace, Drupal, Joomla etc. The main objective behind asking this important question is to understand an agency’s level of experience with the type of CMS you manage. Supposedly, if you manage your content over Joomla and the agency you have approached has never worked with Joomla then they will need you to hire a Joomla developer or they can help you in outsourcing the technical Joomla work and the cost will be completely separate which depends on the amount of work the website needs.
So, it is a plus if the agency has experience of managing the On-Page SEO with your CMS.
13. Have you worked on multilingual websites SEO?
If you are having a multilingual website, it is one of the most important questions to ask your SEO provider. Multilingual SEO helps in the website rankings in SERPs across different languages in the different locations.
If you are running a business at a global level, your SEO agency is expected to help you in keyword research and website localization and ensures the usage of the right keywords and relevant content in all the languages.
14. Do you guarantee a rank?
There are many SEO firms offer guarantees for the first position in Google SERPs, which is a false claim that they tend to do. Such warranties are neither feasible nor practical, and this is the reason why reputed SEO agencies never guarantee you for the top rankings. But you should ask this question to the SEO agency to make sure they are not one of them.
A right SEO agency is expected to come up with the right SEO approach and not guarantees. Google also says, no one can give guaranteed rankings because there are 200+ ranking factors and so many regular updates from Google. So SEO agencies do not have control over the Google’s algorithm.
15. What is your way of reporting?
It also an important question to ask when choosing the right SEO agency where you need to slice and dice the data in an easily understandable way. Well, it isn’t necessary that the agency must provide you with all the KPIs, but the information provided by them should be useful and understandable.
A right SEO agency is expected to show reports that justify the client’s investment in the services. Such SEO reports may include clean dashboards for quick information, year over year growth, month over month growth, increased ranking for top terms, overall keyword growth, goal reports, high-quality links earned, and many more.
16. When can I expect the results?
When you are confused as to how to choose the right SEO agency? You should ask this essential question when approaching an SEO agency.
SEO is an ongoing practice that needs time, and the results timelines may vary depending on so many things. What are the results (targets) we are talking about, what is the industry, your current SEO presence/history, competition strengths, how much effort you are willing to put on SEO which is directly related to the cost?
The more SEO budget you have, you can get more resources to work together and speed up the initial work. So when the SEO company explaining you the timelines of the expected results, you should consider all these factors to understand which one is the right SEO agency for me.
17. Do you have any dependencies over me? Do you need my approval for anything?
SEO is an ongoing process which includes keywords: content, and strategy. Sometimes clients are themselves quite participative, and sometimes the agency needs to run after them seeking approval for the content, keywords, and other factors. It is beneficial on the client’s part, in the beginning, to ask as to how they would take the process which will help in understanding if there are any dependencies for which approvals are needed or not.
For example, you might be interested in giving your agreement on the keywords, which title meta content are going to be updated on your website and so on.
18. What are the KPI’s to measure the success of the SEO campaign
It is very important to understand from the SEO agency that which key metrics they will track and report. This is how you are going to track the progress of the SEO campaign. Here are some of the critical metrics that should be tracked:
Organic Traffic – This can be measured by Google Analytics directly where you can integrate the data with the reporting tool such as agency analytics. It shows as to how many eyes are there on the website.
Keyword Ranking – You should watch keyword rankings because if you will get the ranking improvements, it will help in improving the website traffic and hence leads/sales.
Leads/Conversions – This cannot be a direct metric to define the success of the SEO campaign. The reason is, once the user is landed on the website, there are so many factors which influence the conversions. The website speed, mobile friendliness, your testimonials, reviews, customers feedback on third party websites, brand authority, trustworthiness, user’s overall experience on the website, easy to checkout/contact process, call to action placements and many more things.
Bounce Rate – It measures the percentage of the visitors who visited only one page on the website and didn’t take any action which we have setup to track. Usually, it can be between 40% to 60%, which varies depending on the business, industry, the user’s overall experience on the website as explained above.
Average Session Duration – It is the average time visitors spent on your website. It is crucial as it indicates your website content quality that engage the users to stay, read, and take action and another important thing is whether the visitors are relevant or not.
Is your SEO agency taking an interest in your business?
It is an essential question that you should ask yourself when you approach an SEO agency. Emphasize on what your SEO is asking you because that’s going to give you a hint as to how much interest is your SEO taking in your business.
Make sure that your agency asks you the relevant questions which may include the crucial elements such as your USP, target audience, geographical location, customer buying behaviour, competitors and their strong points.
Caution! There could be signs of black hat SEO that’s against Google webmaster guidelines
As you approach an SEO agency, you should beware of the red flags as there could be signs of black hat SEO which are completely against Google Webmaster Guidelines. Here a some points of consideration that could give you a hint of anything fishy going on:
1. When your agency focus on the quantity of backlinks.
2. Relying on old school methods to do hundreds of search engine submissions, article submissions, link exchange etc.
3. Your SEO agency talks about keyword density and uses 4-5% keywords.
4. Your SEO agency proposes to create new pages for each keyword which may seem similar. Well, this may really get your website into trouble.
5. Your SEO has PBNs (Private Blog Networks) and often give you links from their own blog network which is against Google guidelines.
6. Your SEO boasts to be a Google partnership company and talks about special references at Google.
7. If your SEO agency guarantees rank #1 then, you are in trouble.
8. Your SEO agency is not able to keep transparency and can’t explain the hidden costs behind the SEO services which may include developer, graphic designer, copywriter, PR distribution.
9. Your SEO agency claims to provide the best at the cheapest cost then, you can understand what can you expect. Remember you always get what you pay for so make sure that you invest in a good agency.
If your SEO agency seems to practice any of these then, it’s time for you to do some serious exploration. All these practices may affect your entire business as Google can penalize your complete website which result in deindexing of your website in the long run that eventually affects your traffic, leads, and sales adversely.
SEO Approach: The SEO action steps you should know
Now comes the steps that you can expect from your SEO agency to follow during the entire process. It’s important that your SEO agency should be able to explain the approach which may look like given below:
1. Complete business understanding
2. Setting KPIs for SEO
3. Competitors Analysis
4. Detailed SEO Audit
5. Categorise tasks for SEO team and developer.
6. Keyword research and competition analysis
7. Content Optimization
8. Title Meta Content Creation
9. Implementing On-Page SEO
10. Blog Content Strategy
11. Link acquisition strategy and execution
12. Tracking and Reporting
Choosing the right SEO company is very critical work because this is how you will transform your business to the next level in the online world. There are numerous factors involved, so be careful, consider the above-mentioned SEO interview questions and you should be able to hire a right SEO company which can be your online growth partner
Hope this information has helped you in some way. Can we help you? contact us!