Hiring an SEO company is just like hiring any company for any work. You need to ask certain questions to make sure the company you are hiring is capable of delivering the things you are expecting. Remember! hiring an SEO service provider can actually make or break your company. A good SEO can get you tons of traffic, thousands of leads and millions worth business but a bad SEO could actually get away the existing traffic your website getting today.
So, you need to be extra careful while hiring an SEO company for your business website and that’s what I am going to help you with this post. If you are thinking of outsourcing SEO services or hiring an SEO company, here I have put together 10 important questions that you need to ask your SEO service provider. I am sure this will help you in making the right decision.
10 Important Questions To Ask Before Hiring An SEO Company
So, here’s the 10 important questions to ask before hiring an SEO company to rank your business website. Do note that, these questions are just for your idea, you can re-formulate these questions or can create news question with the help of these.
1. How will you improve our website ranking in SERPs?
The purpose of this question is to understand the process or the strategy SEO company is going to use to rank your website. Without a proper strategy, they can not deliver you the result you are expecting. SEO should have the process, you need to understand how they are going to start with and what is the series of activities they will be doing to improve your website ranking.
Here, you don’t need to understand the exact thing they will be doing, for example, they can not tell from where they are going to get you the backlink or how many backlinks they will get to your website or exactly how much time it will take to complete the specific activity. Obviously, it can not be decided at the start of the project, but you can get the broader picture.
2. Do you follow Google’s best practices and guidelines?
Google dominates the search market, the SEO company should follow Google’s best practices and guidelines to rank your website in Google search. If they keep Google happy and get your website ranked in Google search, your website will automatically get ranked in other search engine’s result pages (Google’s algorithm is more advanced than any other).
Every SEO company will answer “YES” if asked this question. So, you need to ask about some of the guidelines and best practices and how they are going to deal with that. I am sure you can get lots of information, with the help of this question.
3. What are the tools you use in SEO?
It’s very difficult to do everything manually in SEO. There are tools which help in performing specific SEO activities faster. For example, keyword analysis tools which help you analyze hundreds of keywords in just a few minutes, competitor analysis tools help you analyze your competitor’s website really quickly.
Check those tools online and make sure the tools your SEO company is going to use is really good. I suggest you, to stay away from those SEO companies who use tools to build backlinks automatically. That won’t do any good to your website rather it may affect in a negative way and you may lose your existing ranking and organic traffic of your website.
4. Are you up to date with the latest algorithm changes?
Google releases more than 100+ algorithm updates every year, most of them are minor updates, which does not affect much, to most of the websites. But the major updates are more significant, they can actually make or break your entire online business. An SEO company, being SEO, their core business they need to be updated with all the algorithm updates.
Moz keeps an updated list of all major algorithm updates and also you can see an updated list of algorithms at Search Engine Land, where you can get the idea about all algorithm updates and can discuss with your SEO company.
5. What all activities included in the SEO work you will do?
Ask about the activities included in SEO, what all they will do in On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO. Also, do check with them if they will also provide other SEO related services to improve the conversion rate and user experience on your website, if these services are included in the SEO packages or if there will be an additional cost for those services.
6. Can you guarantee the #1 ranking for a major search term?
This is a very important question to ask before hiring an SEO company. This question will help you filter out the SEO salesmen from the legitimate SEO service provider. If an SEO company or SEO service provider simply wants to make the sale, their answer will be “YES”. Let me tell you, no one can guarantee the #1 ranking for all the keywords in any specific time period.
And, that’s the reason, a good SEO company will never guarantee #1 ranking. The reason is very obvious, no one knows the exact Google Algorithm and no one knows when Google will update its search algorithm. Stay away from those SEO companies that promise #1 ranking.
7. How do you determine if you’re successful?
This question is more for you than the SEO service provider. You should be clear with what you are expecting from your SEO company. It will help you judge the outcome after a certain period of time. Also, it will save you from the frustration if the results were not met (both of you should be on the same page). You might be expecting “Apples” and they might end up delivering “Oranges”.
There could be different expectations from SEO, you may want to rank your target keywords on the first page of SERPs or you may want the increase in the traffic, or you may want to judge the result by the number of leads you get through organic traffic. Be clear with your expectations and communicate that to your SEO service provider.
8. What is the reporting process and what all will be in the report?
This is again an important question to ask before hiring an SEO company. SEO is a long term and an ongoing process, you can not expect a significant change week by week. Most SEO company sends the monthly report. Majorly the report should include, keyword ranking report, traffic report, on pages changes, content update, activities done on a monthly basis and next month plan. Most of the time, these reports will be more than enough.
If you have any specific requirement or if you want your SEO report to be customized, just tell them before you hire an SEO company. Also, you need to be very clear with them if you want them to take an approval before making any significant changes to your website.
9. What is your payment structure, is there any contract, etc.?
Different SEO companies have different payment structure. It’s very important for you to know, when and how you need to make the payment so that you can plan in advance and put that in your budget. There are companies who charge on a project basis, where you need to pay for the entire project for that period of time. Also, there are companies, that charge on a monthly basis, where you need to make the payment every month.
As I told you, SEO is a long term ongoing work, it takes time (months) to get the result from SEO. So, you need to check with your service provider if there is any contract or something like that (what will happen if you terminate the contract early due to any reason). Although you may not be needed to contact your SEO company very often, still ask them about the contact options. You can take the idea from the question (ask more related questions) and discuss every aspect that may impact the overall result and your business in the long run.
10. Why should we hire you over other SEO Service Providers?
This is again a very important question you need to ask before hiring an SEO company. It is an open-ended question and thus it does not have any specific answer. You can judge the answer yourself. If the SEO company answers something like this: They are cheaper, They will get you lots of backlinks, They will get you faster result.
Then you know what to do. Let me tell you, good SEO cannot come cheap, lots of backlinks does not matter (quality matters), faster result, how faster? Instead, for this question, I would be expecting them to tell me about their track record that should include their past successes, happy clients, references, etc and more about the SEO strategy and process they follow.
SEO is a long term investment, it takes months to actually get the desired result. So you should spend some time and need to be careful while picking the right SEO company. The questions, given above will help you filter out the shady SEO company or individual SEO service provider. These questions will also help you in picking the right SEO company for your website. Use as many questions as possible (also create the new one taking ideas from the questions above) to ensure you find the right SEO company, you can trust.