You had a state of the art website built, but no one seems to care. Analytics show you receive only a handful of visitors every day and when you do a Google search for your product your website is buried on page 19 of the results. You’ve been around enough though to understand that the problem isn’t your product or service, nor does it have to do with your location or pricing. The problem is that you haven’t hired anyone to engage in search engine optimization (SEO) efforts on behalf of your website, and until you do you’re going to remain an afterthought to Google et al.
Get to Know your SEO Expert by Asking the Right Questions
You know you need to hire an SEO expert but how do you know which company will produce results? The best thing to do is to sit down with any prospective SEO company and ask them the following questions. If they truly know their stuff, they’ll welcome questions and be able to answer them in a way that’s both concise and clear.
1. Why Should I Choose Your Company?
This should be the first question you ask because if they can’t deliver a compelling argument for choosing their company, then there probably isn’t one. Any business person worth their salt will have a well-considered, easy to understand the answer to this question at the ready in case they’re ever asked.
2. How Long have you Been Providing SEO Services?
Everyone has to start somewhere, but you don’t want to be anyone’s first client. On the other hand, if they are a new SEO company but the principals come from other, established companies they should have at least 3 years of practical experience in the SEO field. If not, keep looking.
3. Who Exactly will be Handling My Account?
Chances are if it’s a large company the person you’re talking to is not necessarily the person who will be responsible for handling your SEO effort. You’ll want to know who that person is, what their qualifications are and you’ll also want to talk to them in person before signing any contracts. You’ll be working with that person for months after all, so it’s important you feel comfortable interacting with them.
4. Can You Provide References?
Of course, no one is going to provide the names of unhappy clients, but you’ll nonetheless want to speak to as many people as possible who have had dealings with the company in the past. You’ll also want to see real-world examples of past successes via keyword searches using Google.
5. Will You Want to Make any Changes to My Website and, if so, What Kind?
Even if your website is brand new chances are there are some aspects that could use improvement from an SEO standpoint. Perhaps it doesn’t load as fast as it should, or maybe it’s not truly mobile friendly (which is something Google is putting more and more emphasis on these days). If they say everything’s great, ask them to explain why they believe that to be so.
6. What Type of Link Building Efforts Will You Undertake?
Building links to other sites Google considers authoritative should be a key part of any SEO effort. There are a number of legitimate ways this can be done including commenting on articles on industry leading websites, guest blogging and gaining positive recognition from influencers in your particular space.
7. How Do You Plan to Optimize My Social Media Presence?
Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and more are all essential elements of any SEO campaign in 2017. If you have no social media presence, one will need to be created for you and then leveraged to optimize your exposure to today’s tech-savvy, mobile consumers.
8. How Much Will Traffic to my Website Increase if I Hire You?
While it’s impossible for anyone to predict precisely how much-increased traffic you’ll see, they should be able to provide you with a ballpark figure. If your site has been floundering but is structurally sound, optimized for mobile and contains high-quality content they should be able to deliver anywhere from 50-100% more traffic within the first few months.
9. Which Keywords Should my Website be Targeting?
While it will be difficult for someone with limited knowledge of your product or service to provide a comprehensive answer to this question they should be able to identify a number of essential keywords for your industry and lay out the steps they plan to take to identify more.
10. Will You Provide a Detailed Written Estimate?
Any legitimate SEO company will be happy to provide you with a written quotation that includes an itemized list of the services they’ll be providing at what cost. If they balk at the idea of providing a detailed quotation, then don’t even consider them.
The Other Side of the Coin
If an SEO company knows what they’re doing, they’re going to be in demand and can afford to be picky when it comes to selecting clients. So don’t be surprised if, after answering your questions, the SEO company have some of their own to ask you. These may include:
● Who do you consider your primary competitors?
● Is this your first foray into search engine optimization?
● Are you currently using PPC advertising?
● Do you have a personal social media presence?
● What type of results are you looking for?
Again, if they start asking you questions like this take it as a good sign that they know what they’re doing and don’t necessarily need to take you on as a client. It’s actually better to have to wait a bit for someone who can help than to simply take the first company that says they can start immediately.
An effective SEO campaign can make the difference between thriving in the digital age and floundering. As such, don’t entrust your SEO efforts to just any old company. Make an effort to get to know something about your potential SEO contractor by bringing the above list of questions to your first face to face meeting.