Five Questions to Ask an SEO Before You Hire Themadmin
SEO has become a dirty word as of late. With Google increasing its efforts to combat those using suspicious and manipulative practices, the rest of the industry has come under fire as well. Finding a great SEO agency that uses effective and ethical techniques is more important than ever. Before you hire an SEO agency, ask them these five questions.
1) How do you stay up to date with industry news?
SEO is an ever evolving practice. Today’s best practices are tomorrow’s tactical relics. A good SEO agency should be up to date by keeping up with industry news. Following the Google Webmaster Blog and publications like Search Engine Land’s SearchCap are two ways to keep up with an extremely fast moving industry.
2) What do you do to track key metrics?
SEO is only effective if the right pages are ranking and receiving traffic for the right keywords. Are they tracking these rankings and traffic statistics with detailed programs, like Google Analytics or Clicky. If they are not using analytics programs, then you should be asking why, and whether they have a better way of tracking the return on their efforts.
3) Do you have any references for me to check?
Some companies are reluctant to provide references for fear of giving up information that could negate any competitive advantage they have gained. However, they should still have several people who are willing to give a testimonial, even if they do not wish to disclose their websites.
Since SEO lies in a somewhat grey area as far as perceived legitimacy goes, references are testimonials are very important. Sites with great case studies also project an image of credibility and honesty.
4) Are regular progress reports provided?
The above point on tracking key metrics is only valuable if the agency puts those metrics into an easy to understand report for their clients. They should be able to show their work and how it will benefit your site.
If they do not provide reports, they may be engaging in questionable practices of one kind or another. Even if the rest of your questions are answered well, an agency that does not provide regular reports should be seen as very suspicious. Your site is your business, and if the agency does not respect the value of this by providing reports, they do not deserve to do business with you.
5) What on-site changes will you make to my site, if any, and why?
Many SEOs view their practice as link building and only link building. Inbound links are obviously very important to improving traffic and search engine rankings, but on-site factors are important as well.
Will they be optimizing tags to better suit target keywords? Creating resource pages to funnel authority? Compression certain page elements to increase load speed? Will there be any changes to your internal linking patterns?
There are often more improvements to be made on-site than off. An SEO agency should be able to do a preliminary analysis and provide a reasonable answer as to what they like, and what they believe may need improvement.
If they continue on with nothing but off-site tactics, you may be hiring a link builder, and not a full SEO agency.
SEO is a Big Investment with a (potentially) Big Return.
Because of the incredible upside, SEO is still a service in popular demand. It is important that you ask the right questions and that once you hire an agency, that you track their work. Your website is your business, so don’t let it be jeopardized with low quality SEO.
This article is written by Kyle Sanders, Head of Search at CompleteWebResources.com, a WordPress design and digital marketing refinery in Colorado. When he’s not help clients improve their web presence, you can find him rafting rivers in Colorado (weather permitting) or enjoying craft beers downtown.