Mar 30, 2015 3:00:00 PM
Posted by Lindsay DeFeo
SEO is a vital component to any online marketing strategy and choosing the right SEO agency is crucial. By choosing the wrong one, you may put your company’s website and reputation at risk. Unfortunately, some SEO agencies engage in black hat tactics, take short cuts for quick successes and violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Ultimately, this could lead to a huge drop in rankings and a plummet in revenue - we're looking at you eBay. It is extremely important to do your research to evaluate the pros and cons of each SEO agency. Here's a list of questions you should ask before signing any contract. Knowledge is power - the more you know the better!
What is your knowledge on Google’s algorithm updates?
Any SEO agency will be familiar with the most recent updates such as Penguin & Panda, but there are plenty of other Google Algorithm updates such as Pigeon, EMD, DMCA Penalty, and Freshness update that a highly qualified SEO agency should be well aware of. Ask about these updates and why the matter!
Do you guarantee results in the search engines?
A reputable SEO agency should reply back with a BIG fat “No!” As stated by Google, “Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a "special relationship" with Google, or advertise a "priority submit" to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or by submitting a Sitemap and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.”
Do you follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines?
Google has put together guidelines and best practices to help Google find, crawl, and index your website. SEO agencies should not only be aware of these guidelines, but follow them and stay up-to-date on any changes.
Do you provide reports on a monthly basis?
Transparency is key. It is extremely important to know what you are getting for your money and a monthly report should contain details on: completed work, implemented strategies, performance (KPI’s), successes/failures, and next steps.
How long have you been in business?
Be wary of hiring an agency that has not been in the business for at least 3 years. You want to look for an agency that has knowledge and experience with the ever-changing Google.
When can I expect results?
A trustworthy SEO agency will take time to explain that there is no guaranteed time frame for results. Some strategies will take longer than others, but they should be able to provide projections and transparency for expected results.
Can you share testimonials and provide references?
An SEO agency should have testimonials on their site but should also to provide references. The references will be able to give you honest feedback on their experience working with the SEO agency and will be able to provide clarification on any initial questions you may have had. Remember an honest SEO agency will have nothing to hide and will happily pass along references.
How can I expect to communicate with you?
Your SEO agency will be attentively working on your site on a daily basis, but they should also communicate with you on bi-weekly and monthly, of course with phone calls as needed throughout the interim. Be cautious of any SEO agency that is not willing to have a monthly meeting or hop on for a quick phone call.
Why should we hire your agency?
The SEO agency should be able to share USP that makes them different from the other agencies. One I suggest analyzing further; do they practice what they preach? Do you they employ all strategies and tactics they shared? It is essential to understand, what this agency can do for you that others can’t.
Has your company received awards?
Similar to client success stories, inquire about the agencies awards and recognition. It’s important to know what they’ve won and been noted for as a company & an SEO agency. Agencies who’ve won awards, regularly, are the ones who know have earned a strong reputation.
This list contains only half of the question you should ask if you're looking for an SEO agency. Best of luck!
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