Questions to Ask Your SEO Agency

SEO Agency SEO Company seo reporting server | Questions to Ask Your SEO Agency | Your job isn’t to understand search engine optimization; that’s what you outsource to an SEO company for. SEO is a highly technical field that requires extensive experience as well as finely honed skills in analysis, research, coding and creativity. Typically, it isn’t worth your time to attempt DIY SEO because you are all but certain to get it wrong — but if you aren’t careful, you could hire an SEO company that will get it wrong, too.

Not all SEO is equal. Plenty of SEO tactics work in the short term but will harm your organization’s ability to rank in the long term. Unfortunately, such tactics were once the cutting-edge of SEO, and many SEO companies still rely on these outdated methods, harming their clients without realizing — or worse, without caring. 

According to Sarah Walters from The Whit Group “Choosing a reliable SEO firm is a minefield, SEO like many online industries has been marred by scammers. Speak to the potential agency several times, get case studies and speak to some of their existing and previous clients. If they’re making big promises it’s a red flag”.

SEO isn’t your job, but verifying that you can trust your SEO agency is. Here are a few questions to ask your prospective third-party SEO providers to better understand their services and skill.

What Does Your Agency Do?

If you are totally unfamiliar with search engine optimization, a better first question might be “What does an SEO company do?” Ideally, the agency you ask will be able to explain SEO services in terms you can understand, so you can get a better sense of the importance of the task and how it can benefit your business. Even if you do know a bit about SEO, how an agency responds to this question can give you valuable insight into how they will communicate with you going forward; patience and clear language are good, and impenetrable jargon and frustration are bad.

Next, you need to understand exactly what kinds of SEO services an agency provides. Not all SEO agencies are created equal, and you need clarity with regards to what SEO your agency does and what you will need to do for yourself. Some examples include:

  • Keyword research? Keywords are the backbone of SEO, and they aren’t as easy to identify as you may think. Your agency should provide in-depth keyword research, at the bare minimum.
  • Content creation?SEO is best when paired with a comprehensive content marketing strategy. Some digital marketing firms offer both SEO and content management, which can be beneficial.
  • Social media? Social media also plays a role in search engine rankings, so maintaining a quality social network matters. Again, some SEO agencies will manage social media for you.

What Kind of Experience Does Your Company Have?

SEO is ever-evolving. The tactics used 10 years ago are outdated and likely to get your business punished. That’s because Google is constantly changing its algorithm to deliver higher-quality results to web users, and to Google, high-quality is synonymous with non-SEO. Ultimately, the only SEO tactics your business needs are the most cutting-edge — the ones that work right now, not those that worked even six months ago.

Even so, you need an SEO company that relies on years of experience in the field. SEO changes tend to occur relatively slowly, as Google gets better at identifying harmful SEO practices and training its algorithm to recognize them. Thus, those experienced in SEO are better able to anticipate upcoming changes to the algorithm and prepare your SEO strategy appropriately. You should know how many years of experience back the SEO agency you choose, so you can be certain that your SEO strategy is in good hands.

How Do You Communicate With Me?

You are choosing to outsource your SEO to save your business the time, energy and expense of managing an SEO campaign — but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be involved in SEO at all. In all likelihood, you will communicate with your SEO company on a regular basis, as they ask for your input on different practices and you request evidence of positive results. Consistent communication is key with any contractor, but how that communication occurs matters even more.Some common communication methods include:

  • Email. Email might suffice for exchanging minor information or insignificant updates, but it isn’t ideal for major changes to your SEO strategy or revelations about results.
  • App. Some SEO companies use or develop software to keep clients abreast of SEO progress. You might request to see a demo of the app before you are forced to use it full-time, so you have a better understanding of whether you will benefit from engaging with the program.
  • In person.It is convenient to hire an SEO agency in the same area as your business, so you can occasionally meet in person. This is valuable for initial campaign development and other important milestones in your SEO strategy.

SEO isn’t your job, but because SEO is an invaluable component of digital marketing, managing SEO services is certainly an important part of your job. By choosing the best SEO agency for your business, you will set yourself up for success — and choosing correctly requires a thorough investigation of your options. Ask the right questions, and you’ll get the right SEO.

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