With respect to anything in the world, you have to be cautious of what others promise. There are a lot of businesses that can share SEO horror stories, just as there are those that can share success stories of how their business rose in search rankings. This isn’t an exposé about bad SEO agencies, nor is it meant to shame anyone.
The goal is to educate you about what to ask, and expect from your SEO agency. Without asking the right questions, you may not get the revealing responses you need to make the right business decisions.
1. Make it a point to uncover the company’s real reputation.
An SEO company that’s confident of their offerings won’t mind. They’ll look at it as an opportunity to offer transparency. Google site map and reviews on a website may not always be the most reliable sources of information. You may want to contact several of the company’s customers to get a feel for their work and reliability.
2. Does the company lean more on the digital agency or SEO agency side?
Many digital services began their journey offering web design services, and then expanded to offer SEO. Your goal should be to find an SEO specialist if you choose such an agency. Or, choose an agency that specializes in SEO. These are the agencies that have no one else to fall back on, so they have to be experts at what they offer.
3. Conduct diligent research to discover their achievements.
An SEO agency worth its weight in gold will remain effective. Consider the fate of their clients’ websites. Where do these websites rank for in their niche? This is one sure way to examine the validity of an agency’s work.
4. Legitimate agencies will remain effective regardless of what’s happening in the world of SEO.
You may also be able to check their clients’ website pages to discover what keywords a page ranks for. Make sure any promises for ranking can be backed by results already achieved. Your SEO company has to remain current with their abilities and knowledge. Ranking factors can change from year to year, even month to month. The most telling sign of an SEO company’s ability to deliver is how well their own website ranks for its niche.
5. Be careful as well that the SEO agency doesn’t try to take control of your digital properties.
Sometimes, an agency may try to sell you on a new design or even new hosting services. There are times when it may be necessary to upgrade. Just be careful that any major changes will add value. As well, make sure that their proposal includes you retaining access to any and all accounts created in your name. This is a common mistake of many business owners, and one we’ve warned about before (Read: You May Be Trusting Your Internet Marketing Company Too Much).
The truth is hiring an SEO specialist can make you more productive than trying to go the optimization route alone. But before you sign up with an agency, make sure you conduct diligent research to find the right fit. Look for any bad signs, like how well they communicate or if they promise you the world right away. They should promise to do their very best to help improve your Internet standing. A legitimate promise is one where the company can show proof they’ll do everything in their power to give your site the best chances of ranking well in search results.
Let’s recap. Ask for referrals and examples of past work. If allowed, speak with past clients, and read the SEO agency’s blogs and articles. Do they have videos as well? Conduct a thorough background check, and then make your hiring decision. Once in motion, don’t stop until you achieve your business goals.