To compliment our “10 Questions You Should Ask a Prospective Web Design Company” we have put together this list of 10 questions you should ask any SEO company you may be interviewing. Not only will these questions give you a better understanding of who you are interviewing, but they should also raise any red flags early in the negotiation process.
1 ) How long have you been in business?
Think about what type of company you are comfortable working with before you meet with them. If they give an answer outside of your comfort level tell them immediately. Some businesses don’t mind working with startups or individuals with lesser experience if the price is right. Everyone has to start somewhere, but if this is a risk you are not willing to take just tell the SEO company upfront. This is critical when you look at SEO because if the SEO company or consultant you hire makes a mistake it could cost you a lot in the long run in terms of sales, exposure on the web, and traffic.
2 ) Can I see examples of your work?
Most SEO companies will have some form of case study to explain what they did on a particular project and what the end result was.
3 ) Do you have testimonials from other clients?
Good companies will happily provide a list of satisfied clients, both past and present. We even make them publicly available on our website.
4 ) What is the experience level of your team?
While almost every company has a few noobs (pronounced newbies) there should be some senior members on the team. Again, this is a comfort level thing on your part. Don’t get caught up in sales pitches and listen to your instincts here. As explained above there are some risks with working with an unexperienced SEO consultant, but there could be great rewards as well. Someone who is hungry to prove their talents and earn that experience may be a better fit for your company, but they also may require more oversight on your part.
5 ) What techniques do you use to help my website perform better?
Notice I didn’t say, “what is your technique to achieve better rankings?” Rankings are just a means to an end. Yes, they can be a critical evaluation tool, but at the end of the day you want to know if those rankings are bringing in dollars to the bottom line. It doesn’t matter if your website ranks #1 for “buy blue widgetsÂ in Monkeys Eyebrow, Kentucky” (yes, Monkeys Eyebrow is a real place). If that term does not bring you one new customer, then the SEO company hasn’t done their job. Don’t expect full disclosure of all aspects of all their techniques, but they should be able to explain in plain english what they plan to do.
6 ) What is your process for search engine optimization?
A well outlined plan or SEO process ensures you and your vendor know each other’s respective roles in the SEO process. It also will help you gauge their level of experience. Beware of companies that don’t have a plan! Don’t expect full disclosure of all aspects of their process, but they should be able to explain in plain english what they plan to do.
7 ) Will you make changes to my website?
If you get any answer other than yes, you can end the interview right there. I would question their practices if they plan to never make any changes to your site.
8 ) When will I see results?
Reputable SEO companies that are playing by the rules will be able to give you an answer to this question without a problem. SEO companies that are using questionable techniques may not be able to answer this question.
9 ) What other services can you provide?
Companies that only focus on SEO are becoming few and far between. Modern SEO requires a good understanding of user behavior performance, web design, and general marketing principles. Many SEO companies also offer PPC advertising management services for search engine marketing.
10) Who owns the work in the end?
There is only one acceptable answer here. No matter what, the client owns the website including all graphics and content. The only exception is if your website uses a content management system. Often the CMS is outlined in your contract with the vendor as belonging to the vendor as their intellectual property. If they say you will lose rankings immediately when you stop paying them, then I hate to say you’ve been duped into paying for placement by nothing more than a swindler. Remove their access to your site and go look for a reputable SEO company.