Every time I go to business events, read online forums or use social sites, I always notice a raft of people who have been ripped off by a suspect online marketer or SEO, as I work in this industry I do not like to see people loose money. Now the problem with the SEO businesses is that many people get into the business because they see it as a fast way to make money with little knowledge, a common trend is you see a car dealer turned SEO, you see a magician turned SEO you see pretty much any one start to do SEO because they think they can learn it easily. This is simply not the case to be an effective SEO it takes years of training and years of learning different strategies. You may be able to pick up a few articles and learn the basis in a short period of time but learning more and more areas of SEO and Online Marketing takes time and testing.
As I have worked in SEO for 10 years, both in house and agency side I have seen my fair share of businesses and know a thing or two about selecting companies for work.
I have decided to write some points for businesses looking to use/ hire a new SEO company, it is best to ask these questions before signing on the dotted line. These questions could potentially save your business time, money and stop you from getting a Google penalty.
Ask questions to the company when you are seeking a new business to do your SEO!
1. Ask the SEO business for case studies related to your industry or related industries. If you work with companies who have worked in similar niches it can save every one time.
2. Ask for current or past client testimonials, from brands which have a name in the market or where you can physically call the business.
3. Check too see if their strategies lie in lines with the Google guidelines, ask questions based off the Google guidelines found here: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66356
If their strategies do not line up with Google’s start to think twice.
4. Ask some technical questions to the business, it could be something such as: What are your thoughts on hreflang? what are your thoughts on QDF? what are your thoughts on schema markup? do this over the phone or in person it is better to see how quickly they can respond.
5. Ask for the Top 5 on page and top 5 off pages strategies they will aim to use on the account.
6. If you feel you need to bring in some additional fire power ask a friend who works in IT to ask them some questions.
7. Look for passion, if you meet some one you can pick up if they are passionate about something, if they do not seem passionate and act like a drone then it may be a sign to look for another company.
Setting KPI’s with the new SEO business
You would want to set KPI’s for the SEO company, sure enough things are not going to happen over night so have specific goals for the next 3 months, 6 months, 12 months.
KPI’s can be things such as:
1. Increase in organic and branded SEO traffic.
2. Increase in conversions from organic traffic.
3. Increase in referral traffic as a result of link building.
4. Any other KPI’s such as face to face hours with the client.
5. Link building reports been sent each month – If the SEO company is not sending link building reports each month it is a sign that they are up to no good.
6. Month reports been sent each month.
7. Quarterly business reviews to check on progress.
Overall I hope these tips give you some good insight when picking a new SEO/ digital company to work with. In the end of the day it is about transparency and making sure you work with a business you can trust.