Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring For SEO

Business Owners today do not have the time to learn about SEO. In most cases, small businesses do not put much time into focusing on ranking on search engines. Social Media and other digital marketing is usually passed down and usually managed poorely. This post will give you a road map and understanding of the importance of an optimized website.  I have put together a list of Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring For SEO.  

1.What is your SEO process?

I understand most owners are not properly educated on the SEO Process, but I do recommend doing some light research to prepare your self to make an educated purchase. Buying Search Engine Optimization Services is like buying a new car. There are many components to the vehicle and it would be impossible to fully educate ourselves on every component. With that being said, we can educate ourselves on the key components. I recommend doing research on the topic. Invest a few hours to understanding some of the vocabulary. Second, read a few blogs and do a couple of google searches on the subject such as “questions you should ask before hiring an SEO.”  I understand most owners do not have the time to do more research. For companies that have resources, I recommend assigning the duty to a trusted and capable individual. This is a second option. The ideal situation would be for the owner and team to be engaged in the process. Search Engine Optimization is not a magic button us SEO Professionals push. SEO is Online Marketing. For full list see post here

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2. What is my expected outcome?

A third party should never promise number one spot on page 1. Search Optimization is a competitive practice and your position on google will be determined by more than 200 factors.  A realistic outcome should include monthly reporting with analytics showing improvement of page visits, unique visitors, impressions,  time on page, etc.  When done right SEO helps to build your social media accounts. It will also help make your business more relevant and more reputable online.  Your companies vision should become more clear as pages are detailed and embedded with crawl able and valuable information.

3. Is this a one size fits all product?

Every business is different and what works for one company make not work for another organization. The Company you hire should take the time to understand your business needs, vision and product. Company research is usually needed to understand jargon for both public and internal. Specific local behaviors or trends vary from business to business so having a good understanding helps grow a campaign faster. Owners and Employees are the best resources for understanding what has worked for the business and what has not.  An SEO should have lots of input. Remember SEO affects all aspects of your businesses marketing.

4. What is your process for choosing my Keywords?

Choosing keywords can be boring and long. Owners usually shy away from this process, but I recommend that owners and trusted employees be engaged in this process with your SEO professional. Remember, these are the keywords that will be connecting your customers with your product.  Take your time to do your research. I use Google Webmaster or Google Adwords Keyword Planner to do my keyword research. You can identify how people are finding your website currently and gain new suggestion. There are other free tools out there to do this. Just google keyword planning. A third alternative is to do manual searches with the keywords that your team comes up with.  If the keyword is populating information on your competitors,  you may want to rank for that keyword.

5.What is your process for building internal and external Links?

Link are the highways that connect your website with the outside word of sites. It is important to make sure all your internal and external links are working and are of quality. Any SEO that is participating in link schemes or buying links for page rank will do more harm than good. Links are important to page rank and gaining high quality links are the foundation to a good page rank.  A business linked to and from spammy website can cause your site to be blacklisted and overall jeopardize all the hard work you have invested.

6. Will you be targeting the local market, the region or a national market?

Not all Search Engine Optimization is treated equally. Most companies will not tell you more than you need to know. Keyword research is vital to connecting customers looking for your product to your site.  Having a different campaign and strategy for local, regional, national is crucial to rank in the market that you are trying to reach.

7. Will you need access to confidential information such as Logins and Passwords?

Your SEO will have to set you up for Online Directories. This is similar to being listed in the phone book. Passwords and logs should all be kept in a safe place. I recommend you sign a confidential agreement with your SEO and make sure they do not put all accounts under their name. This will cause problems for you later when you are trying to access your account. I have witnesses situations that involved a third party registering business info under their name. This is a major no no. Some companies can use this tactic to lock in customers and then make it difficult when they decide to drop the service. Make sure you take ownership of your online data.

8. Will I have to do paid advertising to increase my organic ranking?

Popular belief is that if you pay for online advertising through a big media or directory company, it will help your business rank organically. I have not found this to be true and with most clients we have had success to rank locally with out paid advertising.  Paid advertising can help companies who are evenly matched with their competitor and need an edge. The value in paid advertising is the Link Authority from the third party.  Be careful that you are not linking to spammy websites. If you want good results, write quality content and stay relevant.

9. What is your process for creating content?

If your SEO has not taken the time to learn about your business, they are what I refer to a “one size fits all SEO”. Why is this important? Part of ranking goes further than keywords, meta descriptions, online directories, url, titles, etc. One of the over all looked factors is the relevant quality content. Recent updates such as Humming Bird, Penguin, Panda and Pigeon have made google more accurate at connect relevant information with those searching for it.    Humming bird (googles algorithm update) which is a semantic search showing intent of the searcher. Penguin which is looking for spammy content and low quality links. Panda, looking at all sorts of elements or user satisfaction and happiness of pages is making sure that those who are playing by the rules are rewarded with proper ranking.

10. If I hire you for 6 months will I stay in the number 1 spot forever?

Remember, SEO is a competitive practice and anyone who promises that you will hold your position with out attention is dead wrong.  Instead, get used to SEO. It is not going anywhere for a while and it will be your best friend as long as you are in business.  Adapt to changes and reevaluate how your are utilizing your employees.