You’ve just signed up for an introductory consultation and website site review with an SEO Company, with the goal of hiring them to develop your SEO strategy and optimize your website to increase your page rank and drive organic traffic. Having sat on both sides of the table, it’s essential you make the best use of this time. A consultation is an opportunity for you to feel a person out, to better understand what they can do for you. It isn’t the time to just sit back and listen. While you may not be an SEO expert, you still need to know enough to be a savvy buyer. Believe it or not, SEO can be caveat emptor. Whether you are working with an independent SEO or a digital advertising agency like ours, it’s important that you are asking the right questions. Here are 4 questions that should not be neglected.
How will you improve my website’s SEO ranking?
Don’t expect your SEO to be able to go into individualized detail. That will require an extensive SEO audit that will be done after a contract is signed. Your SEO should, however, answer by talking about:
- Auditing your existing site – Your website should be audited and benchmarked before any changes are made
- Quick Wins –Small and easy changes that make a big impact. These help you get results faster.
- Targeting the right keyword phrases – A qualified SEO knows how to identify which phrases to target and how to target them.
- Customer experience – They may not use this phrase per se, but you should listen to the answer for indicators that SEO understands that ranking is closely tied to customer experience (A.K.A. search relevancy). Ultimately, everything you do for SEO is to make your site more user/customer friendly. A great SEO will ask you about your target audience, brand, differentiator, and competition to help build that experience.
Can you guarantee a #1 ranking on Google?
This sounds great, doesn’t it? But buyer beware. If your SEO says, “yes”, then this is not the SEO for you. No one can guarantee a #1 spot. Getting that #1 spot or even page 1 for high-traffic keywords takes time and effort. And no one knows the exact algorithm to get to Google’s #1 spot except Google. According to Google, it can take upwards of 1 year to reach page one. Those who make promises like these are likely either taking the easy road by getting you to page 1 for words with no traffic or they are using techniques that will hurt your website in the long-run. A great SEO or digital advertising agency will use established white hat SEO practices to improve your website’s optimization. Using the appropriate keyword tracking and conversion tools the results should be apparent within 6 months.
How do you build links for SEO?
Link-building is the act getting other sites to link to your site. These links are called “backlinks” or “inbound links”. Search engines like Google use these links to evaluate the “importance” of your site. These links can be built 3 primary ways:
Natural linking – Someone liked a page on your site and linked to it. They may find your site naturally or they may find it through your social media or other marketing efforts.
Manual link-building – The SEO visits websites that allow what is called “do follow links” and creates a link back to your page within the context of the website.
Automated link-building – The use of automation tools to build links on many sites automatically.
It is important to note that Google looks at both the authority and the relevance of the site linking to you. Too many links from sites that have nothing to do with yours or are very low authority can hurt your site. So beware of the press release approach.
You want to hear: We acquire backlinks from industry-related high PR (High Authority) websites through the custom content generation and we are very selective when it comes to link building.
Rather than: We use state-of-the-art automation tools to get you 1000’s of links.
The reality is, a high quantity of low-quality links can actually hurt your website’s ranking, as the approach is considered deceptive to Google and Bing. With that said, if someone has taken this approach and you’re concerned a good SEO Company knows how to mitigate the negative consequences and get your website back on track. However, this may require additional work and thus additional costs.
How will you keep me informed regarding my SEO performance?
A great SEO will share with you what they are doing and what is being accomplished. At the very least, you should be receiving 2 reports on a pre-determined basis.
Report 1: What your SEO is doing to your website to optimize it. This could be any number of things based upon their strategy, but it should be clear and understandable.
Report 2: This report will include things like a traffic report and where this traffic came from, rankings for targeted keywords, and conversions.
Hiring the right digital advertising agency for your SEO needs
For more information about how to hire an SEO Company, Google created a great video to help you understand how to make the most out of an interview with a potential SEO Company. In the video, you’ll learn the questions a great marketer or owner should be asking before hiring an SEO Company. They remind us that doing what’s right for your online customer experience/user experience is doing what’s right for SEO. This is what will help you in the long run. We found this video very useful and we know you will too.