What questions should I ask when hiring an SEO company?
The strategy of getting your website to appear organically on the first page of Google’s search results is a good one: it can give your business a much wider reach than paid ads, and it will continue bringing you leads long after the SEO work is complete. With Google constantly changing their algorithm, hiring a specialist who is on top of the best practices makes sense, but countless digital marketing and SEO agencies now offer search engine optimisation services. Navigating this landscape can be extremely confusing, and a common query from our clients is, “what questions should I ask when hiring an SEO company?” In this post, we share some key tips to help you cut through the sales talk and find the right partner for your needs.
In-house or outsourced work?
The most vital question to ask is “who will be doing the SEO work? Is it in-house?” Just because an agency or business is selling SEO services does not mean that they are doing it themselves. Many digital advertising firms contract part, or all, of their SEO services to an outside company. Some firms contract keyword research out to those with access to specialist SEO software, while other firms might contract out the web page writing portion. Outsourcing work is not a problem in itself – smaller firms often cannot keep full-time staff in those positions – and a company that is honest and clear about who is doing what, and why, is going to be better to work with than one that avoids the question or does not give clear answers.
Where do your backlinks come from?
Backlinks are vital and the best way to build backlinks is through the creation of high-quality content. Compelling and informative content will lead other people to link back to it organically. Google’s algorithm is exceptionally good at filtering out repetitive links, low-quality, or from link-farm websites. Asking “what are the types of link-building strategies that will be used” will help you discern how knowledgeable the agency is. You want to work with people who research competitor’s backlinks and conduct manual outreach to authoritative, niche-related sites.
Who will be my account manager or be managing my campaign?
The last thing anyone wants is to have a fantastic consultation and engage an advertising firm or agency only to discover that the person they had been dealing with only works with sales. Being handed over to someone else can feel like a kick to the stomach, especially if your personalities later clash. Ask who will be in charge of your account or managing your campaign, and ensure you speak to them before signing any contracts. While asking who will be managing your account or campaign you can ask further about how they work, such as their preferred means of contact.
How often will I get updates?
Not knowing when to expect communications from your account manager is a surefire way to build a bad working relationship. Asking “what reports will I receive and how often will I receive them” is a great way to ensure you are both on the same page. Every reputable SEO agency will provide periodic reports on backlinks acquired, increase in web traffic, increase in search rankings, or number of subscribers to your email lists, but knowing when to expect them could be the difference in satisfaction with their service or not. Asking what reports you will receive and how often will also allow you to negotiate the frequency of the reports in advance.
Is it important to have access to my website?
Generally, an SEO agency will bring this up with you first as to maximise your search rankings it is important to add or modify your website to incorporate SEO best practices. The agency will likely request direct access to your site so they can edit your content to incorporate new keywords and links. If they cannot make those changes, they are effectively limited to backlink acquisition only, which will mean limited results.
How long until I see results?
Generally, it will take 4-6 months for you to start seeing the results of an SEO company’s work on your site. There can be exceptions. If you have a website that Google already considers authoritative, or your site has been around for a long time, especially if you only have a few competitors, then you can expect a faster return on your investment. In any case, you won’t be seeing results the next day, and if an SEO agency tells you they can guarantee results very quickly then this should be taken as a red flag.
Knowing what questions to ask when hiring an SEO company will allow you to narrow down your options quickly and find the right agency for your needs. Not only will this filter out any agencies who might be less knowledgeable than they claim, but it will help you identify who you will have a good working relationship with and create a great opportunity for you to be clear about your needs and expectations from the outset.
If you’d like answers to more questions regarding the feasibility of certain SEO strategies or would like to book an SEO audit for your website, please contact us. Our experienced team will be able to answer any questions you may have and provide recommendations on the best ways to boost your search ranking.