10 Questions to Ask Before Choosing an SEO Agency
Nowadays, search engines are continuously updating their algorithms for smooth user experience. With this, SEO is always evolving. SEO may not be a DIY activity for business owners, thus the need to partner with SEO experts.
In best-case scenarios, the right SEO agent improves your site’s search rankings, attracts organic traffic, and generates sales. In worst-case scenarios, the partner takes part in black hat tools that give your site a false success. Hiring an SEO agency needn’t be so difficult. Below are ten questions to ask an SEO agency before you begin the transaction.
- 1. Can I have a list of your past and recent clients?
- 2. How do you plan to improve my rankings?
- 3. Do you adhere to webmaster guidelines?
- 4. Are you well-experienced in local search results?
- 5. Will you share the changes made on my site?
- 6. How will you measure the success of SEO campaigns?
- 7. How do you communicate, and how often?
- 8. What are your payment terms?
- 9. What next after we’ve part ways?
- 10. Can I sign a contract before we transact?
- Developing an SEO from Scratch
1. Can I have a list of your past and recent clients?
A creditable SEO agency will always be willing to share a list of their former and current clients. The references will help you determine the effectiveness of the agency. It also verifies the SEO campaigns done by the agency. Even though the firm may not give accurate analytics, it should tell whether or not a positive impact was notable on the search ranking.
2. How do you plan to improve my rankings?
Beware of SEO agencies who aren’t free to discuss their methods of operation. Go for one that explains its strategies and gives a realistic time estimate that your SEO campaign objectives can be met. So, be sure that the agency can:
- Carry out a technical site review to uproot the issues that may lower your ranking.
- Offer “on page” optimizations to make your site SEO friendly.
- Provide “off-page” optimization strategies to increase your site’s content awareness on other social media platforms, websites, and blogs.
3. Do you adhere to webmaster guidelines?
Everyone is looking for an agency that strictly obeys Google’s webmaster practices. These guidelines expressly forbid the use of SEO tricks like generating spam content or adding a hidden link building service. If the agency doesn’t follow these rules, your site may soon be banned from Google’s search results.
4. Are you well-experienced in local search results?
If you’re working with a small business, appearing at the top of local searches can be crucial. Not all agencies have expertise in local search results techniques. An agency may be so useful in organic SEO but insufficient in local SEO. Local optimization means that your site appears top when visitors search for a keyword relevant to your brand.
SEO requires several changes to your site, especially on the existing page coding. Therefore, it’s of paramount importance to know the specific adjustments that an agency makes on your web pages. You can tell them that you’ll need notifications before they access or alter your web code.
Will the agency modify the existing title tags or add new ones to the present HTML codes? Will they redesign your web’s navigation or add pages to it? Will they provide Google ads?
6. How will you measure the success of SEO campaigns?
Gauging your SEO success needs tracking. This will help you know the extent to which your site receives traffic. An experienced agent should be knowledgeable about Google Analytics and the tools required to measure your site’s rankings. Inquire on the agency’s frequency in sharing the analytics and how they’ll use the data to improve your rankings.
7. How do you communicate, and how often?
Typically, the communication of SEO agencies varies depending on factors like customer service standards. Does the candidate prefer person-to-person talk, phone calls, Skype, email, or texting? Also, how often do they reach out for status updates? Go for an agency that shares the reports and allows you to review them before working on it to completion.
8. What are your payment terms?
Know the price that you’ll be charged before hiring the agency. Inquire if the agency is paid hourly, on a retainer basis, or project-wise. The most common payment methods are project-based, and the amount varies depending on the project’s complexity.
9. What next after we’ve part ways?
The right SEO firm will pass ownership of the optimized content to you even after the contract has expired. The agents shouldn’t remove or change any content on your website even after you’ve parted ways.
10. Can I sign a contract before we transact?
A contract is a legal agreement. Before signing it, read through to confirm that it has included all your engagement terms and conditions. Is there any fee payable for contract termination? If yes, let this be specified in the contract.
Developing an SEO from Scratch
Most businesses know that they need to implement SEO on their websites. However, they are not sure where to start. Effective SEO comprises different actions such that if there is no strategy in place, there is a likelihood that the organisation may be overwhelmed. Should you first work on page titles, META Descriptions or add a site map? Here is a quick look at how to get started.
Always start by configuring your website. Choose the right domain name, configure your content management system and install an SEO- friendly analytics package. Then, perform targeted keyword research to determine the best search phrases that align with your business. With the two in place, you can then move down to on-page factors. Here you make it easier for search engines to determine what you have posted on your site by optimising titles, header tags and descriptions, among others.
Proceed to creating an information architecture as it forms the skeleton of your website. The links between different pages help search engines to determine the hierarchy of the pages and determine the most important ones. These links include the sitemap, tag clouds, footers, main menu and category navigation.
Once the site is ready, you need to build awareness of your content. Some of the techniques you can use to achieve that include XML sitemaps, syndication, linking page and social media optimization. From this point, you can start to accelerate the website awareness by generating a buzz around the site, expanding keyword research and keyword research. You will require regular measurement of results and refine the page as per your findings.
It is advisable that you choose a competent SEO agency to help in making your SEO strategy a success. The agency will not only implement it but offer advice on ways to improve your site further. In determining if the agency has what it takes to do the job, you need to ask a few questions as listed below.