Want transparency from your SEO company? Here’s what they should be telling you.
In today’s ever-changing digital landscape, it’s now more important than ever for small businesses to reach their customers online.
If your website isn’t getting good search engine visibility, your potential customers may not even know you exist.
Hiring an experienced, reliable, and transparent SEO company can be critical to the success of your business.
Many small businesses, however, have placed their trust in SEO companies who have all but destroyed their website through unethical techniques.
So, how do you weed out the scam artists and find a truly capable SEO company? Ask them these questions and look for these types of responses.
1. How will you improve my rankings?
Be wary of companies that won’t freely discuss their methods with you. While they may not be able to say “We’ll get links from X, Y, and Z websites,” and tell you all their SEO secrets, all good SEOs can explain to you a comprehensive strategy that should include a thorough initial audit of your website, keyword research, on-page optimization, off-page optimization, tracking key metrics, and white-hat techniques that are proven to deliver measurable results.
2. Can you guarantee that our site will rank #1 for ______ search term?
This is probably the fastest and easiest way to weed out the salesmen from the legitimate SEO experts.
If their answer isn’t something like “No, nobody can” then you need to run in the other direction. No one can guarantee #1 rankings every single time—especially not in any specific time period.
They can, however, assure you positive results based on successful campaigns they’ve managed for X and Y clients.
One of the best ways to know if an SEO agency can handle your project is if they’ve already achieved demonstrable returns in the same niche. If they have, they should be able to explain the strategy they used.
3. How long until I see results?
Write off any company that promises instant results. No one knows the exact Google algorithm or how the algorithm will change, and there is no magic wand that SEOs can wave to get you to the #1 spot.
SEO takes time and is always in a state of change. SEO companies are working with powers that are outside of their control, such as the power of Google and their algorithmic changes, which makes it hard to pinpoint exactly when you will start seeing returns. That’s just the simple truth. So, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Look for an answer like “Depending on how competitive your target market is, it typically takes up to 3-6 months to start seeing results.” Every niche will have different levels of competition, and some may take longer than others to see positive traction.
4. Do you follow Google and other search engine webmaster guidelines? Are you up to date on the latest Google algorithm changes?
A good SEO company will strictly adhere to Google webmaster best practices - not only for better rankings and increased traffic, but also to avoid manual penalties and negative consequences from algorithm updates. When you violate these golden rules, your website can get penalized by algorithms like Panda or Penguin, which can take months or years of work to correct.
Google makes about 500 algorithmic changes per year. They aren’t all significant, but a select few of them are significant enough to be named (hint: Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Pigeon, Mobile-Friendly, etc.).
Choose an agency that stays current with their strategies, and will walk you through specific updates and how they can affect your business.
5. How do you measure success?
This question can also be phrased as “What metrics do you track, and which are the most important to measure?” or “What are your key performance indicators?” If the response is simply something like “rankings,” then keep walking.
Rankings, traffic, and backlinks are certainly very important to track, but effective SEO drives conversions, leads and sales. A thousand visitors on your website means nothing if that traffic never buys from you. Look for an SEO agency that will improve your bottom line, increase your growth, and deliver a measurable return on your investment.
Remember that SEO is a long-term investment, and it’s too important for your business to hand over to just anyone. Be bold and ask questions! A confident and knowledgeable SEO company will be happy to explain their processes and how they can help your business. Asking these questions from the onset can help you achieve an honest relationship with your SEO company, which will only set you up for success.
Want even more? Click below to get 19 more questions to ask before hiring an SEO company.