Best Questions to Ask an SEO Agency
Chances are if you’re here then you’re in the process of hiring an SEO agency. This process can be a dreadful one, but we’re here to make this a whole lot easier. The best way to get to the bottom of picking the best team for you is to go down the list of top questions to ask an SEO agency. This is a crucial investment to make in your business so keep your ears open and listen to the responses the agencies on your list have to say.
Top Questions to Ask an SEO Agency:
What is SEO?
An obvious question I know, but you’d be surprised at the number of “SEO gurus” out there that have a difficult time explaining this concept easily to someone who is new to the game. SEO (short for Search Engine Optimization) is the process of increasing a websites visibility for relevant keywords and searches. The greater a sites visibility has on search engines, specifically Google, the more likely their business will grab the attention of quality customers.
How long will it be before I start seeing results?
It’s important to understand that SEO is a long term game and a continuous process. Pay attention to what agencies have to say when answering this question. If an agency responds with, “you’ll see instant results” or “you’ll be at the top of SERP’s in weeks” then hang up the phone and run away. This tells you one of two things. One, they are lying or two, they are not practicing good and legal SEO tactics. It will typically take anywhere from three to six months before you start to see results and this number could potentially be higher depending on your competitive niche. Remind yourself to stay patient throughout the process and eventually you will reach that “overnight success.”
How will you choose my target keywords?
An experienced SEO agency will respond with, “taking a various amount of components into consideration.” Some examples can include traffic volume, relevance, search intent and levels of competition. A major key here is to drive the most targeted traffic and not traffic volumes. Think about it. If the competition level of a keyword is far too high to rank then there should be no reason to waste time and money on that keyword. Picking strategic keywords that are both high in traffic volume and offers a reasonable competition level are the ones worth going to work on.
Have you ever worked for a business like mine?
This question can bring you some solid insights whether they answer yes or no. If the answer is yes then kindly ask for some examples on how they were able to make a positive impact. If they answer no then ask how they were able to deliver for the other business in a similar situation like yours.
Would you say you always follow Google’s best practices?
Following Google’s best practices is an absolute must for all agencies, especially for long term success. If your website is ever caught making any violations then you can fully expect Google to retaliate with penalties. Google Panda Algorithm will penalize you with any on-page violations while Google Penguin Algorithm will penalize you with any off-page violations. If you are ever flagged for any of these violations then you can be certain that your search traffic will heavily pay the price.
The recovery time for these penalties can take months and sometimes even years to correct. It is in your best interest to find an SEO agency that you can trust to play by Google’s rules. Answers to some of the other questions on this list can help give you a better idea if they do or not so pay attention to all of their answers and make sure you understand them fully before moving on.
What types of SEO work do you plan on performing for me?
The keynote here is to listen for them to say they will perform a basic technical SEO audit once a contract is signed. If this is not part of their process then chances are they aren’t the best fit to grow your business. When an agency performs a technical SEO audit they will be focusing around on how well search engine spiders can crawl your website and index your content. Do you see why it’s important this audit is part of the process in the beginning? If the agency doesn’t research or understand this audit then they’ll have nothing to move forward on.
What do your reports look like and how often will you report?
It’s always a good sign if an agency is willing to show you a report and walk you through the details. It’s important to make sure you clearly understand what the report is telling you. Every agency will report and measure different metrics so ask questions when you need a better explanation.
Here at Advent you’ll have access to your own reporting dashboard where you have access to 24/7 365. All the metrics will be shown in real time so you can see how our strategy is helping your business at all hours of the day. If you ever have a question about what your report is saying then simply book an appointment with your success advisor.
What does your payment structure look like?
Different agencies will all offer different payment processes. The most common structures offered include payments on a monthly, hourly and performance basis. It’s important that both parties are clear about when, how often and how much will be paid. On average you can expect to pay around $3,000 a month when you hire an SEO agency. This price can jump as high up to $25,000 to $50,000 on the upper end of the market. If you’re talking to a freelancer then you can expect to pay by the hour anywhere between $100-$200.
When will my site reach #1 on Google?
If an SEO agency guarantees you that they will get your website to the page one of Google then that’s your que to quickly abort mission! The fact of the matter is that no SEO agency can ever guarantee when and if you’ll ever reach #1 on Google. Some things to take into consideration is that no one knows when or how the Google Algorithm will change. Google updates their algorithm anywhere between 500-600 times per year (that’s at least one update per day). No “guru” will ever know this information unless it’s illegal so if they make this bold fake statement now you know that it’s a red flag.
Why should I hire your SEO Agency?
This is the open ended question every weak SEO agency prays to never get asked. The truth here is that this question alone can help you make the smart decision on whether to move forward with the agency or not. This is a setup question to listen for any red flag responses. Some examples can include, “we can get you results faster in a matter of weeks” or “we can build more backlinks” and “we’re a cheaper alternative.”
As mentioned before it’s nearly impossible to get results in less than the three to six month average of seeing any kind of impact. If an agency says they’ll build you more backlinks this just shows they are more concerned with the quantity over the quality and you don’t want that. Remember, good SEO will not come cheap. This is a long term investment that involves a lot of moving parts. And when done correctly it will put your initial investment back in your pocket plus an additional tens of thousands of dollars. So pick your winning agency wisely.