34 questions you should ask before hiring an SEO agency. When you want to have a website for your business, the first question you could ask yourself is: which SEO agency will I choose? This is when we ask friends or family if they know of any, and generally, their answers don’t satisfy us.
Don’t worry, though. Today we will dig into some questions you should know before hiring an SEO marketing agency.
One of the best marketing strategies for companies that want to improve their online visibility is SEO. We will review several types below before starting with the questions that you could ask about this helpful strategy.
- Independent SEO Consultants: These are freelance professionals who offer SEO services.
- SEO companies or agencies: These companies have primarily standardized SEO teams and processes.
- Internal SEO: You use this SEO type when your business or company is huge or is growing rapidly.
You can hire an SEO consultant to help you put things in place and develop an initial strategy to get your website off to a good start.
Today many variants exist between freelancers and SEO agencies. However, if there is something they have in common, it’s that their SEO services will not be cheap. We recommend you be careful when hiring. Discounts on these services often mean that the agency or SEO “specialist” you hired uses troublesome strategies. This, in the long term, could damage your website.
However, finding a balance is good because an outrageous price does not guarantee quality work. Many agencies absurdly increase the costs of creating the website. However, these SEO companies can get away with it since most website owners don’t know how to test SEO work. Before hiring an SEO agency, you must know some helpful questions to avoid this abuse.
By now, you must have a particular notion about what SEO is, and by visiting our blog, you have shown your initiative to learn what questions you should ask before hiring an SEO agency.
As long as you ask the right questions and pay attention to the answers (we’ll show you how to do that later), you should be able to find SEO that will positively impact your business.
How to hire an SEO company
We know that when the time comes to hire an SEO agency, many questions can arise. It’s normal to feel a little scared since it’s an investment that depends on your company’s growth.
Today there is an excellent offer of web positioning services for companies and individuals. If chosen incorrectly, it could have severe consequences for the visibility and positioning of your brand in search engines.
The best thing is that you hire a professional who perfectly carries out the SEO service. This way, you can be very successful and gain position and organic search traffic without advertising. Therefore, you must choose carefully. If you are considering hiring an SEO service, the best thing to do is to ask yourself key questions to feel safe.
Out of all the questions we’ll propose below, choose only those that adapt to the aim you want to achieve.
Let us begin!
1. Can you detail the services you would provide me as part of the SEO strategy?
This is one of the main questions. If the SEO agency representative is reluctant to detail the work, they intend to do for you, be careful. Some SEO companies use unethical web positioning techniques, and they hide what they do with the money you pay them.
In contrast, a good agency will be transparent with you and won’t be afraid to expose the services they claim to provide as part of the SEO strategy. Their services should develop throughout your contract, so remember this when asking these questions before hiring an SEO agency.
Don’t be afraid to ask them for the number of hours or assets they will provide each month depending on their proposed strategy.
Aside from the previous question, here are some other questions you may initially raise:
- What are the services you plan to deliver monthly as part of the strategy? Could you specify the amounts of these services?
- How many hours can I wait for each service monthly?
- How many internal and external items will you provide per month?
- How much time do you spend analyzing campaigns and reports?
When faced with these questions, don’t be surprised if the agency says: “This is what we will provide from the first month to the third month …” It’s common. The agency will try to find the right strategy for your business and adapt the offer as the negotiation develops.
Lastly, make sure they base their services on research and not intuition.
2. How will you optimize our content?
Content is in control of any social network. If you publish good content, you will have many followers as a result. Therefore, before hiring an SEO agency, ensure that it will improve its content.
3. Can you show us some of your writing samples?
This is one of the key questions before hiring an SEO agency. When we ask this question, it’s because we’re interested in knowing what the agency’s writing style is like. Any agency that offers content marketing services should be able to provide you with samples of the best work of their writers. If this doesn’t happen, something is wrong.
4. How do your writers adapt to a new business or industry?
The agency should discuss its best copywriters and how prepared they’re to develop content for their business regardless of the sector. If you ask this question before hiring an SEO agency, you’ll know if they will conduct the amount of research necessary to produce quality content.
If the agency’s response isn’t to your liking, you have two options:
- Test their writing style to see if it works for you.
- Decline the company’s offer.
5. How will you optimize content for our readers and search engines?
When referring to search engines, which are vital to position content, we highlight that this is a key question. Through it, you could know the process of the content team to target your target audience.
You could see how they work with the SEO team, if they optimize their content with keywords and if they have tools like Google Trends.
This is used to know which keywords are the best for specific content.
6. What types of content do you produce?
Using this question, you will discover if the agency has experience producing texts, blog posts, infographics, video scripts, and short animations, among other types of content. Consider all of this to determine what kind of content you want for your business before hiring an SEO agency.
7. How many internal and external content posts will you create per month?
You must have a clear idea about what you want on your website and expose it when you ask these types of questions before hiring an SEO agency. You could specify if you’re going to increase your content or just keep a certain number of visits. Ensure that the agency has a good strategy and that it can guarantee compliance.
8. Will new content be published on the website?
Find out if the agency will add images, edit content to engage its online readers, and publish the final product on its site. If the agency doesn’t handle the administration of the publications, it can advise you to hire an additional professional on the internal team, which may also be part of the agency contract you will sign.
9. What metrics (statistics) will you inform me of?
Before hiring an SEO agency, this is a crucial question: how well will you follow up on the agency’s work? Fortunately, metrics or statistics always speak for themselves. Don’t forget it. The agency should always go beyond web traffic, social networks, and the number of comments. It should measure how its content helps those followers or fixed clients who ask questions. By interpreting these, you can increase the engagement of your customers or followers.
10. How much do they know about link building?
Did you know that external links redirecting the user to your website are key to any online marketing effort? Well, they are, so take this question seriously before hiring an SEO agency.
If there aren’t good links leading to your website, it may be difficult for you to rank higher than the competition in search engines. You won’t be well-positioned if you have a small number of visits.
However, not all links are good. Some of them may classify as spam. Therefore, if you choose the wrong SEO agency, which doesn’t follow Google’s guidelines and creates spam links, your website could get a penalty, causing you to never achieve your goals.
Here are some questions you can ask:
- What type of links will you create? How will you do it?
- How many new links will you produce per month? Expect an estimate.
11. What experience do you have working with companies in my industry?
With this question, you can know if they are capable or have some kind of experience with other companies in your industry. This last aspect isn’t necessarily a decisive factor. Also, you could ask what steps the agency will take to specialize in your industry.
12. Does your agency have a Google Partners Badge?
It’s not a very common question, but it works to verify if the agency can carry out the daily tasks and meet the objectives you have in mind.
If the agency has a Google Partners Badge, it means that it has Google AdWords certified employees. Therefore, it has access to its team of Google agencies and is up to date with the latest AdWords innovations. This is important because it shows that they’re employees committed to their work.
13. How will we communicate?
Without a doubt, you will need to be very aware of the work regarding SEO. This is one of the fundamental questions before hiring an SEO agency.
We recommend that you ask the SEO agency who will be in charge of communicating with your company and how often can you speak to them.
You can suggest communicating as many times as necessary during the week or from time to time to find out if the hired service is succeeding.
14. How will you inform us of our monthly progress?
Here, the agency can deliver a report and an easy-to-read summary with the statistics about the progress of its website. Another question that may arise before hiring an SEO agency is if they will explain the report to you. However, you can also schedule meetings from time to time to control the growth of your business through the website.
15. Who makes up the technical team?
Before hiring an SEO agency, make sure you know who makes up the technical team and who will be responsible for each task. Some agencies aren’t clear about this when offering their services. This can lead to conflict when you need an additional professional to implement the changes they recommend.
Find out if they will need help from another professional at some point.
16. Can you show us some websites you have designed?
This is an important question. Because through it, the agency can show you everything it has done. However, remember that you may not find what you’ve been waiting for. Everything depends on which agency will you hire. There are SEO agencies that specialize in certain areas. It’s advisable to consider the site that the agency shows you to see if it has any similarity to your business idea.
17. Do you design custom websites or use templates?
Your business doesn’t need a very elaborate page layout. That is, a more demonstrative layout to make yourself known, a simple template might suffice.
If you need a unique website that generates leads or sales, speak to agencies that offer custom design services.
18. How much participation will I have in the design?
A useful question before hiring an SEO agency is to find out to what degree you will participate in your website’s design.
However, remember that sometimes you will give your opinion on a design, while at other times, the agency will provide you with ideas that they think are best for your business, even if no one knows you better than yourself.
Also, find out if you will see the website and provide information as they create it. Be sure to give your point of view. You can also find out what the agency design process will be.
19. What type of design will they use?
Any agency you hire will want to look good in your eyes, so the proposed design for your website should be appreciated in all screen sizes and resolutions. Consider that the design provided by the agency responds to any device. Be it on smartphones, tablets, and monitors, among others.
20. Could my website grow as my business grows?
The agency you have in mind should explain how you will handle each website design. For example, where you will place your company’s products or services, the way to contact it, and where it’s located, among others. Don’t miss this ask before hiring an SEO agency.
Remember that the agency should edit the website as your business grows and is recognized by its clients or followers. If, on the contrary, the agency has not thought about this aspect, you must restructure all the ideas you had for your website from the beginning.
21. Do you offer e-commerce services?
If your business generates sales, clarify all your doubts regarding them before hiring an SEO agency. If the company doesn’t answer you for sure, it’s better to think twice before hiring. The agency should easily understand what you mean by electronic commerce.
A specialist in this area can suggest that within its website, add a button for the shopping cart, support for multiple currencies, and update prices to reflect discounts, among other elements.
22. What social media should my company compete in?
Today social media is synonymous with sales and audience, so don’t forget this question before hiring an SEO agency. When you do it, the agency should already have a strategy prepared to know in which social media you can view your business the best. That way, it can recommend the most relevant networks to you based on your audience and your objectives. Everything will depend on your type of business and what products and/or services it offers to the public.
23. How prepared is your team for managing social media?
They should have a good social media team to respond to comments, encourage conversations on all social media, and connect with customers through these channels.
Therefore, one question before hiring an SEO agency must aim to know if the agency has an adequate team to meet the management objectives so that your business can enter the different social platforms.
24. How will you ensure that our presence on social media reflects our brand image?
The agency you have in mind for your hiring should think of social media strategies consistent with their brand image. They shouldn’t employ tactics they have already used for other clients because they may not perform well for you. It’s about your brand image. Include this question in your top 10 questions before hiring an SEO agency.
25. Do you offer ongoing maintenance once the website is active?
Maintenance is another important point since it relates to virus removal, updates, the verification that all links are working correctly, and the status of the main website. Will the contracted agency be able to handle post-launch troubleshooting, or will you have to find another provider to maintain your website? While there are agencies that specialize in some objectives more than others, the idea is to get all the benefits in a single agency.
26. What role does SEO play in site design?
This is another of the essential questions before hiring an SEO agency because it’s the key element of this matter: SEO. We suggest that the website harmonizes with the theme or business you are launching on the market because even if you don’t believe it, your future clients and followers will notice this detail. Therefore, if your website is not following what it offers, I assure you will not get many clients. We have been mentioning how SEO is so important when creating the website and how it has to be in tune with your business.
Ask these two questions before hiring an SEO agency:
- Does your agency produce content optimization for keywords, titles, and meta-descriptions?
- Will you be able to implement a crawlable link structure and use other strategies to make the site SEO friendly from the start?
27. What kind of security features do they offer?
Have you thought about securing your website? With this question, we can be sure if the agency has knowledge in this area and if it can configure a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate to establish an impenetrable connection for traffic between the web browser and the server.
This is vital because you don’t want your website to be hacked or easily accessible to unauthorized third parties.
Now, do you understand why this question is crucial before hiring an SEO agency?
Lastly, given the importance of the secure connection layer, ask your prospective agency for checks to verify that you can configure this security measure.
28. Are they updated with the latest algorithm changes?
Google creates approximately 500 algorithm changes per year, although not all are significant. Most of these changes have little impact anywhere.
However, if there’s a select group of algorithm updates that are significant enough to warrant naming, then all SEOs should be familiar with such updates. Be sure to ask the SEO to describe some of the latest updates to check if this person knows what you are talking about.
You will know if the SEO agency you are thinking of hiring is an inexperienced person who only wants to make quick money or if they know about the subject and are trained to take care of your business. Remember this question before hiring an SEO agency. If the agency is up to date with updates, it could also be active in forums and on some SEO community.
Finally, if you don’t know where you can see this list of updates, we provide you with a website where you can see them. This is SearchEngine Land.
29. Can you guarantee that the site will rank # 1 for an important search term?
Next, you will know how to eliminate or deny false SEOs and their illegal techniques. One of the most relevant questions before hiring an SEO agency.
If an SEO professional or agency is trying to make a sale, they will usually be happy to say that it guarantees the number one ranking in Google’s search results.
However, the dilemma is: that no one can guarantee ranking number one and much less in a specific time period. Here are some reasons you can’t believe those promises:
30. No SEO knows the exact algorithm of Google.
If any SEO claims to know the exact algorithm, it’s lying. We can assure you that you could earn much more than what you would charge as a typical SEO consultant if you knew the algorithm. This is because it’s very complex to guess the sequence of a series of operations besides its use on the web. Google drives more than one algorithm change per day on average, so you can’t know when or how it will change unless you’re working on this algorithm with Google.
31. Penalties can appear at any time.
Google rarely says when certain algorithms will run. Its penalties can be algorithmic or manual. With algorithmics, they can be run weekly, monthly, or annually. In contrast, manual fines, reviews, and penalties can appear at any time.
Therefore, these two points mean that although SEOs can consistently increase their search traffic over time, they cannot guarantee the positioning of specific keywords. However, there is one important caveat: some SEOs may ask you what keyword you consider or suggest. If you are targeting a very easy keyword, they can offer you a guarantee.
Take into account before hiring an SEO agency that offering a guarantee and guaranteeing a number one ranking are two unique aspects. Providing a guarantee usually means they expect you to rank at number one for an easy term, but if they can’t help you do that, they’ll give you some kind of refund. This guarantee is good, although you should be cautious because it could lead to them being too aggressive to get short-term results, which could be dangerous or illegal.
Instead, guaranteeing you a number one ranking means that the agency guarantees you a number one ranking in search results even with a difficult term.
32. What tools do they use?
When we use the word “tool”, it usually describes a wide variety of SEO applications that allow you to process a lot of information in a short time and save a lot of money.
Here are some of them:
- Reporting Tools: Although we know that reports can be created manually, it’s much easier to create a custom, computerised report that combines analytics, keyword rankings, and other SEO metrics.
- Link building tools: these are tools that allow creating hundreds or thousands of links with the click of a button.
- Technical tools: do you know tools like ScreamingFrog? This allows SEOs to quickly track large sites when there is a technical problem.
- Research tools: These are the tools that allow you to collect contact information for numerous people in minutes. An example of them is BuzzStream. These types of tools help to group potential clients and carry out keyword research.
They design these tools to comment on hundreds, if not thousands, of blogs, forums, or 2.0 websites, as it automates them. However, if the SEO company names tools like Xrumer, SE Nuke, or Bookmarking Demon, stay away – it’s not a suitable option.
Therefore, it might be helpful to ask questions before hiring an SEO agency regarding these tools.
Likewise, another application that is partially inadvisable is Scrapebox since they can use it for spam comments on blogs. Still, they can also use it for legitimate investigation and reporting activities. If your SEO Company specifically mentions Scrapebox, ask for more details about how they use it.
33. Could you specify what SEO tasks you will do in my business?
This question is of great importance before hiring an SEO agency. This is because the person in charge of answering this question should have developed at least a basic technical SEO audit, and once they hire the agency, they should show said audit.
If, on the contrary, this isn’t part of their process, they are probably not very good SEO, and we recommend that you be careful, as technical SEO involves all the in-depth aspects of SEO that search engines are still interested in. These are things like finding and addressing web crawler errors, 404 pages, redirect issues, and testing site navigation, meaning, tasks any SEO agency should know about. Don’t let them fool you.
34. Do you always follow Google’s best practices?
It may be true that following Google’s best practices is important for long-term traffic growth, but let’s not forget that Google uses approximately 500 algorithm updates per year.
All these updates have a single purpose: to facilitate the best results for search engines. Each of them publishes the search engine rules, known as the “golden rules”.
So, when you break the rules, Google doesn’t end up happy. For this reason, they have created certain algorithms that have penalised many sites with easy access for being hacked.
When you get a penalty, your web traffic is the most affected, and it may take months or even years of recovery work to correct it. You can also lose tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue during this time. We recommend that you think long-term. Don’t forget that quality SEO takes time.
35. Do you offer an out clause?
This wise question before hiring an SEO agency will ensure that there is an exclusion clause in the contract. Thirty days in advance can be a good starting point. This clause will prevent you from losing your earnings.
Once you find the right agency, give the agency six to nine months before making any rash decisions.
36. Why should we hire you over other SEOs?
Perhaps this is the last question before hiring an SEO agency. This question can help you know what you are looking for in your company. Because it’s a fairly open question, it doesn’t have a correct answer, but it can give you some idea of what the agency can expect.
However, some answers could alert you to a poor SEO agency. Be careful if they respond by expressing something related to:
- “We are the cheapest option.”
- “We can build you more backlinks (external links)”.
- “We don’t know.”
- “We can get excellent results in a short time.”
Given these answers, act smart and know what the work of this agency will be like. You cannot add tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to your corporate account without a good SEO job. The SEO service is an investment that takes at least a few months before you see significant results.
If the SEO professional recommends you to take shortcuts or be highly aggressive with link building, it’s best to move on to the next candidate with the key questions before hiring an SEO agency.
Ideally, when you ask this question, they will respond by referring to their experience, including their successes, their satisfied clients, and the prestige the agency has in the industry.
Are you starting your business and don’t know who to hire to drive your business?
Then write to us, and we will gladly assist you. We have a specialized team to support you at all times.
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