Here are 11 important questions to ask to determine whether or not you are talking to the right agency for your company:
1. ARE THEY IMPLEMENTERS?
There are a vast array of businesses calling themselves SEO agencies around the world. You need to determine what their area of expertise is and if they will be a good fit for you.
For example, do they do the actual work on your site, arethey strategists, or researchers? Companies like Spectrum, OttawayDigital and Rothman write the content and develop the site.
Companies like Moz.com, SearchMetrics and SEMRush provide tools for analyzing and measuring progress.
2. WILL YOU OWN YOUR SITE?
Some SEO agencies retain all of improvements they make to your site, so when you cancel, you will have no website. Be sure to inquire as to this important factor in making your decision.
3. WHAT ARE THEIR SERVICES & OPTIONS?
Every SEO company has a different program or package. Get a copy of their services as well as fees. It is impossible to compare SEO agencies without knowing what is covered.
4. DO THEY OFFER VIDEO?
As video becomes more and more important you must add it to your site. Ask if these services are offered
5. DO THEY HAVE DEVELOPERS ON STAFF?
It’s important that web development can be completed quickly, especially in a highly competitive market. Also, ask if developer time is included in the monthly SEO fee. What is their typical turn-around time on requests for IT projects such as new pages, forms and adding pictures?
6. WHAT IS THEIR TRACK RECORD?
What examples can they show of their work? Do they have case studies for you to review?
7. HOW ABOUT THEIR EXPERTISE?
How long have they been performing this type of work? What do they cite as their areas of expertise? Do they have specific history in your industry? These are important questions. If they’ve never worked in your industry, your site can be a “guinea pig,” and you don’t know if you’ll see results.
8. WHAT ARE THEIR TERMS OF SERVICE?
Do they require a contract? If so, for how long? Under what conditions may it be broken?
9. DO THEY OFFER TRANSPARENT REPORTING?
What is their format for reporting progress on your website? How often is it done? Who does it? Is it live by webinar or a written report?
10. ASK FOR REFERENCES:
Ask them for the names of 10 references and let you choose a few to contact. You want to do the choosing here, not them.
11. WHAT ARE THEIR WORKING HOURS?
Do they work out of an office? Do they have regular office hours? What time zone? If they’re closed when you’re open it generally will not work.
Every question will factor into the success of your SEO program, as well as your trust in the agency partnership. Full transparency and good communication are the foundations of a relationship with a trusted SEO agency. Good luck!
The author, Bob Ottaway, is President and Founder of Ottaway Digital. Established in 1999, it has been a pioneer in SEO, digital advertising & social media since 2006.