Did you know that 75% of searchers never click past the first page of results? If your website does not come up on the first page, you won’t get a lot of visitors.
How can you change this? Paid advertising might help, but users ignore those too. Instead, focus on search engine optimization (SEO).
If you know nothing about SEO, hiring an SEO marketing agency is your best bet. These professionals live and breathe optimization.
Finding the right partnership for your business won’t be easy, but these questions can help. Read on to learn more.
1. Can You Itemize Your Services?
A good SEO marketing agency will be transparent with the services they intend to provide your business with. The sad reality is that not every company or freelancer will tell the truth about what they are doing for the money offered.
Along with asking this question, it is essential to read over your contract thoroughly. The services they provide should revolve around the contract you receive.
If the contract is long-term, the services provided each month should be different. Based on the strategy a local SEO marketing agency offers you, they should list the number of assets that you expect to receive.
The following is all of the information you should take in by asking this question:
- Exact services and quantities of each
- Hours per month
- Website technical aspects worth fixing
- Website pages that will be optimized
- New landing page creations
- Internal and external articles
- Backlinks per month
- Campaign analysis and reporting time limit
Because SEO marketing trends change often, it is normal for an agency to change its strategy in the later months. Still, an agency should be able to provide you with answers for up to three months at least.
Don’t take an agency not knowing what will happen in the later months as a red flag. This is actually a good answer because it shows that an agency is willing to find the right strategy for your business and adapt from there.
2. How Will You Optimize Content?
Search engine optimization agencies can enhance your content, but you need to find out how.
Learn if an agency will work with your existing content or create a new copy for you. You should also learn if they are going to create new landing pages based on the contract provided.
A successful content marketing plan can help a business with the following:
- Building trust
- Establishing authority
- Call-to-action production
- Proving quality
No matter how an agency chooses to go about website content, it must match the intent of the user.
3. What Is Your Link Building Process?
Any SEO digital marketing agency knows that external inbound backlinks are important to online marketing efforts. To rank higher than the competitors, you’ll need good links that point to your website.
Listen carefully to the answer to this question as some SEO agencies build spam links that go against the guidelines of Google. When this happens, your website might be penalized and it’s possible you won’t achieve your goals.
Along with understanding the link-building process, you’ll need to figure out what kind of links will be built. Ask for an estimate on how many new links you will receive each month.
An agency with access to a database of relevant placement opportunities will find the best options for you.
4. Can I Meet the Team Working on My Project?
Before committing to an SEO contract, it is smart to learn who will be responsible for every task within that contract. Avoid a business that is vague with its proposals because it can lead to confusion down the line.
Some agencies will require external help which is why it is important to know who is working on what. You might be required to find external help for them.
If you are a new client, expect an SEO agency to provide you with their best team to win you over. However, this team is not likely going to be the ones working on the specifics.
For this reason and more, meet all team members involved in your project. Don’t allow your contract to be handed to someone who is not qualified to complete certain tasks.
5. Are You Working With Our Competitors?
It’s not always a bad thing for an SEO agency to have clients within the same industry as you.
In fact, it means they will have a better understanding of what works in the industry and what does not. They may also have extra resources to work with.
However, keep in mind that an agency that works with your competitors might be making more money off of them than they are with you. This means your competitor will receive more services per month than your contract states.
Don’t be afraid to ask for the details but understand that not every agency can divulge this information to you.
6. What Do You Know About Our Industry?
Finding an agency that has some experience working with your industry is vital to the success of the partnership.
Companies that specialize in SEO won’t be specialists in your industry but have enough knowledge to make it work. They’ll complete research to create relevant content for your audience.
By asking the above question about competitors, you can get an idea of how familiar they are with your line of work. By asking this question, you’ll be able to learn more about partnerships and networks you can benefit from.
The more examples of digital assets and writing examples they can provide to you, the better. You can also ask about case studies and chat with other clients before making a final commitment.
7. How Much Time Will My In-House Team Need to Devote?
A big mistake that businesses make when hiring an SEO marketing agency is believing that they are going to do all the work. The answer to this question will heavily depend on your contract and what you need to sign off on.
If you work to make the agency you hire autonomous, they can make changes without you signing off on everything. If this is the process you are interested in, you and your in-house team won’t have to devote as much time.
In the early stages of hiring an SEO company, it is recommended to sign off on everything until you can build up trust. This means you will have to commit some time to the process.
Learn how often the agency will send you plans to sign off on to know how much time you need to devote.
You’ll also need to figure out if the agency will depend on some of your in-house members. For example, your content writers, developers, and designers might play a huge role in an SEO plan.
You and your team will have to meet with the agency occasionally to go over some important details. Yet, every agency is different in how they communicate information.
Some agencies prefer weekly calls or provide you with reports through email on an ad hoc basis. If you are not comfortable with how often an agency meets with you, discuss a compromise or go a different route.
It’s important to be kept in the loop as much as you’d like when hiring an SEO agency.
8. What Ranking Increase Can We Expect?
This question is a tough one because the answer is not direct. The process of increasing your rankings depends on several factors. Yet, every business wants to know how successful an SEO company will be.
Google is the only one with control over organic search positionings. Google considers these components when making rankings:
- Competition levels
- Where the searcher lives
- Previous search history
- Algorithm changes
You might be wondering, why ask this question at all if you can’t get a straightforward answer? The reasoning is simple.
The response you get will tell you a lot about how an SEO agency operates. Are they only trying to gain another client or do they care if their strategies succeed?
A good SEO company will explain why they can’t provide a direct answer with the above information in more detail. They can only provide you with an estimate of what to expect over time.
Any reputable SEO company will never guarantee search rankings.
9. How Will You Analyze the Campaigns You Run?
Understanding what campaigns an SEO agency will run is only part of the information you need. A great SEO company will analyze campaigns by following metrics and reporting them to you.
This is the information you should receive at least each month:
- What exactly has been done
- How successful the campaign is
- Where your rankings sand
- Amount of traffic
- Number of conversions
If you expect deep reports, let the agency know that. If you want something more concise and simple to understand, they should be able to do that for you too. You can also opt for both options to make copies for certain business roles.
Find out what reporting software they use, how often they will send reports, and what happens when new campaign data is found.
10. How Can You Incorporate SEO Into Our Overall Marketing Strategy?
Hiring an SEO company is not the only piece of a marketing team that matters. A good SEO plan is implemented into an overall marketing strategy.
An SEO partner must be open to collaborating with the members of your marketing team. However, they might also benefit from meeting with the sales team and web development team.
When an agency works hand in hand with a business, everyone is involved and more information is brought to light. There is a good chance that a member of your sales team knows more about your clients than anyone else.
As the top dog, you should create a plan for integrating their efforts with the efforts of your in-house team. Lay out your current marketing strategy so that an agency can tell you where they believe they fit in.
11. How Do You Conduct Keyword Research?
Modern keyword research is a lot different and takes more effort than it did in the past. User intent and keyword research go together so make sure an agency brings them both up when answering this question.
They should be able to provide you with the names of the tools and describe the methods they use to find keywords. When they don’t bring up user intent, you can guess that a company is operating with an outdated practice.
12. Is There an Out Clause in the Contract?
If you thoroughly read over a contract, you should already know the answer to this question. Asking about the out clause can provide you with more clarity on how it works.
Because results take time, give an SEO agency at least six months before making a rash decision. It is important to have an out clause for your peace of mind. You don’t want to be stuck with a company that can’t produce results.
If the out clause is negotiable, providing a thirty-day notice is a good place to start.
Are You Ready to Hire an SEO Marketing Agency?
The SEO marketing agency that you choose will affect the success of your campaigns. You don’t want to pick an agency that lands you in the red instead of boosting you up.
The process of finding the right company is thorough, but it is worth the time and research. When meeting with agencies for interviews, keep these questions in hand.
To make an informative decision, bring a notepad with you to write down and remember every answer. Once completed, you’ll feel confident knowing you hired the right partner to up your search engine optimization process.
For a long-term growth strategy, find a company with the services that can help you most. Contact us today for professional support to talk about your brand.