So you have received 3-4 SEO proposals from some big time SEO agencies. What next?
SEO has undergone multiple make overs in the last decade and with plethora of SEO specialists available online and offline today, it can be confusing and overwhelming at times, to decide which SEO company to go for and which one to reject. But there are some simple things that you can do yourself to choose the best SEO company according to your needs and feel great about it.
Hiring an SEO company or a consultant can make or break your business. A good SEO company can get you to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars while a bad SEO company can cripple your business within no time.
In this article, we will discuss 5 important questions customers should ask SEO companies or consultants after receiving an SEO proposal.
Q1. Your Past & Current clients?
Choosing and selecting an SEO company is like shopping for anything else. Today, when you want to purchase a mobile, you would obviously Google for reviews, feedback, customer experiences etc.
Choosing an SEO company works the same way. You would want to see customer reviews, testimonials, case studies etc. before making the final decision.
The SEO company, that sent you the proposal, should list out the names of at least 2-3 of their clients where considerable growth in rankings, traffic, visitors etc. was seen.
These references can help your business gauge how effective a particular SEO company is. You can also call up/mail these 2-3 clients asking for proof. Most of the clients will not be in a position to share the full data but they will be at least able to tell you about the growth (conversions), how many keywords jumped in places, by how much %age the traffic increased and so on.
Q2. How Will the Search Rankings Be Improved?
Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz, a Seattle-based internet marketing company advises to stay clear of SEO consultants/companies who don’t discuss their methods of operations freely and in detail. There is always something fishy about such companies and this will only have an adverse effect on your business should you choose to go in with these.
A well-established SEO company with a serious SEO strategy would highlight or explain all the strategies in detail to increase your search rankings. They would also be willing to share the approximate time required to achieve these SEO goals.
Ideally, an SEO company should start with highlighting the results of a technical site audit in their SEO proposal. This way, they will be able to identify areas for quick wins and making your website SEO-friendly. Post that, they should mention the best keywords for the business to target online.
Clients should also ask SEO companies if they provide any off page SEO strategies to raise awareness and build your brand in the online space. This could include promotions on social media, PRs, blogs etc.
Q3. Do You Practice White Hat SEO Techniques?
Following Google’s Webmaster guidelines is a must for any SEO consultant/company. Not only it is essential for long-term traffic growth but it also makes you an authoritative figure in the online world. And obviously, when anyone violates these guidelines, Google is not happy and thus penalizes you for it.
And if you’re hit by a Google penalty, it might take you months or years to get your rankings back on track which means loss of traffic and loss of revenue.
Hence, it’s always advisable to check beforehand with your SEO company on the guidelines they adhere to.
Q4. Can You Guarantee if my Website Will Rank No. 1 in Search Engines? What about Local Search Results?
This is one of the best ways to weed out the typical and unethical SEO selling proposal companies from the legitimate ones. If the SEO company answers “Yes” to the first part of the question or is able to guarantee No. 1 rank in Google, they are definitely not the ones you should go with.
The reason being – Till date no SEO company/consultant or even Google can guarantee No. 1 rank for your keywords. This doesn’t mean that it is not possible. It is definitely doable but it takes a bit of time, effort and patience.
Coming to the 2nd part of the position, having a presence in local search results for small and medium sized local businesses is extremely important as it’s their bread and butter. Hence, it’s advisable to go in for an SEO company that has local expertise.
Local SEO has a lot of advantages. Your website/search result shows up when someone is searching for keywords relevant to your business. Some quick ways in which this can be achieved are – submitting to site to local directories, local citations, submitting to Google, Facebook etc.
Q5. How Will You Measure the Success? What will be the mode of communication? What will be the Payment Terms?
We have combined 3 questions here which we feel are most relevant and should be definitely asked to your SEO company.
Coming to the first part, to monitor success, you should track the traffic coming to your website, how many keywords have jumped in positions and how many have fallen out etc. A little bit knowledge of Google Analytics is helpful when tracking such numbers. This way you will be able to find out if your SEO company is indeed showing you’re the right results.
Make sure to ask your SEO company on how they plan to go about sharing the information with you. Will it be on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis? Will it be over a call or e-mail? Who should you reach out in case of doubts and how? Skype or Google Hangouts or a phone call? This also answers the second part of the question.
Coming to the third part, you would also be interested in knowing how much will you be charged for using these SEO services? And will it be on an hourly basis, retainer or project basis although project basis payments are more common in the SEO world.
You should ask about how often invoice payments are due – 30 days, 60 or 90? And is there any late payment fee for late payments and so on.
One other important thing to check with your SEO company is what happens in case you wish to terminate the contract mid-way? What happens to the optimizations done on the website? Is there any fee for early termination etc.?
Business should understand that SEO is long-term investment and the results take time to come. The 5 questions that we have listed above will definitely help you choose ethical SEO companies who value their customers and who value their SEO proposal over the illegitimate ones. The idea of filtering out the best from the rest can be a herculean task but with the right knowledge and by asking the right questions, your business is sure to reach the apex.