Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of using data and web trends to boost your company’s online presence. When used correctly, SEO can help you experience increases in organic traffic, qualified leads, and hopefully, revenue. While many understand the power of SEO, not everyone actually knows best practices. As a business owner, you may rely on an SEO firm to take care of your web presence, but a contract with the wrong team could cost you your business. Here are $ questions to ask when meeting with a potential SEO firm.
What Color is Your Hat?
Okay, maybe don’t literally ask them about the color of their hat. In the world of SEO, there is a technique known as Black Hat SEO. This involves using shortcuts, like link buying, keyword stuffing, and cloaking, to drive traffic to your site. If your site is pinged by Google for using Black Hat techniques, your site will likely be demoted. Furthermore, if a firm claims that they have special insight on search engine algorithms, they are lying. Good SEO involves anticipating trends and being able to quickly make accommodations to said algorithms. No one has a leg up on google.
When meeting with a potential SEO firm, ask them about their strategy. If they mention tactics that seem dishonest or gimmicky, it’s in your best interest to consider other firms.
Are We Compatible?
The difference between a good relationship and a great one is in the details. Plenty of SEO firms will provide you with a generic mission of helping clients increase their web traffic, but what are their specs? Do they have existing clients within your industry? Do they have experience in SEO for your site type? Different firms have their own specializations, which can help their team refine their skills for a certain client base.
For best results, develop a plan that clearly states your SEO goals and expectations. Establish which KPIs (key performance metrics) you want to use. Creating a plan will help you find a SEO firm that understands your business and will approach your individual needs in a cohesive manner.
Can I Trust You?
If you catch yourself typing “best SEO firms” into Google, you’re searching in the wrong place. Some of the best SEO firms don’t advertise because their work speaks for them. Also, quality SEO firms are so focused on taking care of their clients that they aren’t buying their way onto “best SEO firms” lists. If you have friends in the business community, ask for recommendations. Most people aren’t getting paid for their option, so you’re going to get some guidance that isn’t backed by an advertisement deal. Many “best of” lists are ad spots disguised as organic content.
If you must rely on the internet to find a SEO firm, use caution. Your best chance of finding a quality firm is relying on your business network for word-of-mouth referrals.
When Will I Hear From You?
You may choose an SEO firm to manage your online presence, but you still want to be kept in the loop. Picking an SEO firm that values communication and stands by their promise will help you develop a lasting business relationship. You want a team that will understand your expectations and desired KPIs, has experience carrying out this plan, and will keep you informed on your website’s performance. Even if you’re working with a firm on a short-term project, having a team that values communication will make the process feel simple.
When you decide on a firm, discuss a communication schedule. Whether it be weekly, monthly, or bimonthly, establish an expected frequency for communication and project updates.
SEO is more than a marketing strategy. It is a detailed process that can allow you to build a successful online presence, ultimately boosting your brand. Choosing the right firm can make all the difference.