Hiring an SEO Agency – 10 Questions to Ask

Hiring an SEO agency to help with your companies digital marketing can be a daunting task. As a small business, you may not understand SEO services and how they work. Unfortunately, many people in this position get drawn in by fantastic sounding promises that are too good to be true.

Investing in the marketing of your website has the potential to make or break your business so it’s wise to take your time over appointing an SEO agency. Here are some questions you can ask to weed out the cowboys from the rock-star internet marketing agencies;

Who are your clients?

The answer to this question will give you an idea of an agency’s expertise. If they rattle off an impressive client list then don’t be afraid to ask for proof.

You should also ask how long they’ve worked for these clients on their search engine optimisation and what results they’ve achieved in that time.

Can I call any of your clients for a reference?

You can’t beat getting a testimonial or reference direct from a previous or existing client. This allows you to ask a lot of questions and get a real feel for the SEO agency before you think about doing business with them.

Can I meet you in person?

If the answer to this question is “no”, then you’d be right to get suspicious.

Any SEO agency that is ethical and professional will have nothing to hide and therefore be happy to invite you to their offices to discuss your proposal in more detail. Would you really want to pay someone hundreds or even thousands of pounds to do your digital marketing work if they weren’t willing to meet face to face?

Can you guarantee me no.1 position on Google for my chosen keywords and phrases?

If an SEO agency answers “yes” to this question then make your excuses and call another company. Nobody can guarantee anything when it comes to the organic search results. What they can guarantee is a no.1 Pay per Click listing (paid ads) which is a whole different thing altogether but often used to dupe unsuspecting business owners.

Will I be tied into a contract?

Before you agree to any work being carried out you should ask about payment terms and whether or not there’s a minimum contract. Signing a lengthy contract for SEO services isn’t always a good idea as it gives you no room for maneuver if your agency is underperforming after a few months. At Shake Digital we’ll never tie you into a long term contract.

How will I know if your SEO strategy is working?

The answer you’re looking for is something like “we will send you a detailed monthly report of what we’ve done and what we plan to do the following month”.

You should also be given an indication of any changes to your search engine rankings for the keyword/phrases the agency is targeting for your business.

Can I call you to discuss progress?

If the answer to this question is “no” for any reason then you should run a mile. Just because a company is involved in internet marketing doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be able to pick up the phone and speak to a real person if you have any concerns or issues you want to discuss.

How long before I start to see results?

A good SEO agency will be able to tell you this on their proposal once they’ve done some initial keyword and competitor research. If you get an answer along the lines of “how long’s a piece of string?” then do yourself a favour and keep your money for a more professional company.

What relationship do you have with Google?

This is a trick question that can quickly sort the scammers from the serious SEO agencies. If someone starts telling you they are “one of Google’s preferred agencies” or something similar then you should waste no more of your time and find a company who doesn’t make false claims.

SEO is a level playing field and Google doesn’t prioritise the work of any SEO agency over another.

Will you be outsourcing my SEO work?

When you’re being asked to pay your hard earned money every month it’s only right that you should know who’s working on your SEO project. You don’t want to be paying UK prices for work that’s being outsourced directly to India or anywhere else, which is more common than you might think! If you have your suspicions that your work is being sub-contracted, then make frequent calls to your point of contact and ask them for updates on how things are going in terms of your projects. They should be able to be able to give you quick updates if they are the ones actually doing the SEO work.