As Internet search gains additional ground and companies realize the power of being found on Google, they seek professional help. However, since their knowledge of Internet marketing in general and SEO in particular may be limited, they are often faced with the challenge of how to choose the right company/consultant.
When it comes to smaller companies, most only have one shot at hiring the right SEO firm to make them successful. The investment, the waiting time and the possibility of being banned by Google are the reasons to make the right choice the first time.
Here are the questions you need to ask any SEO company before hiring them:
How long have you been in the SEO world?
An SEO firm that has recently started, may not have the experience needed to get you on Google and most importantly keep you there.
How many successful SEO cases do you have?
- The more successful cases of SEO, the better the company. SEO success means only one thing: getting a client on the first page of Google for their important keywords.
What percentage of your clients do you get to #1 on Google?
- If they answer “All of them”, it is likely a lie. It’s impossible to get all of your clients to rank #1. For some clients/markets, being on the first page is enough to boost the traffic and sales, therefore, their objective is not the #1 spot. For some clients, Wikipedia ranks #1, and it is extremely difficult to rank better than Wikipedia. There are other examples.
- I’d say a really good SEO company can get at least 50 percent of its clients who target their local market at the top of Google. For international and very completive keywords, it’s enough to see they were able to get a couple of clients to the very top of Google.
How many of those successful cases can you share with us?
- If the SEO firm refrains from sharing their clients’ information with you and offers any kind of excuse (i.e. privacy of clients) drop them immediately. In the past several years we’ve been doing SEO, many of our clients are very happy to share their experience with the outside world. You can see a list here.
What search engines do you get me ranked on?
- There is only one that counts: GOOGLE. Google receives over %75 of the US search market. If you rank well on Google, your business does well and if you don’t, it doesn’t matter if you rank well on Yahoo! or Bing. When was the last time you used any of these search engines?
Do you guarantee my rankings on Google?
- This is probably the most important question you need to ask. Although no one can guarantee Google results, there has to be some kind of a penalty for the SEO firm if they’re unable to get you solid results on Google (like a money-back guarantee).
- On the other hand, when you rank well on Google, you will certainly do well on Yahoo! and Bing.
- If the company says they do not guarantee placements on Google organic results, then find another firm that does.
Do you develop content for our site on a regular basis? Who writes them and how?
- Increasingly, Google is giving additional importance to content. Namely, how often a site is being updated and the quality of the content that is written. Text with grammatical or spelling errors on a site reflects a poor quality site.
- On the other hand, you need to be involved in content development because your feedback/approval is needed for anything that goes on your site.
How many times should my keywords be repeated in 100 words of one of my site’s pages?
- Most SEO newbies think the more the better. Some say 5-10 percent. But the reality of it is that Google can recognize a site’s relevance to a specific keyword even if the keyword is mentioned only once. Remember, the keywords are mentioned in a few important places of your site: URL, title tag, description tag, header tag, and finally, your site’s text.
How often do you update my site with new optimization?
- Most common people assume that optimization of a site is an ongoing task. And unfortunately, most SEO companies do not correct this misconception. Optimization of a site needs to be done only once. If the SEO consultant/company knows how Google algorithm ranks sites, he or she knows how to optimize the site to get the best placement on Google without over-optimizing it. As long as the site remains intact, there is no need for reoptimization.
Where do you buy links for our business?
- This is a trick question. Buying links is forbidden for those who want to be at the top for a very long time. If the company engages in any link-buying schemes, stay away from them.
How many back-links do you plan on getting for our site?
- The quantity is as important as the quality of the back-links. But if they refrain from answering the question directly, then they probably don’t have a method of acquiring links for your site.
What are the page ranks of sites you get links for us?
- The page rank could be from 1-9, however, this question shows the prospect that you care about the quality of the back-links they’re getting for you. At the same time, if all back-links come from PR 1-3 sites, then the SEO efforts will not have the best results.
How often do you send us ranking reports?
- Ranking reports show your site’s overall improvements or lack of improvements on Google search results. We send our clients weekly ranking reports for all of their main keywords. But even monthly ranking reports would show the results of the work and save you lots of time trying to figure out how your site is doing on Google.
How often do you send us a performance report?
- SEO, if done right, will bear fruit in three to six months. If the SEO consultant/company keeps you in the dark as to what they’re doing, then you may end up wasting your money and more importantly your time in waiting for the results that never come. High-end SEO firms always send performance reports to their clients on a monthly or quarterly basis.