This post was originally published on rso-consulting.com
If you are new to SEO and on the hunt for an SEO consultant, then you may have already discovered the bounty of firms and agencies ready to serve you.
The challenge is, how do you know which companies are knowledgeable, experienced, and – most importantly – successful in SEO services?
It can be tough for clients to properly vet SEO consultants, because they sometimes do not know enough about the process to ask the right questions or understand what types of answers to expect.
Many clients do not have the time to learn about the process, either – that’s why they hire the pros.
Yet asking the right questions and knowing the correct types of answers helps weed out the good from the bad, the haves from the have-nots, the yesses from the nopes. You get the idea.
To help you make the most of the interview process and receive the highest value for your marketing dollar, here are three questions we highly recommend:
- What is your SEO process? This should be one of the first questions you ask an SEO consultant, because it reveals a lot about the experience you can expect if you work with their company. Do they conduct a site audit, keyword research, and analytics reporting – and how? Are they following SEO best practices – and how do they implement them? What are the individual phases of the process – and how involved will you be? A reputable SEO company that has been around the block can tell you the answers to these questions, in detail, and back it up with examples, case studies, and reasons why or why not.
- Who is working on my SEO project? When you meet with a consultant for the first time, you may not be meeting all of the supporting staff. However, search engine optimization is a lengthy, ongoing process, so you want to enter into this relationship with an understanding of the folks who are involved in the analysis of your site, the research of keywords, the development of content, the designing and coding of your site, and the management of your SEO and website. Some companies have in-house staff, but many outsource these tasks to individuals who specialize in certain areas. One way is not better than the other, but it is helpful to understand the depth of expertise that goes into the company’s work – and it helps to justify the cost, in some cases.
- How will you make sure my website shows up on page 1? This is a great question, only because the answer can make or break a deal with an SEO consultant. It is also somewhat of a trick question, because there is absolutely no consultant, company or agency that can guarantee you a spot on page one. While there is a good deal of information out there about search engine indexing, the truth is the algorithms are confidential. If the consultant says he or she can guarantee you page one real estate, that is your signal to say thank you, but no thank you. The right answer is something along the lines of, “We can’t guarantee you page one rankings, but what we can do to help improve your search engine positioning is x, y and z.”
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of questions for interviewing a new SEO consultant. However, these are some of the preliminary inquiries that will signal whether you should continue the conversation or move on to another company that can genuinely initiate, develop and/or enhance your search engine performance.