Top 10 Questions to ask before hiring an SEO agency
- Top 10 Questions to ask before hiring an SEO agency
- Why is SEO important for your digital business?
- What to Do Before Hiring an SEO Company
- 1. Understand the role SEO will have in your marketing
- 2. Determine your budget for SEO
- 3. Research the various services and companies available
- What questions to ask before hiring an SEO agency?
- Q1 What is your experience?
- Q2 How this would work for my company?
- Q3 What kind of services do you offer?
- Q4 How do you measure your work?
- Q5 What’s the timeline for assessing the website in the preliminary stage?
- Q6 Do you have any past success stories to share?
- Q7 What are your charges?
Digital marketing is critical for companies of all sizes. Companies are expected to triple their digital marketing budget in the next three years, and nearly 61% of marketers list SEO among their top 3 priorities. But what is SEO?
As a business owner, it’s not enough to just create beautiful products and offer quality service – you also have to think about how your website is going to rank on search engines. The good news is that SEO (search engine optimization) can help you reach more prospects and get more customers.
SEO, or search engine optimization, boosts your website’s ranking on Google and other major search engines by catering to the vocabulary and grammar-checking algorithms that read web pages. It is a form of internet marketing that helps your content show up in organic search results rather than relying on advertising dollars to get it there.
Why is SEO important for your digital business?
SEO refers to the collection of techniques employed by experts to increase the visibility of your business and your website on search engines like Google. It helps you get more customers from search engines. This is by appearing on the first page of search rankings when customers look online for businesses like yours. By getting your website ranked high on Google and other search engines, you can bring in more traffic, leads and even sales for your business.
You can also use SEO to find out what people are searching for online: these are probably questions your target audience has about your business. With SEO, you have a way of finding those people who will ultimately become your clients.
What to Do Before Hiring an SEO Company
 Understand the role SEO will have in your marketing
There are a number of SEO services and tools you can use to help improve your ranking in Google and other search engines like Bing. But before you start looking for an SEO company, it is important to understand the role that SEO plays in your marketing strategy.
This way, you will be able to vet only those experts who are able to align their expertise to meet your specific marketing goal
 Determine your budget for SEO
SEO can be done by your in-house marketing team. However, there are times when your team members may not have the necessary SEO knowledge or experience. In this case, you may need a professional SEO company to help you out with optimizing your website.
It is very important to know how much you are willing to invest in SEO. You need to check if the fee that an SEO agency is charging for its services is within your budget or not.
 Research the various services and companies available
Once you know who you want to target and what our budget is, you can start contacting SEO agencies. Some base-level checks at this preliminary stage include
- Assessing if they have a professional and SEO-optimized website
- Is there a human touch to the brand they advertise, or is it a faceless agency that you will be exposed to?
- Have they put up testimonials depicting success stories of the works done in the past (you can also check if any such testimonials are from clients working in your own niche – a definite plus point)
- Does the company have a comprehensive online profile (appearing on search results and a strong social media profile)
With this information, you will be much better prepared as you launch into the next step of arranging a sales meeting with the vendor.
Now that you have taken the first step, here are some pertinent questions to ask next to an SEO agency.
What questions to ask before hiring an SEO agency?
Q1 – What is your experience?
They should have dedicated experience of many years working for various clients across different niches. If they have experience in your industry vertical, then it is a definite plus point. You can check with them how long they have been in the business and what value they have brought to clients. If you have two choices – an agency with a decade of experience and a new startup, you can be assured that the former is better than the latter.
If the agency looks legit, then you can be assured that they will list out the broad steps they will undertake post the initial phase to optimize your SEO campaigns.
Q2 – How this would work for my company?
The best SEO company in Canada will outline their specific SEO goals for your brand. In such a case, this will be a good question to ask. A professional SEO company knows that Google algorithms are constantly updated. So, what may have worked in the past, may not necessarily work in the future too.
The best SEO company in Canada would be confident in answering this one because they continuously test the efficacy of their custom campaigns devised for various industries. You can also assess what they say after doing comprehensive research on your industry, your target market, and your competitive landscape.
In response to this query, are you getting bloated, vague, unclear or sales’y’ replies? Then this is a red flag for you to steer away from such vendors. SEO experts who can answer the questions in relation to your specific industry and your line of business would turn out to be good choices eventually.
Q3 – What kind of services do you offer?
Always ask the company to tell you about the SEO services they offer. It is important that you are clear about what will be done by them. If you are asked to make a list of the on-page and off-page changes, then it would not be a good sign for you. The best SEO agencies in Canada would be transparent in their replies.
Suppose, if you are a startup and need both PPC (for short-term visibility boost) and SEO (for long-term organic rankings, you cannot hire an agency that does only SEO but doesn’t do PPC. This way, you need to align their service offering with your specific marketing needs.
It is better to have a ‘tentative’ list of what they are going to do rather than ‘unclear’ one. For instance, if you are asked to give a list of on-page changes – you may wonder if the SEO agency will help you with that. Or will they take a ‘dictatorial’ role and simply hand over a list of items for making these changes at your end?
Q4 – How do you measure your work?
The best agencies will quantify their work in terms of revenue maximization and not page rank increases. Website ranking and impressions do not necessarily translate into customer lead conversions and sales. Instead, they should show how their efforts will have a direct bearing on your revenue generation capabilities online.
Some of the key metrics to measure are as below –
1. improvement in organic search result rankings for specific search terms. So if your ranking was number 22 in July 2022, it means that you were on the 3rd page of search results. If this improved to number 9 in October 2022, it means that you now appear on page 1 of the search results.
2. Lower bounce rate over time
3. Better Click Through Rate (i.e., more people diverting from the search results page to your website page). The higher the CTR, the better are your chances of engaging more and more leads towards eventual conversion.
Q5 – What’s the timeline for assessing the website in the preliminary stage?
How long will it take to assess the website and ask for action items? An SEO expert in Canada would be transparent about their timelines. They would give an initial estimate of how much time they need to assess your website. They will also let you know how many actions will be taken on them and how long they can dedicate to each one of these one-time activities in the beginning.
There will be several steps at this preliminary stage –
- understanding the industry and the line of business
- understanding the target audience and the competitors
- a comprehensive SEO audit
- revision to website content
- check the site load speed
- analyzing user experience on desktop and mobile
- setting up reports to track SEO performance
The best SEO firm will also provide you with analytic on their outcome as well as useful recommendations. This way, they will ensure that the foundation is set for a well-optimized website in the beginning so that future efforts lead you smoothly towards the expected goal from SEO.
Q6 – Do you have any past success stories to share?
Many SEO consultants know that the new accounts need to be enticed by showing them how they added to the top lines of their past clients. They will be sure to have testimonials, case studies, and past success stories to share. If you get adequate data in this regard, then you can be assured that your SEO campaigns will be in safe hands.
Such success stories narrated in terms of expected vs achieved goals will assuage the new account that the SEO company is worth its salt. Such a client portfolio will be a good way to receive some feedback from the vendor’s past (or present) clients.
If they have absolutely no testimonial or client reference to provide, then it is wise to move on to the next choice for sourcing a professional SEO company.
Q7 – What are your charges?
If you are working for the first time with the best SEO company in Canada, then be aware that this won’t come cheap. The amount of effort needed in multiple directions each month and week makes it a time-consuming task, even for an expert SEO consultant. No wonder the typical per-hour cost varies between $50 to $500 per hour for digital marketing services.
Also, one simple fact remains constant throughout your due diligence on this point – low-cost services often translate to low-quality campaigns and hence low chances of success online. If you are willing to make the investment, you will realize quickly how effective and how profitable the investment is. The ROI produced by well-thought-out SEO campaigns will ensure that your first few clients won through organic search rankings will pay for itself with the SEO investment.
So, when you assess the vendor on this point, you need to comprehend how their pricing works. This way, you, too, will be able to budget better for the monthly expenses towards SEO and digital marketing. Some options in SEO marketing agencies may charge by a project. Others may charge by the hour. Then there are other SEO consulting companies that charge on a monthly billing basis (this generally happens in the case of a retainer).
Also, you need to check that with every invoice, there needs to be an itemized billing on how much effort went into which optimization technique. So, if suppose one of their line items contains the cost for social bookmarking, then they should also send a detailed report on which social bookmarking sites they have cited your company in.
If a company is not able to provide this level of transparency in dealing, then it will be wise to stay away from them.
To sum it up succinctly.
It is natural to have a few good options who want to come across as your partner for SEO consulting services. It is up to you to sift from the various options and then handpick the ideal match for your SEO needs. When you select a Kelowna SEO expert, you need to ask the right questions. The answers provided by the agency to these questions will help you arrive at a decision.
Such insight-backed decision-making will go a long way in allowing you to work with the right fit professional SEO company. With such a partner, you can devise and deploy a well-crafted SEO campaign. As a result, you can enable quicker online business wins with the help of improved SEO rankings.