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Five questions to ask a potential SEO firm.

It’s easy for SEO firms to lie to businesses who have little SEO experience in-house. In fact, when you look behind the curtain, many SEO agencies have spammy practices or are a one man shop pretending to be larger.

That’s why it’s important to ask the right questions when vetting an SEO agency. Better still, learn how to evaluate their answers.

1. Ask if page 1 rankings are guaranteed.

If an SEO firm promises rankings or immediate results right from the beginning, it’s a major red flag. For one, it is dishonest to promise something that is beyond their control. Basically, claiming that your site will rank #1 or show up on the first page for a specific keyword is not accurate.

The reason is that nobody but the major search engines (Google , Yahoo and MSN) control how websites rank in their organic search results. No SEO firm can guarantee results because they have no control over the search engines algorithms.

It is true that a reputable SEO firm understands what factors go into ranking websites and can help increase search engine visibility, but no quality firm will ever promise rankings. Look for month-to-month contracts, references from existing customers, or portfolio of results.

2. Ask what is involved in a successful SEO strategy.

SEO Process

A legitimate SEO firm is able to explain what goes into a successful SEO strategy in plain English; not some overly technical industry jargon. Every strategy should mention important on-page and off-page optimization, tracking results through website analytics, content development, link building, and continuous tweaking/testing to increase rankings and conversion rates.

3. Ask when you can expect to see results.

Setting proper expectations on both ends is key. Any firm that says you will be fully optimized in 2 weeks is lying. A successful SEO campaign is ongoing and always improving.

The first thing the SEO firm should ask you is what are you goals? Without understanding what you are trying to accomplish, there is no way anyone can give proper expectations. Once your goals are established, the following can be determined: realistic expectations based on the current condition of your website, an understanding of your competition, and how much time/money/resources you can devote towards SEO efforts.

A quality SEO firm will not necessary be able to say that you will see results in exactly 2 months; however, they should be able to give you a range as to when you will start to see a noticeable increase in traffic and conversions.

4. Ask how SEO efforts are measured.

In order to track whether your SEO efforts are successful or not, you need to monitor your website analytics, ranking reporting, and any other type of marketing measurements your company has readily available.

This is also a question for both teams. You’ll want to let an agency know how you measure success so you can align goals. Then, find out how an agency will track and report on how their efforts contribute to goals.

5. Ask how often you’ll collaborate on progress and strategy.

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Since SEO consists of an initial SEO setup and then ongoing monthly maintenance, it is important that the SEO firm outlines when and how often you will meet to discuss your SEO strategy.

As the search engine’s algorithms change, your SEO firm will need to get creative, try new strategies, and make adjustments as required. In an effort to have both marketing and SEO strategies running in line, meeting regularly is recommended. It is not uncommon to meet on  a monthly or quarterly basis to talk about your website analytics, conversion goals, and recommendations to improve your SEO.  It is also important to see what the firm has been doing to improve traffic, conversions, etc.

A good SEO firm knows that they will require the assistance of their client to get them where they need to be. It is a true partnership between client and SEO firm. Because content development is such a big part of SEO, the company should devote some resources for writing articles, blogs, and press releases. Ask the firm how you can help to increase results faster.

Need help with digital strategy?

If you need help finding a vendor for ongoing SEO, we’re happy to help you out. Atlantic BT is also happy to perform SEO audits, offer guidance throughout your SEO strategy, and develop a website that supports SEO. Contact us to see how we can help you out.

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Digital Strategy UX Design UX Research Content Strategy

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