How to Hire a Professional SEO Services Company

By Dawn Bowman

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How do you hire a professional SEO services company?

If you’re thinking along these lines, I bet you’re looking to improve your SERP rankings. Essentially, you want to EARN (and not buy) the top spot on Google, Bing, or Yahoo.

Good thinking!

And, since SEO can be tricky and technical, it’s best to leave it to experts due to ever-evolving algorithms and practices. But, how do you know that the SEO professionals you’re hiring are genuine “experts?” 

I don’t want to sound negative, but it’s a fact that the market is overflowing with black-hat SEO practitioners who promise to sky-rocket your rankings for pennies. And it’s all too easy to fall for their glib talk when they have case studies and testimonials to back up their claims.  

Then, what’s the solution?

Arm yourself with basic SEO knowledge, ask the questions I’ve mentioned below, and look out for suspicious answers. 

7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Professional SEO Company

Before you start the hiring process, learn the basics of SEO. You will be able to vet candidates more rigorously and understand how the search engines work yourself. Once the contract with the SEO company you hire ends, you should be able to maintain your rankings on your own.

Now, let’s take a look at the questions you need to ask SEO candidates.

What Makes You Better Than the Competition?

It’s important to hear from the candidates about their stand-out qualities and services. If they can pitch themselves well, you know they possess a foundational knowledge of marketing, which is bound to come in handy when they come on board.

Ideal Answer

Result-oriented candidates will rely on data-backed answers and real case studies to market themselves instead of using generic, ambiguous terms. Depending on how well they explain their link-building and content marketing techniques, you should be able to gauge their proficiency level.

What Kind of SEO Services Do You Offer?

Ask the candidates to lay out the cornerstones of their SEO strategy. Follow it up with a test case scenario or sample website with poor rankings, and allow the candidates to provide actionable SEO advice. 

Ideal Answer

It’s advisable to hire a full-service SEO company that can handle all aspects of SEO, including content optimization and PPC campaigns. When all paid and organic channels work in tandem, the omnichannel customer experience you provide will definitely complement your SEO efforts.  Additionally, you can leverage loyalty programs and better user-oriented website designs can boost your loyal customer base effectively.

 

Do You Inform Clients About Technical Updates?

SEO is not a cosmetic change. It’s liable that your website will be shaken up with code-level and structural changes. A good SEO overhaul could mean a complete site makeover, covering design, architecture, and content.

Your SEO company should be transparent about the technical transformations planned for your site. This is an indication of professionalism and white-hat SEO.

Ideal Answer

If a candidate can explain technical SEO in jargon-free language, you can be confident that you’re hiring the right people. They should explain the implications of their actions (even if it’s a temporary rank drop) but back it up with solid logic and resolution.

What SEO Tools Do You Use?

SEO campaigns involve site audits, diagnostics, backlinking, and competitive monitoring. All of this is done efficiently through tools like Moz and Semrush. Your candidates should have a good grip on prevalent SEO tools, pricing, pros, and cons.

Ideal Answer

If you’re already using some SEO tools, your candidate should be able to work with them or present a compelling case against using them. Many SEO companies use proprietary platforms that are built for niche-specific campaigns. This speaks volumes about their professionalism. 

How Do You Track Progress?

There are multiple metrics to evaluate SEO campaigns, from bounce rate to traffic volume. Most SEO professionals start by analyzing website traffic, which gives them a fair idea about your website authority and traffic quality. From there, they set SEO goals that are in sync with your larger business objectives.

Ideal Answer

There’s no one perfect answer to this question. Some candidates may use a single checkpoint to assess performance while others may use a combination of KPIs. Regardless, it’s vital that they have a solid tracking methodology to deliver ROI.

If they generate custom reports according to clients’ needs, that works in their favor. They should be able to show a sample report and quote a reasonable reporting frequency.

What Issues Can You See On Our Website?

While conducting a comprehensive SEO audit at first glance is impossible, your candidates should be able to point out broad SEO problems in one go. Since an SEO revamp may be in the cards, it’s a smart move to learn about improvement areas from all possible channels.

Ideal Answer

Don’t expect a detailed diagnostics report, especially on the off-page SEO side. But, candidates should be able to talk about issues with design, usability, and content with ease. 

How Do You Stay Abreast of Current SEO Practices?

Since the SEO field is always in flux, your potential hires should be passionate about upskilling themselves. They should be following industry periodicals and resources like Google Webmaster Guidelines. You can question them about recent or past algorithmic updates and their implications on search rankings and website design.

Ideal Answer

Candidates should know Google’s guidelines and strictly adhere to them. Watch out for mentions of red flags like link schemes, duplicate content, and hidden text when they are explaining their knowledge of current trends. Also, you can leverage a recruitment management system to build a best-suited talent pool from a recruitment business tool.

Wrapping Up

Hiring an SEO company should not be taken lightly. As things stand, SEO is a game-changer for businesses. Take the time to pour over these questions and add them to the list as needed.

Do you have SEO-related questions for me? Mention them in the comments. I’ll get back with the answers soon.

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