Hiring An SEO Company? Ask These Questions First
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of helping website pages show up higher in Google’s search results. To small business owners, this type of marketing is huge for driving new business. As potential customers search keywords related to your business, an optimized page with information and contact details can show up in search results. The small business gets the click from Google and eventually earns the business of the customer who is searching.
While SEO is a complex form of marketing, there are a few things to consider before hiring a company to handle this for you.
Does the Provider Write Copy?
One of the biggest areas of a successful SEO campaign is copywriting. Writing copy for a website’s content, social media channels and other outlets is key for Google to recognize a website. For this reason, it’s highly important to work with an SEO provider who writes their own copy and doesn’t outsource to a foreign country. Google is able to understand semantics, spelling and grammar, so it’s in your best interest to work with a company who writes in near perfect English.
Transparency with Reporting
Transparency is another key area of an SEO campaign. You never want to hire a provider who takes your money and doesn’t provide results. It’s not good for business and it’s not good for your marketing budget. Ask a potential SEO provider what kind of reporting you’ll receive from the campaign. Is it weekly? Monthly? Quarterly? It’s important to measure progress of the campaign and have the results be shared with you. Additionally, ask them what kind of tools they use to measure success.
What Color Hat Do They Wear?
When it comes SEO, there are three “hat” colors providers may have:
- White Hat SEO: this type of SEO provider abides by Google’s rules and rarely strays into anything not recommended by Google. The results are slower to obtain, but they are at a low risk of being penalized by Google.
- Gray Hat SEO: this type of SEO provider bends the rules slightly in order to get results faster. The tactics aren’t promoted by Google, but they aren’t necessarily bad either.
- Black Hat SEO: this type of SEO provider goes completely against Google’s quality standards in order to “game” search results. These tactics are not long-lasting and can get a website in deep trouble.
If you plan to keep your business running for a while, avoid working with someone who dabbles in black hat SEO.
What About Links?
Another major component of SEO is developing quality links. You should ask a potential provider to show you the type of placements (backlinks) they can achieve for you. If you notice the links they acquire are coming from low quality, untrustworthy sources, just know you won’t see the progress you are wanting. Strong SEO campaigns include links coming from real websites with actual traffic and statistics.
Lastly, you should ask questions about what kind of budget you will need for an SEO campaign. SEO is a technical skill, takes time and hard work to get it right, so you’ll need to be prepared with a realistic budget. However, if an SEO provider asks you to pay $5,000 a month for a small business, you’ve gone past a realistic budget. Shop around with a few SEO companies to get the best gauge of what budget you will need.
If you have recently hired an SEO company to work on your website, let us know about your experience in the comments.