Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential to the success of your business. In both B2B and B2C industries, SEO is vital to ensuring your website is found by potential clients. By neglecting SEO, you’re missing out on converting potential customers and are giving your competition a leg up.
ARE YOU READY TO HIRE AN SEO EXPERT?
If you’re ready to put more resources and time into your SEO, you need to decide if you want to do it yourself or hire a marketing company. If you choose to outsource your SEO, how do you know you’ve chosen the right company for your business? Here are 10 things to ask yourself before hiring an SEO company.
WHAT DO I KNOW ABOUT SEO?
If you or some of your team members are already fairly knowledgable about SEO, tackling it yourself first might be the best option. If you have the time, there are plenty of online courses available that will teach you the basics and get you started.
On the other hand, if you lack the expertise and the time, hiring a marketing company that specializes in SEO may be the better option. That way you can focus on other areas of your business.
HOW BIG IS MY BUDGET?
Hiring an SEO company isn’t cheap, and if it is, it’s probably not a company you should be hiring in the first place. Local SEO will set you back at least $500 per month, while national and international strategies can cost anywhere from $2000 to $5000 per month. Small businesses likely don’t have the budget for a massive national campaign and will need to take it on themselves. If you do have the budget, make sure you hire a company that can promise you’ll receive a return on your investment. That’s the number one purpose of SEO after all.
HOW LONG AM I WILLING TO WORK WITH AN SEO COMPANY?
When building your budget, keep in mind that you won’t just be hiring a company for a couple of months. The SEO process can take up to a year. It may take less time than this, but be prepared to work with this company for a while. SEO is an investment in your business and it takes time to see a return. If your business isn’t at the place it needs to be to see this through, consider taking the time to work on your SEO yourself until you’re ready to commit to working with a company long-term.
IS THE COMPANY COOPERATIVE AND TRANSPARENT?
An SEO company that doesn’t emphasize the importance of working closely with you — especially at the beginning — is probably not a company you want to work with. Reputable SEO companies will take the time to get to know you, your business, and your goals inside out. They should be able to tell you how they’ll communicate with you throughout the process, what their SEO strategy includes, the results they promise to deliver, and the ways you can be involved if you so choose.
HOW INVOLVED DO I WANT TO BE?
Before hiring a company, have a discussion about your role in the process to make sure you’re on the same page. Will you have progress meetings weekly or monthly? Will you sign off on just the big changes, or the small stuff too? How often will they send reports? If you’ve hired them to build a website from scratch, you might need to be more involved during the first few months and then decrease your involvement as major changes decrease.
WHAT INDUSTRY DO I WORK IN?
Do you work in a very specialized, niche industry that uses overly technical language? While SEO companies don’t need to specialize in a specific field, you should make sure that they have the expertise to adapt their skills to your industry. Both businesses in an SEO partnership needs to be willing and ready to learn from each other.
DO THEY HAVE TESTIMONIALS FROM MY INDUSTRY?
Ask the company for testimonials and case studies from their past clients, and reach out to these clients to find out how their experience with the SEO agency was. You can even ask them if they’ve done a project for a company similar to yours before, and request to see the results. Not only does this demonstrate they have experience in your industry, but they also likely have a network of contacts to draw on, which will have bonus benefits for your company, too.
WHAT DO I WANT TO GET FROM THIS PARTNERSHIP?
Outline what exactly you expect from the company, and what you want to get out of the process in the end. You might want them to create a website, blog posts, landing pages, and other content from scratch. Or, you may need them to optimize what you already have. Before hiring a company, make sure you’re both on the same page about which services they’ll provide, and how often these will be provided.
WHAT IS THEIR LINK BUILDING STRATEGY?
Not all link building methods are created equal. With algorithms and technology constantly changing, the SEO company you hire will need to be up to date on all the latest and most effective linking methods. They should be able to clearly explain the quality and standards of links they’ll provide, as well as demonstrate that they use a wide range of methods to build a diversified strategy. Guest posting, connecting content to social media, and linking to reputable external sites are all important linking strategies. Make sure the company believes in ethical practices and will get you links through connections, not black hat SEO.
WHAT IS THEIR CONTENT BUILDING STRATEGY?
A great content building strategy should include both optimization of your existing content, as well as the addition of new content. They should be able to tell you what aspects of your digital content are working great, what could be improved, and what’s missing. Adding a blog to your company’s website is essential for providing traffic, and an SEO agency should provide blog content as part of their services.
Working with an SEO agency can hugely benefit your business. If you make the decision to do so, make sure you work with a company that checks all of your boxes.