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Questions/Demands to Ask an SEO Agency/Consultant Before Buying

Questions/Demands to Ask an SEO Professional/Consultant Before Doing Any Business

I’ve been involved with search engine optimization for a number of years. Through the years i’ve managed to compile a lot of questions clients have asked about SEO before they hired me. I’ve also seen a lot of clients NOT ask the right questions. Typically, half my clients come to me having been burned or were frustrated about previous SEO agencies they hired.

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Here’s a list of questions/demands you SHOULD absolutely ask any SEO consultant or agency before you hire anyone.

  • Demand to see a list of clients the consultant/agency has done SEO for in the past.
  • Ask for a list of keywords the consultant/agency has gotten previous clients to the top of search engines for. Check the keywords to ensure they are at the top of search engines. Contact the owners of the site to make sure the consultant/agency actually did the work themselves.
  • Ask the consultant/agency for their website and social profiles. Check to see what others are saying about them.
  • Ask for an itemized list or outline of items the consultant/agency will use for getting your website/keywords ranked highly in search engines.
  • – It’s a good idea to have a face-to-face or phone conversation with the consultant/agency and ask them to define, in their own words, what White Hat SEO, Black Hat SEO and Gray Hat SEO are. It’s not so much important that you understand and are able to define each one, but it is important that whomever you hire is able to not only define each but explain the differences too.
  • You might also want to ask for definitions to the following:
    • Article Spinning
    • Link Wheels
    • Reciprical Links
    • Canonicalization (as it applies to SEO)
    • Link Farms
    • Link Spamming
    • Cloaking
    • PageRank
    • Long Tail and Short Tail Keywords
    • The difference between nofollow and dofollow links

    Again, it’s important that the agency/consultant is able to define what each is.

  • Ask for several examples of their writing. Since SEO typically requires a great deal of writing, hiring someone with a proven, successful writing background is optimal.
  • Ask how social media will play into their SEO efforts. A maintained and promoted Social Media presence is beneficial to SEO and reputation management.
  • Ask if your consultant/agency guarantees #1 ranking for your keywords in Google, Yahoo! or Bing. If they do…run! No one can guarantee rankings and even when you reach the top you will occasionally see fluctuations in where your site ranks.
  • Ask whether the agency/consultant has ever worked for competing site or another company in your niche. If so, it could be a major conflict of interest but it could also mean the agency/consultant might be able to recommend other keywords to optimize for.
  • Ask for a sample report. You should ideally be getting weekly, biweekly or monthly reports from your agency/consultant with analytics, placement in search engines and other valuable info.
  • Ask when you will be able to see results from the agency’s/consultant’s SEO efforts. If the answer is “right away” run! Results vary depending on the overall strategy, existing presence in search engines and competitiveness of the keywords. Your agency/consultant should be savy enough to give you a rough timeline. This is also a good question to ask the agency’s/consultant’s other clients to see what they were told.

That should be enough to get you started. If the agency/consultant refuses to answer any of the questions above or does not readily know the answer to any then you might want to try a different agency/consultant.

If i’ve left anything out and you have more questions you feel could be asked, please feel free to comment here or send Steffan an email.

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I design with an eye towards the aesthetic and I approach every project by asking "what's the best way to attract the most qualified visitors?" Every project I complete follows web standards and best practices for ensuring eventual top rankings for relevant keyword terms. Ask me about my las vegas seo, boca raton seo and los angeles seo services.
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Steffan Haeberle
9047 W Torino Ave
Las Vegas, NV 89148
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