questions to ask before hiring seo agency

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You’ve spent a lot of time and money building a great website.

You can do as much as you can to market your company, but you’ll still need a little more help.

Your rankings are good, but not great.

So, you’ve decided to find an SEO agency to help give you that extra boost.

After all, your rankings matter!

Which is why you cannot trust just any SEO agency with your website.

There are plenty of SEO agencies who rely on cheap, fly-by-night, freelancers who don’t care about you or your website.

But there are also plenty of SEO agencies who’ve built a solid team of marketers who can help your website rank better.

So, how do you differentiate between them?

By asking the right questions!

And we’ve put together a list of six questions that you need to ask before you sign on the dotted line(s).

These questions will help you decide if the SEO agency is legitimate or a pretender looking to take your money and run.

Here’s what you should be asking your next SEO agency (or your current one).

What Do You Know About Us?

So, this is literally the first question you need to ask.

Obviously, you want to give them time to look you up and find out about you.

Schedule your interview with them about a week after you’ve first contacted them.

This will give them time to research your company.

If they weren’t willing to research your company before there was a contract, they probably aren’t willing to do too much legwork after you signed on the dotted line.

What Are The Most Relevant Keywords For Our Market Right Now?

Next, you need to find out how far their research went.

They know what you do, what you provide, what your focus is, but do they know your market?

Better yet, do they know keywords and phrases that are unique to your industry?

If you need help with this, you can go to BuzzSumo and research your competitors or your general market.

example of search results for market trends for marketing from buzzsumo

Example of Search Results for Market Trends for Marketing from BuzzSumo

If your research and theirs don’t match up, find out why.

You may find out that they guessed at it – if so, do not use them.

How Fast Can You Get My Website Ranked?

Every business wants to know this.

And it gets asked A LOT!

So ask it …

But, be prepared for a lot of lies!

This is a trick question and any SEO agency that says they can get you ranked in less than a month is lying and/or using Black Hat marketing methods – STAY AWAY!

Instead, what you want to hear is something along the lines of …

“That’s hard to say until we look at the strength of your competitors and their marketing strategy and look through your website and social media accounts. In most cases, we can help you move up (with the goal of a first page result) in a few months. On average, we help clients like you move to the first page of Google in two months or less.”

That’s an honest answer and one that you should be able to trust.

What’s Your Backlinking Strategy?

Too many shady SEO agencies use links built from freelancers selling Xrumer and ScrapeBox backlinks.

Links like this will TANK your website – trust us!

And no, the SEO agencies most likely won’t tell you how they create their links.

A reputable one though will explain their process, discussing the domain authority, page authority, relevance to your niche and/or market, and even some idea about the backlinks they’re using.

Plus, they’ll provide updates so you can check on their work.

Anyone who is unwilling to provide updates is not someone you can trust.

And if they talk about 1,000+ backlinks a month, they are SPAMMING your website – RUN!

What Is Your Content Marketing Plan For Us?

Content is KING! Everyone knows this.

In fact, with a carefully planned out (and executed) content marketing strategy, you’ll be able to rank in the SERPs and garner truckloads of sales at the same time.

However, there’s a difference between great content and useless drivel.

Google and the other major search engines can tell the difference too.

Which is why you need to know how they intend to market your company.

How often do they intend to write for your website blog and improve its quality?

What about outside channels?

If you need helping finding content topics, you can use this keyword tool. It can help you see what is trending and relevant to your niche in seconds.

example of results from keyword tool for marketing trends

Example of Results from Keyword Tool for Marketing Trends

If they cannot provide a detailed breakdown of what they intend to do, stay away.

If they aren’t willing to provide a report of the work completed, RUN!

What Security Protocols Do You Follow To Keep Our Credentials Safe?

And finally, what security protocols do they follow to keep your website safe?

Most every SEO agency will need access to your website, your social media accounts, your web hosting account … everything basically.

And you’ll either have to give them your own personal credentials or create a temporary account for them.

So, what are they going to do to protect your information?

Are they going to work on your website using an insecure connection or will they use a VPN to protect your information from man-in-the-middle attacks and/or spoofing?

Do they rely on security services from a third-party company that provides penetration testing to protect them from data breaches that would affect you?

What security protocols are in place for the protection your information?

If they aren’t protecting your information, stay away.

Conclusion

Don’t just find an SEO agency with a pretty website.

Shady agencies have some of the best-looking websites because they paid for it.

They’ll even show examples of websites that they’ve “helped”.

And unless you’re willing to do some serious digging, you won’t be able to know if they’re telling the truth.

But you can get a good idea by talking with them.

Using the questions we’ve outlined above, you easily be able to see through their charade and make the right decision.

If they can’t answer your question, they need to be on your do-not-use list.

There’s nothing worse than ending up in Google Hell because you let someone else destroy all of your hard work.