You can waste a lot of time – yours, and your chosen SEO company’s – trying to puzzle out what they actually do. And how they go about doing it.
But being realistic, there’s little (if any) you can really do with that information.
A powerful SEO firm is not there to teach you the world of SEO any more than your doctor is there to teach you medicine. SEOs are there to study, diagnose, strategize and execute. To know what needs to be done, and do it, even when you don’t. Especially when you don’t!
Don’t get us wrong, just as a skilled doctor would, an effective SEO firm will keep you well informed and on the loop of everything that’s going on. But there’s a long gulf between keeping you informed and in the loop, and teaching you the whys and whens of all that’s going on.
Just like you would with a doctor, the best you can do is hire the most qualified one you can afford, and trust their skills and judgment.
Having said all that, there are a number of really important (and useful!) questions you might want to keep ready as you search and decide for an SEO service.
What does my contract/your service package include?
However complex your SEO strategy gets – and trust us, it can be a whole science on its own – a reliable firm should always be able to respond to this question clearly and concisely.
What does the cancellation process entail?
Difficult or outright labyrinthian cancelation of service protocols is usually a clear sign of an incompetent SEO service. Concerned more with locking in clients with documents or agreements than with clear results and revenue gains.
How does your SEO company stay in touch, and how often?
You should understand a company’s communication structure from the get-go. That will help you set expectations and avoid disappointment/stress later down the road.
Do I have full access to my site and Analytics/AdWords accounts?
This is particularly important for tech-savvy clients used to tinker with their site’s back-end. It’s not uncommon for an SEO agency to take full control of these assets during the duration of the contract. You still own everything; you just won’t be able to tamper with – and potentially undermine – the SEO efforts of your chosen company while the contract lasts.
Will I own my website?
If the answer is no, just stand up and leave. It’s one thing to restrict access to ensure the appropriate handling. But your assets’ ownerships should always remain with you.
Do you provide guarantees?
If the answer is Yes, just stand up and leave. A good SEO company doesn’t! We simply understand that given the nature of the beast, guaranteeing a given result is just like “guaranteeing” a stock investment will go a certain way. That said, they should have plenty of previous client documentation to support their claims, and give you a good idea of how they produce desired results.
What contracts/options are available?
You should, at all times, be aware of every option on the table.
How do I determine the right budget?
The truth is, you don’t. But it is a FAQ so we thought we should include it. You can set your marketing goals or your available budget. But when it comes to determining the right budget to get the results you are after, leave it to the pros. Cookie-cutter strategies should be avoided, as goals will vary wildly from one particular situation to another.
What are your fees and payment options?
Good SEO services are very clear and upfront about the financial aspects of their services.