5 questions to ask an SEO agency before hiring them

March 01, 2021

Questions to ask your SEO agency

The growing popularity of social ads and paid search ads has hardly impacted the importance of organic search. SEO has been and will always be an essential medium for acquiring customers. However, with hundreds and thousands of SEO agencies out there claiming to have the secret recipe to grow your business with the power of search, it can be difficult to choose the right one.

Top 5 questions to ask an SEO agency you plan to hire

With years of intensive experience in SEO, working in both roles – as an in-house SEO team for companies and leading SEO agencies, I am here to help you make your selection process smooth, so let’s see what are the questions to ask an SEO agency.  

Q1: What’s your niche?

Yes, they are an SEO agency but what industries do their clients come from? The vast sea of SEO makes it nearly impossible for anyone to boast that they have mastered SEO for all kinds of industries. For example, if the agency has never done eCommerce before then they won’t know the complexities behind a CMS or how to tackle product inventory challenges that are unique to an eCommerce business.

So, ask the agency about their specialism, ask for case studies of their previous clients, and see if that fits your industry. Remember, a generalist will have a broad knowledge of the tools and trends but only a specialist can truly understand the unique needs of your industry and create a strategy to match them.

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Q2: How will we measure the success of the strategy?

SEO strategy is usually long-term. Steer clear of anyone promising you to make you number 1 on google in 30 days. As the organic search strategy takes times to kick in and the gains come slowly during the initial period, it can be difficult to assess if the strategy is working for you. It is very important to ask the SEO company for a yardstick that they will be used to gauge the success. It is equally important for you to convey your business goals clearly to the agency so that the SEO plans can be devised to meet those objectives

For example, if your goal is to expand your business to another city and get clients from the new area, the success of the SEO strategy can be measured by an increase in the new user traffic coming from the target location. 

Q3: Can we see your price structure?

Very few SEO agencies would publicly disclose the cost of their services on their website and for a good reason. The SEO strategy has to be tailored to the type of business so a standard costing may simply not work. However, as a business, you have a limited budget and if the agency doesn’t fit the size, you can’t work with them irrespective of how great they are. Ask the agency to give you the cost of different types of SEO plans and see if one of them suits your wallet. 

For example, a good SEO agency would offer tiered pricing with higher-tier plans offering more extensive results as compared to beginner plans. Location also plays a key role when it comes to price structure. For example a Los Angeles SEO company would charge a lot more than an agency from the Philippines.

Q4: How will you communicate with us?

Effective communication is the foundation of any successful relationship – personal or professional. As a client, you not only need to know the performance of the SEO strategy but also feedback changes to your business goals. When agencies are inundated with clients and constant deadlines, communication can become challenging. A responsible SEO agency would have a clear structure of how they maintain communication with their clients

For example, some agencies have dedicated slack channels to enable instant messaging with clients besides monthly calls.

Q5: What’s your company culture like?

Agencies can be very demanding workplaces with high work pressure. However, over-emphasis on performance can leave the employees feeling overworked which can affect their creativity. Agencies with a positive company culture will always see motivated employees who are happy to deliver more

For example, we have a comprehensive employee wellness program that focuses on mental health and guards the employees against burnout. And a happy team translates into happy clients!

A good client-agency relationship is based on mutual respect and trust

This is my final piece of advice for the businesses: Besides questioning the agency, encourage the agency to ask you questions and be prepared with the details. As important as it is for the client to appreciate what the agency is doing, it’s equally as important for the agency to enjoy working for the client to ensure maximum performance.

Author’s bio

Samuel Hurley is the co-founder of a London-based eCommerce SEO agency, NOVOS. Awarded with the title of ‘SEO Agency of the Year’ at the Global Search Awards, NOVOS has helped over 100 global eCommerce brands generate over £40 million in revenue.

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