11 Questions to Ask Before Hiring An SEO Company

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See the eleven questions I would recommend asking to any prospective SEO companies which you may be planning to hire in order to avoid issues down the road.

# Full Post

Finding a good SEO at a reasonable price in this economy can be a challenging task. Furthermore, it can be hard to decipher through all the sales pitch crap to tell if their qualified SEO provider or not?!?

I’ve heard all the horror stories of people who’ve been ripped off, or people who’ve gotten no return on their investment, and many more. To be honest, I don’t really feel all that sorry for these people. For every scammer out there, there is a client who is equally cynical about the practice of Search Engine Optimization.

That being said, I recommend that you do your homework before hiring an SEO company to do work for you. Here are 11 questions you can ask them and yourself that may help tell you if they’re qualified or not:

#1. What Kind of Techniques Do They Use?

If they talk about solid white-hat techniques, then they probably know at least a little about SEO. If they get into stuff that may constitute a gray area (or black-hat) then you may want to run the other way.

#2. What is Their Approach to Off-Site SEO?

A good SEO should be able to build quality links, as well as understand which directories and social media outlets may be of benefit to you. If they give you a blank stare when you ask about Off-Site SEO tactics, it may not be a part of their approach (which means you’ll be missing out on a lot).

#3. When Will You See Results? Any Guarantees?

I call Shenanigans!!! A good SEO should be able to set solid expectations regarding time tables for results. If your prospective SEO company starts to guarantee rankings, I’d suggest calling them out on it. Search engines don’t release their algorithms to the public, therefore nobody can guarantee shit!

#4. Do They Have An SEO Portfolio?

Every SEO company should be able to provide you with a portfolio of their work. In fact, they should be proud of it! If they don’t have a portfolio, they probably don’t have any experience.

#5. What Are Their SEO Success Stories?

Face it…everybody likes to brag. If your SEO company doesn’t have something to brag about, it may be because they aren’t very good.

#6. Can You Speak With Their Clients?

Every SEO should have a list of past and current clients in their Rolodex just waiting to give them a glowing recommendation. If their wary about letting you talk to their clients, they might be covering up something.

#7. What Do Their Clients Say?

Understanding how a company treats their clients is one of the best ways to get an idea of how you’ll be treated, should you decide to hire them.

#8. What is their SEO plan?

Are they able and willing to show you a road map of the SEO changes that they plan to implement on your website? Were they able to identify fundamental SEO mistakes, as well as make recommendations that stick to SEO best practices?

If their plan seems erratic and not well thought out, then you may have some issues with how well they may report results to you in the future.

#9. Are They Using Cookie Cutter SEO Packages?

What I mean by this is, are they trying to fit you into a cookie cutter SEO package that may not be the best for your needs. Good SEO often involves a lot of customization from client to client, rendering packages obsolete. So if they’re trying to fit you into a $50 per month package where they do A, B, and C watch out! It may be cheap, but what are you getting?

#10. How’s Their Pricing?

You can tell a lot about an SEO by their pricing models. The best SEO’s charge an arm and a leg, and only work with clients of their choosing. For every good one, there are 100 terrible SEO’s trying to fit you into their shitty, cookie-cutter (see #9), $50 a month package where you end up getting effectively dick in return.

This is not to say that every SEO who charges and exorbitant amount is good. It is more of a warning to watch out for the SEO’s who don’t charge enough. Search Engine Optimization is a highly-valuable service, and those that are good at it know their worth. I always ask myself, “Is there a reason that these low-charging companies think so little of their services?”

#11. Do They Pass the Smell Test?

A good SEO should have an impeccable reputation, and generally make you feel good to be working with them. A bad SEO will most likely smell like that old tuna that you forgot you stuffed in the back of your fridge last week. It should be pretty easy to tell the difference.

Hope this helps!

Image credit: Dr. Nadine Muller

Jacob Stoops

Jacob Stoops

Long-time SEO and podcast host. Senior Manager at Search Discovery. Husband. Dad. Mob movie aficionado. @jacobstoops