10 Questions to Ask When Hiring an SEO Firm

Bring your ammos when interviewing a possible search engine optimization company to sign up with. Have all the questions you need to ask to get the valuable information you need. Here are 10 questions that you should remember.

1. Do you have a client portfolio?

seoEvery SEO firm has a client portfolio because their services are 100% results-driven. They market their services based on the success of their past and current clients. Telling you that they don’t have a portfolio is just like saying they can’t show it to you because the records are so terrible. Don’t fall for the confidentiality clause excuse because that’ll be a ridiculous rule in a marketing field where exposure is the game.

2. Can you present traffic graphs of your clients?

The top SEO companies can show their clients’ traffic graphs because they are all constantly going up. Declining to present is a sign that they are embarrassed of the traffic trends that their clients have.

They should be able to impress you by reaching your targets and delivering their promises. It doesn’t really matter if their graphs show slow and unsteady growth because what’s important is that they reach the target within the agreed timeframe. Sometimes, it takes months before you can see good results. The most important thing though, is that you see the results you want.

3. Can you commit to presenting a proposal before contract signing?

A proposal is always essential in any B2B transaction. You can’t enter an agreement that is not clear to you. You actually sign up for their tailored-fit proposal when you sign up with an SEO firm.Their portfolio and track record will all be useless to you if they cannot present a proposal to help you achieve your goals through their services. All the proposed plans should be in black and white for formality and assurance. Think again if they can’t offer a plan with no strings attached.

4. Do you have on-page and off-page optimization services?

SEO is categorized into two: on-page and off-page optimization. On-page optimization refers to the services directly made on your website, such as content creation and site mapping. They are done to improve your online relevance, improve the navigation experience, and increase conversion rate. On the other hand, off-page optimization refers to the services made outside of your website to improve popularity, such as link building and forum posting.

On-page and off-page optimization always go hand and hand because using only one may not be enough to reach your target, especially when your competitors use all the strategies they can have to thrive in the cutthroat world of online marketing.

5. Do you have major issues that affect the quality of your services?

This is where you can test their honesty. The top SEO companies are likely to be honest about their issues because they are confident that no hiccups can stop them from becoming the best in the industry. Besides, nothing is a secret nowadays. The reputations of SEO agencies are discussed online, so they can’t really hide anything, provided that you did your assignment before talking to them. Also, you can always contact their past clients since you’ll know who they are anyway.

Some issues that you may want to be wary about are server problems, conflict of interest (e.g. servicing directly competing websites), and lack of in-house staff (since everything is outsourced nowadays).

6. Do you offer local, national, and international search engine optimization services?

The thing now is more of going local than going international. Even Google acknowledges that. Businesses nowadays want to reach out more to their immediate target markets, mostly those living in nearby communities up to living in the same country. There is really no point in opting to go international if your website does not cater to international markets. It’s important that the search engine optimization company you are going to hire knows a lot about local marketing, especially if yours is just a local business.

7. Can you work with an existing marketing plan?

Maybe you already have an existing marketing plan, or you have a plan in mind at least. The firm you prefer should be able to incorporate your own idea of marketing with their own. You know what direction to take because it is your vision that should be followed. The firm should only be able to bring you to your goals, not dictate them.

8. How many membership accounts with directories and indexing sites do you have?

Having multiple connections with the top article, website, and PR directories is one of the biggest advantages of hiring them. Hence, they should be able to provide the best directories that ordinary people cannot easily afford. They need to give you an idea of how large their network is.

9. How large is your network and how many leads can you provide?

A firm’s network is another aspect that convinces clients to avail of their services. This network includes companies that they can tie up with, such as directories, indexing sites, tools and widgets providers, etc. Leads should also be discussed if you will be availing of off-page optimization services.

10. Do you have your own SEO writers?

The biggest part of content creation and keyword optimizing a website belongs to a team of SEO writers. You can be guaranteed with faster turn-around time and higher quality if they are all in-house. Freelancers may be tapped, but they shouldn’t be given the most important jobs like the priorities and the urgent ones.

How to Make the Most out of SEO

Search engine optimization, abbreviated as SEO, is a compilation of techniques and methods, the purpose of which is to ensure that your web site will be properly placed on the web and be visited by more people every day. It is one thing to have site visitors, but the more important task is to convert those visits into leads and business ventures.

SEOSearch engine optimization is an internet marketing strategy that considers several things to ensure that its user can have the most out of this technique. SEO takes into consideration how search engine works, as well as what people actually search for and which search engine they prefer.

So how can you maximize your search engine optimization? You should know what search engines are looking for. Your content should be relevant to what the users are looking for. Relevance focuses on four things:

  • Content – which includes the theme, the text and the description given
  • Performance- which focuses on the reliability and functionality of a web site. Is it fast? Does the site work properly?
  • Authority – refers to how your web site is viewed by others. Are other users citing your work as reference for their works?
  • User experience – is it easy to navigate around your page? Is it safe? Is it user-friendly?

Aside from knowing what search engines are looking for we should also know and avoid what they are not looking for. Search engines avoid the following, so should you.

  • Keyword stuffing –the overuse of words in a given page.
  • Doorway pages – acting as a door to another site. When a user searches for an item, the search robots throw your site on their list, but when the user opens your link, you redirect them to the real site, which is after they are counted as a visit for you.
  • Content duplication – repeating the same block of content on the same page or posting the same content on another site.

One way to help you improve your ranking is a constant upload of fresh contents and contents that appeal to human interest. Your content should be well-written, good and unique. You want to make sure that people will go back and refer to your content rather than have one look at it and delete you from the list of possible resources.

Optimization is not just about working on one platform alone. You should practice consistency by using keyword phrases not just on your site, but your Twitter, Face book, LinkedIn and email accounts as well.

Consistency is not just about consistently using the word on your content, but also applies to domain names. It is preferable to buy old domain names, but do make sure that the previous owner has no shady past. To maximize SEO include your keyword in your URL or domain name. A strawberry farm can use www.strawberryfarm.com as its domain name. This will ensure that when one searches for a strawberry farm the list will include this domain name in the results list.

link buildingAnother means to maximize SEO is through link building. However, it is important to remember that in link building it is not about quantity, but all about quality. A single, great and concise link is far better than several, poorly written and of poor quality links. Do not overdo it and start a link farm. A link farm is defined as a group of web sites, where each site contains hyperlinks of all the sites within the group. Sometimes, lists included in the link are not related to one another therefore making the site unruly, unorganized and definitely something you would not want to come back to any time soon.