After doing your research, you’ve decided that it’s time to engage with an SEO firm to help bring the online leads that are currently going to your competitors who have rankings on the first pages of Google for key search terms your prospective clients are searching for. While doing your homework on which firm to hire, it can be difficult and frustrating to know what to look for to make sure it’s a great fit for your business.
Being informed and having all of the knowledge helps you make an informed decision for your business. This article is going to cover what key questions you can ask and items to bring up (and making sure they are in any contract that you’re signing before making that important decision for your business. Let’s start with the basics.
1. Transparency is EVERYTHING
Operating a Scottsdale SEO company for years means that we’ve seen all of the horror stories that business owners have dealt with when engaging with other SEO companies. The biggest component is that for almost every single bad experience these business owners have, it always revolves around the lack of transparency that the SEO company is providing.
Question to Ask: Besides providing keyword rankings and other metrics, will you be sharing EXACTLY what work you will be completing on a monthly and/or weekly basis?
Some keywords to look for to tell you that it’s time to run away as fast as possible is if the business is saying they have a “secret system” or a “secret tool” that they can’t reveal to you for how they achieve their SEO rankings.
From our past experience, what this usually corresponds to is either:
- They are using black or grey hat SEO tactics (basically, not the “right” way to do things which Google always eventually punishes with algorithm updates) or;
- They’re barely doing any work but still charging you on a monthly basis
Save yourself the future headaches and be sure to ask very clearly what they will be providing.
2. How Are They Going to do Their Link Building (AKA Off-Page SEO)
A huge component of monthly SEO work revolves around getting other outside websites to link back to your website to show Google that your site is high-value content and should be promoted. However, this isn’t as simple as just spamming a bunch of sites and getting as many links as possible.
Google’s algorithm works extremely well at picking up any easy or spammy ways to get backlinks to your website.
Question to Ask: What is your plan to get backlinks to my website? Do you have an idea of how many we’ll be getting per month and will they be relevant to my website/industry?
Backlinks can not only be useless if they aren’t relevant (for example, if you run a financial services business and your SEO company is getting backlinks with bakery website’s blogs), but they can actually hurt your SEO rankings as Google punishes spam.
Additionally, some SEO companies can severely hurt your website’s SEO by using easy and spammy tools that can get you 1000 backlinks in one day or one month. The BEST way to do link building is to get high-value and highly-relevant websites to link back to you in an ORGANIC way. Basically, what this means is not in a spammy way but in a consistent way (maybe 3-10 per month) vs. getting 1000 in one month and 0 after that.
Another Key Question: Will you be targeting specific domain authority ranked websites?
Domain Authority (DA) is a metric that is assigned to each website URL on a scale of 0-100. This is on a logarithmic scale, so getting a backlink from a site with a DA of 40 is exponentially better than one with a ranking of DA 20.
Don’t settle for bad backlinks to your website, ask the right questions and ensure that you’re only getting the highest quality links.
3. Read the Fine Print – Don’t Sign a Bad Contract
Lengthy contracts can be confusing but are often necessary to clearly define terms and protect both sides when an SEO campaign is started. However, we’ve seen numerous business owners quickly sign a contract and then have absolutely no idea what it entails.
Typically, business owners will get so confused/frustrated with the terms that they will just accept whatever is in there.
One case sticks out where a business owner that runs a video production company rechecked his contract in January and it turned out it would be plausible if he gave written notice to get out of the monthly contract by July.
Question to Ask: What are the terms after our SEO contract is up (for ex. after the 12-month term ends)?
More often than not, there will be language in place for the contract to keep continuing and it could include increases in prices, different terms, etc.
At Norba Design, we are always completely upfront with our SEO contracts and we clearly explain that after a 12-month contract, for example, the project will go month to month but they can cancel at any time to make it as flexible and easy as possible for the business owners.
Doing your homework before making the decision of choosing a Scottsdale SEO company will save you future headaches and frustration – make sure to use this basic overview guide to make the informed decisions required for yourself and your business.
Any follow-up questions about this article? We’re always more than happy to help out other business owners.
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