Everywhere you look, you see an SEO agency with a promise.

We’ll take your website to the top of the search engines for your target keyword.

We’ll beat the competition to the number one spot within 30 days (no longer than 60, we promise).

These promises sound good, but there’s a problem: there’s no substance behind them.

Does this mean all SEO agencies are out to sell you a bill of goods? Of course not.

SEO Agency

There are legitimate players in this space, with the top performers able to help you reach your goals without bending the rules and putting the well-being of your website in jeopardy.

To narrow your options and make a confident decision, you should interview a minimum of three to five SEO agencies.

When doing so, here are some of the most important questions to ask:

1. What makes your agency different?

On the surface, most SEO agencies appear similar. Most have promises, case studies (more on this below), and a good sales pitch.

But you can’t assume you know everything. You have to ask. And doing so starts with digging deep into what makes each agency different than the rest.

It can be anything from their approach to SEO to their one-on-one service, but knowledge of each agency’s unique selling proposition is a must.

2. What approach do you take to SEO?

You’re going to find agencies that believe that on-page content is the end-all. You’ll also find agencies that want to do nothing more than build links to your site. And of course, some claim they do it all.

Request that each agency you’re speaking with provides a sample strategy, such as one they used with a past client. Doing this will give a clear understanding of how they approach SEO and whether it aligns with your goals.

3. How do you charge (not how much)?

Asking “how much do you charge” is likely to lead you down the path of making a decision based on price alone. You don’t want to do this.

Price is important, but you want to know what you’re getting in return for your money.

Asking “how do you charge” is more likely to lend insight into the type of arrangement the agency prefers with its clients.

4. Can you share several success stories and case studies?

Every SEO agency will tell you what they’ve done in the past. They’ll say that they ranked their last client in position one for hundreds of keywords. They’ll talk all about the revenue those rankings generated.

To a certain degree, it’s okay to take their word for it; they still have to put their money where their mouth is.

Taking this one step further, ask if they can share references related to the success stories and case studies. The agencies that are willing to do so have nothing to hide. The willingness to share their past successes is what you should be looking for in an agency.

5. How is your company structured?

This step is more about customer service and customer experience and less about results. However, the two go together hand in hand.

The best SEO agencies have a structure in place that puts your mind at ease. For example, you’ll have a dedicated account manager who’s available to answer your questions, deliver reports, and help you understand what’s happening.

Conversely, some agencies attempt to hide everything they do – possibly because they are not playing by Google’s rules – which not only should make you suspicious but could also be detrimental to the long-term viability of your business.

It’s natural to struggle with the idea of hiring an SEO agency. This reluctance is natural, particularly if you’ve had a bad experience in the past, perhaps by a less than reputable provider who promised the sun and moon.

By asking these questions, along with any others are on your mind, you’ll better understand which SEO agency is right for you, what to do next, and what to expect in regards to price, service, experience, and results.

Final tip: don’t lock yourself into a long-term contract with your chosen agency. Instead, ask them to work with you on a month to month to basis, allowing you to judge their performance and determine if you’re a good fit for one another.

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