How To Hire A Search Engine Optimization Company

Clive Lobo

Search Engine Optimization is not an exact science and the kind of work and level service each company provides varies greatly. Knowing what questions you should ask is critical to deciding who to hire and who to stay away from. We decided to put together a list of questions a business should ask when evaluating and hiring a search engine optimization company. We did this because we want to help businesses stay out of trouble and get good quality search engine optimization services.

All of these questions are more or less equally important so we’ve not placed them in any particular order. You should evaluate 3-4 search engine optimization companies first, and only choose firms who put this service as their first core competency (Don’t choose developers or designers who also have an SEO service). Ask each company to answer these questions below.

  • What kind of contract do you have – is it month to month, or longer term?
    You should not sign a long term contract. The SEO company should be willing to go month to month as long as they are meeting your expectations. If you have to sign a long term contract you should make sure that there are metrics in place to gauge the quality of service each month. The contract should also stipulate in your favor – that a failure to provide status reports and stats should allow you out of the contract obligations.
  • What is your search engine optimization process?
    They don’t have to give away their secrets, but they should be able to explain in simple terms their strategy for getting you to outrank your competition.
  • Please explain what you do for our account every month?
    They should be able to explain in simple terms the activities they perform for you on a monthly basis – and how those activities contribute to your search engine optimization.
  • What is your process for developing back links to our site?
    Does it include link exchange services or are they attempting to develop naturally occurring back links that will endure beyond the life of your contract with their company? You should never rent links for two reasons. First, they don’t last forever. Second, the search engines are cracking down on it.
  • Please describe your monthly status reporting.
    Will they be providing you with monthly status reports which cover such things as keyword rankings, analytics and the quality of traffic coming to your site, work performed, and work planned for the coming month(s)? Beware if they don’t provide this information.
  • What do you do to stay current?
    What is their company doing to stay abreast of the changes in search engine optimization strategies and techniques? Search engines are constantly changing and therefor so are the strategies. Staying abreast of the industry is critical to high quality search engine optimization services.
  • Do you include Pay Per Click positions in your evaluation of Search Engine Optimization rankings?
    Even if the company is offering Pay Per Click for free as part of your search engine optimization – you should not allow the PPC positions to be included in your search engine optimization evaluation because pay per click positions are “rented” and are not part of the organic search results.
  • Please provide us with a list of search engine optimization references and examples of ranking results.
    Are they willing to provide you with a list of references that can be called? How well are these sites ranking for their terms?
  • What kind of on-line reputation does the company have?
    Search their company and see what you can find. Do the same for the key staff members. Make sure you like what you read about them!
  • How do you charge for your services?
    Some companies use a pay for performance model, while others charge a flat monthly fee. Regardless of the method it should be reasonable and fair, and easily measured and calculated.
  • Do you offer a guarantee to get us first place positions?
    You should not accept any offer that guarantees first page placements. The search engines favor no one, and therefor it is impossible to guarantee any position. Some guarantees are acceptable. For example, a company may guarantee to “improve” your rankings against a baseline set of measurements calculated prior to the commencement of their work. This would be an acceptable guarantee because if they can’t make any improvements, why should you continue paying?
  • What are your core values and vision?
    You should ask about their core values and vision – are they in line with yours? Remember that you’re trusting future revenue to this company – you’d better have similar values!

Now that you have the answers to these questions put them in a spreadsheet where you can easily see the questions and answers provided by each search engine optimization company. Review the answers and rank the companies based on their answers. Now think about it. Consider your gut feelings – would you be comfortable working with the company you ranked number 1? If yes you should finally ask to speak the people who will be working on your account, and then if you’re happy – sign the deal and feel good about it.

Clive Lobo

Spark’s resident boss man, Clive possesses the very nature of an entrepreneurial spirit.

Newsletter Sign-Up

Share the knowledge!