Choosing an SEO provider is no small task for any business, but it can be especially tricky for site owners that don’t know much about SEO to begin with. How can you interview a potential partner if you don’t know the questions you’re supposed to ask or the answers you should get?
In my opinion, the majority of SEO providers out there ARE white hat and well-qualified to build your site a successful SEO campaign. Unfortunately, there is also a large enough percentage of unscrupulous SEO providers that are also looking to take advantage of unsuspecting site owners, making the process of finding a qualified SEO provider tough.
Here are the first two questions to ask yourself when looking for an SEO provider:
1. Do they practice what they preach?
This may seem like “well, duh” advice, but if you want to know if an SEO provider is going to do a good job for your website then take a look at theirs. Obviously you can’t see everything that is going on behind the scenes, but there are a few things a white hat SEO company will have going for them, including:
- A company blog that is routinely updated and primarily full of informational content. Each company is different, but my SEO company is fairly small and we still manage to publish at least two blog posts a day. A larger SEO company should have no problem producing great content day in and day out. Check and see if they have any white papers or webinars available for download as well. A good SEO firm knows the value of content marketing in all its forms.
- An active social presence. They don’t need to have thousands of fans, but they should be leveraging their own social profiles to market themselves and help their own SEO efforts. Are they promoting their own content as well as other industry thought leaders to help their social network? Do they engage in conversations with people or just promote their own services?
- A diverse search presence. If you were to Google your potential SEO partner you should see a diverse SERPs page. In addition to the company website and blog there should be social profiles, business listings, press releases, guest blog posts and more. A good SEO firm should know how to dominate the SERPs for their own brand. A bad or black hat SEO firm will probably have a lot of consumer complaint reports mixed in the search results.
2. Will they be completely transparent with their work?
I firmly believe that transparency is the key to a great client-SEO service provider relationship. In order to find the best SEO partner for your website you need to know what kind of communication you can expect. Will you get monthly SEO reports showing visitor data or social trends? Will you have a scheduled call every week, every other week or once a month? Will your SEO provider show you what exact links they build each month so you know what kind of link profile your site is getting? A good SEO provider should want to keep in touch with you.
Photo credit: webseoservices.in
Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing, a full-service SEO and social media marketing management company. With 13 years in the industry, Nick Stamoulis shares his knowledge by writing in the Brick Marketing Blog and publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter, which goes out to over a 150,000 opt-in subscribers.