8 Important Questions To Ask A Prospective SEO


After three years and no results from our previous SEO company, we hired Rich Stivala from worldwideRiches. Rich's effortless explained their SEO process from research to strategy implementation. His plain spoken and results driven approach was refreshing. The results over the past 6 months have been remarkable, if only I had discovered them years ago.

-Don Mutz, Owner
Titan Property Maintenance

Now that you have established your company's website, you are most likely asking yourself how do I attract more traffic to my website and improve my bottom line. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a great tool for improving your website's visibility. SEO is also referred to as Search Engine Marketing (SEM). However, as a busy business owner, it is doubtful you will be able to find the time to educate yourself to the level of proficiency required to produce effective SEO results. A great alternative to DIY SEO is hiring a local SEO professional. Hiring a local SEO service provider will save you countless hours of trial and error allowing you to focus on your core business.

Missed Opportunities

Are you missing valuable opportunities because your site can not be found? You can have the most spectacular website in the world, but if no one can find you, it's useless. That's what GOOD SEO is about - your business being found by potential customers.

So, how does one go about hiring a GOOD SEO? Well, this article presents eight highly effective questions to ask a potential SEO consultant.

1. What is the initial approach?

Once a potential SEO consultant understands your intended market, products, SEO trends, services and goals, they should develop a plan specific to your needs and market. This search engine marketing plan, should include keyword research, competition analysis and a multi-faceted attack that includes a content strategy, linking strategy, social strategy and an implementation plan with timeline. In order to ensure that your business gets a competitive advantage, this SEM plan should be clearly organized and agreed upon by both parties. The plan should enable you to understand SEO strategy and how it will increase web traffic and move your site up the search engine rankings.

2. What specific tactics are to be used to help my website get more traffic? ...more results?

Getting more web visitors is great... but, how do you make that happen? The person you hire will need to have a comprehensive response for getting more website traffic. Your objectives should include developing a robust social media presence, improving the company's search engine ranking, keyword ranking, link building, and consistently creating high quality content that attracts and retains visitors. In addition to getting more traffic, there should be a discussion on how to get visitors into generate leads and become paying customers.

3. Will there be ongoing support after the SEO plan is created and implemented?

A GOOD SEO plan is a long term plan. Add in Google's constantly changing algorithm and SEO is more art than science. Initial SEO implementation will need to be monitored and tweaked. Does the SEO consultant provide SEO support after the initial implementation? What is the scope of that support? Be sure that you understand what the SEO expert has agreed to be responsible for and set reasonable expectations and deadlines. Beware of companies that simply take your money without asking for your input or promise quick results. GOOD SEO requires persistence and patience.

4. How long does it take to start seeing results in Google, Bing and Yahoo?

It is important to recognize that credible SEO (White Hat SEO) takes time. SEO is an effective long-term strategy that requires patience, tweaking and follow-up A website's page rank is only available after a sufficient amount of time has been invested into the website. Depending on your goods/services and the competition it could take anywhere from two to twelve months to see noticeable results. Google's ranking algorithm takes into account over 70 different factors to keyword rank sites including website age, links, keywords, content, how long visitor stay on your site. Yahoo and Bing also have ranking algorithms, so the SEO you hire should be familiar with these two search engines.

Gathering these statistics will take some time, but establishing a strong and reliable online presence is worth the time.

5. How much niche-specific SEO and Local SEO experience does the potential contractor have?

Remember, an SEO expert does not necessarily need niche-specific experience. But, if they do, then all the better. If the service they provide includes a strategy for maximizing your site's visibility, and in-depth analysis, and relevant keyword inclusion, you can be rest assured that they will get the job done right. Generally, a great SEO professional is research-savvy and can determine the best keywords for your site based on your company's description and product or service. When looking for an SEO expert, pay attention to their credentials and referrals. Generally, a company that has been around for more than ten years will have a decent amount of familiarity with your niche. Having a long history of success is always a good sign.

6. What is the social media strategy?

Different businesses require different approaches to social networking. For instance, if you're selling handmade crafts and your target audience is retired women over 65, you may benefit from Pinterest. Another example is a nanny agency looking to reach young nannies entering the job market. Twitter and Facebook strategies are perfect for that generation. If you offer educational services for home schooled children, your company may need to subscribe to local parent groups and create back linked content. Every SEO plan should include an individualized plan for social media.

7. Is the SEO performed local or will the work be outsourced?

This is a very important question. Outsourced SEO optimization is not dynamic and rarely adapts to fit your specific needs. Most outsourced SEO workers don't understand the nuances of the language and local culture to create an effective keyword plan. Hiring a local SEO expert ensures your site gets the effective local optimization and quality keywords. We had one client come to us after using an outsourced SEO plan was implemented. The outsourced company not fully understanding the English language and optimized the site for the keyword "railroadjobs", not understanding railroad jobs is two actually words "railroad jobs". Putting your site in qualified hands is key and gives your site the best chance to succeed in Yahoo, Bing, and Google. It can also give you peace of mind to know that the company you hire is committed to developing your local business.

8. Ask to see a working example of an SEO plan created and implemented by the prospective SEO.

There is nothing more important than seeing an SEO plan in action. If the person or company you're considering has a good reputation, there will be a plethora of examples of their work in action. Also, ask for referrals. When SEO clients are satisfied, they give first-rate feedback. Be sure to ask for recent references. The best way to assess whether a local SEO service is right for you is to look at their history over the past 10 years. You want to make sure you're getting a highly qualified SEO expert whose SEO strategy will increase site traffic, search engine ranking, keyword ranking, and help your business grow.

Search engine optimization can take your small business to the next level. Knowing the key questions to ask a prospective SEO will be key to hiring a high quality SEO that impacts your bottom line.


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Author Rich Stivala has been creating and implementing revenue generating search engine strategies for over 19 years.