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We've heard it all - Throughout the years, we've come across numerous clients who have shared their horror stories of poor agency partnerships - from lack of transparency to unfulfilled promises and ineffective tactics. We empathize with these frustrations and recognize how difficult it is to find an SEO agency that truly fits with your business's unique needs, goals, and values.
It's an all-too-common struggle to sift through the hype and avoid partnering with agencies that could potentially damage your online reputation. But rest assured, we're here to help you make an informed decision. That's why we've created this comprehensive list of key questions to ask your prospective SEO agency.
These questions, categorized into approach and strategy, experience and team, implementation and process, and collaboration and communication, will not only help you filter out the “snake oil salesmen” agencies but also guide you toward a partnership that can truly boost your digital growth.
Equip yourself with these insights to confidently navigate the agency selection process and find a partner you can trust.
Key Questions to Ask a Prospective SEO Agency Partner
Approach and Strategy:
What is your approach to delivering SEO results and achieving success?
This question is critical for understanding the methods and practices a potential SEO agency employs. It will reveal their philosophies on SEO, whether they use white-hat tactics, their focus on short-term versus long-term results, and if they keep abreast with SEO trends and algorithm updates.
Beyond objective criteria (industry, size, etc.), what makes a client a good fit for your agency?
Inquiring about what makes a client a good fit for an agency helps you gauge their ideal client profile and compatibility with your business. It allows you to understand their preferences and working style, ensuring a more effective and harmonious working relationship.
What are your core values?
Asking an SEO agency about their core values is important because it gives you insight into their guiding principles, work ethic, and overall approach. Understanding an agency's values can help you assess whether their ethos aligns with your business culture and expectations.
In what ways does your agency prioritize work-life balance?
Understanding how an agency prioritizes work-life balance is vital as it speaks volumes about their company culture and the value they place on employee well-being. Agencies with good work-life balance tend to have happier, more engaged teams, which can directly impact the quality and efficiency of the work they deliver.
How do you plan to improve my website's rankings?
This question helps you understand the tactical side of an agency's approach, including keyword optimization, backlink strategy, and technical SEO improvements. You need to ensure they employ an approach that will genuinely improve your visibility and not engage in techniques that could harm your site's standing in the long term like keyword stuffing or exact match anchor text.
Can you provide any guarantees for achieving the No. 1 ranking?
This question helps you gauge the honesty and credibility of an agency. SEO is not an exact science and is highly dependent on search engine algorithms, competition, and a range of factors beyond an agency's control, so any guarantee of a No. 1 ranking should be viewed with skepticism.
How will you tailor the SEO strategy to align with our brand, business, industry, or niche?
The agency's response to this question will provide insights into their ability to understand and align with your unique business goals and audience needs, as well as to adjust to the specific characteristics of your industry or niche. Being prepared with a brand guidelines document can help smooth out the learning phase for your new agency partner.
How should SEO be integrated into our overall marketing strategy?
This question reveals the agency's understanding of holistic marketing strategy and their ability to integrate SEO efforts with other marketing tactics like content marketing, PPC, social media, PR, and email marketing.
What metrics do you use to define success in your SEO efforts?
It's important to ask this to understand the agency's focus: whether they value vanity metrics or prioritize measures that have real business impact, such as conversions, revenue, and customer acquisition cost.
When can we expect to see results from your SEO services?
This is necessary to align your expectations with the agency's projected timelines. SEO is a long-term strategy, and this question can help you avoid agencies promising unrealistic quick wins.
What pricing model do you follow for your SEO services?
This is a practical question to ensure transparency in billing and to understand whether their pricing model aligns with your budget and return on investment expectations.
What are the terms and conditions for contract termination?
This question is important to protect your interests. It will reveal any hidden clauses, penalties, or commitments that could affect you if the partnership doesn't work out as planned.
Experience and Team:
How long have you been providing SEO services?
This question provides insight into the agency employees' experience and longevity in the industry. It can offer a level of assurance regarding their ability to deliver results, as they've likely navigated multiple search engine updates and have a proven track record.
Can I have the opportunity to meet the team assigned to handle our project?
Understanding who will be working on your project allows you to gauge their expertise and the dynamics of the team. It can also give you an idea of the level of personal attention and interaction you can expect throughout the partnership. It’s important to remember when meeting the team that more capabilities do not equal more value.
Do you currently work with any of our competitors?
This is crucial to determine potential conflicts of interest. If the agency is working with direct competitors, it might limit its capacity to give your company a unique competitive edge in the marketplace.
How do you stay updated on industry changes and Google updates?
SEO is an ever-evolving field, with search engine algorithms updating frequently. It's essential to ensure your potential SEO partner stays on top of these algorithm changes and incorporates them into their strategies.
What kind of support or cooperation do you require from us to ensure effective results?
This question helps set expectations for collaboration and resources needed on your part. It will give you an idea of how hands-on or off you'll need to be during the process.
Can you share examples or results from some of your previous clients?
This gives you the opportunity to see evidence of the agency's effectiveness. Case studies, testimonials, or shared metrics provide tangible proof of their capabilities and the results they can deliver.
Implementation and Process:
What is your approach to building backlinks for our website?
This question will help you understand the agency's strategies for off-page SEO and their ethical standards. It's important they utilize white hat techniques to gain high-quality backlinks and avoid any methods that could potentially harm your website's reputation.
How will you communicate the changes made to our site and how frequently?
This question ensures transparency in their actions and updates. Clear communication is key in a successful partnership and it is crucial to understand how and when you will be updated about any changes they make to your website.
What is your reporting and meeting schedule/cadence?
Regular meetings and reports are essential to keep track of the progress and results of the SEO efforts. This question can help align your schedules and expectations for information exchange and updates. At Uproer, we meet every other week to keep your team in the loop about what’s in the pipeline, what we’ve completed, what we plan to work on next, and how it ties back to the overarching strategy, so you never have to ask yourself - “I wonder what Uproer is up to?”.
How many hours per month can we expect for each SEO service?
This question provides insight into the agency's allocation of resources and their commitment to your project. It can help in understanding how their services are priced and the amount of attention your project will receive.
Will you be implementing any technical changes to our website?
Asking this question helps you understand if they plan on making technical changes that might affect the overall structure, performance, or user experience of your site. It also prepares you for any changes you might need to communicate to your team or users.
Which specific technical aspects of our website will you audit and fix?
This question gives you a clearer picture of their technical SEO expertise and their focus areas, be it site speed, mobile-friendliness, XML sitemaps, or other technical aspects that might need improvement.
How many pages of our website will you optimize on an ongoing monthly basis?
This helps you understand the extent of their on-page SEO efforts, the amount of work they will be doing each month, and the scope of their services. You don’t want to overlook the assets that already exist on your site, they are often leaving chips on the table when left unoptimized.
What methods will you use to optimize our existing website content?
This sheds light on their approach to content optimization, including keyword usage, meta tags, headings, and user experience factors, all crucial for SEO success.
How will you optimize the new content that we create?
The answer to this will provide an understanding of their approach to content strategy and how they intend to integrate SEO best practices into your content production process.
What tools or software do you utilize for your SEO processes?
This gives you an insight into their technological capabilities, how they handle data, and the sophistication of their SEO tactics.
How do you report on the progress of our SEO campaign, and what does the reporting look like?
This question helps you understand the agency's accountability, the metrics they consider important, and whether they can present data in a clear, understandable manner. It also sets expectations for the format and frequency of the reports.
Collaboration and Communication:
How frequently will we be scheduling meetings or check-ins?
This question is important to establish clear lines of communication and a schedule for updates. Regular meetings are crucial for keeping both teams on the same page and addressing any issues or opportunities as they arise.
How will our teams collaborate and interact with each other?
Understanding the mode and methods of collaboration will help set expectations about how the partnership will work. It is crucial that the SEO agency has a plan for effective collaboration that aligns with your company's culture and operations.
How much time or involvement will be required from our in-house team?
This question helps to identify how much resource allocation will be needed from your side. Knowing this can aid in planning your team's responsibilities and ensure that the partnership works seamlessly without overloading your team.
What specific tasks or responsibilities can our team continue to handle in-house?
This will help distinguish which aspects of your current SEO or content creation efforts can remain in-house. This clarification ensures there's no duplication of work and can potentially help in managing costs.
How can we track and ensure that progress is being made in our SEO efforts?
The answer to this question will give you an insight into the agency's transparency, accountability, and the metrics they use to measure success. It ensures you have the means to monitor the work done by the agency and the progress of your SEO campaign.
Taking the Next Step: Choosing Your SEO Partner
Finding the right SEO partner is a strategic decision that can make or break your online success. By asking these critical questions, you can ensure that your prospective agency understands your unique needs, aligns with your business goals, and uses ethical, effective methods to optimize your digital presence.
But remember, the right partner is more than just an agency; they're an extension of your team. Here at Uproer, we pride ourselves on our tailored approach, transparent communication, and unwavering commitment to your growth and successes.
If you're ready to take your SEO efforts to the next level, we'd love to hear from you. Let's join forces and create an uproar in your industry. Get in touch with us today!