— October 16, 2017
When you’re looking for a new SEO agency, there’s one thing in particular you should expect. A good agency will always be more interested in your business than in pushing their own sales pitch. After all, your search marketing needs are unique and it’s impossible to reach targets without understanding the intricacies of your online business.
You’ll know when an agency cares about these finer details because they’ll ask for them – and also help you provide the right answers. So what kind of questions will a good SEO agency ask you?
#1: What is your SEO history?
The first thing any decent SEO agency will want to know about your brand is its SEO history. Even if you haven’t done any SEO specifically, there is still important information to tell them:
- How long your site has been up and running
- An overview of the content published on your site
- An SEO audit to check for things like link profiles
- A look at the core files of your site to check your code
Aside from this, your agency will want to know any SEO strategies you’ve used in the past – in as much detail as possible.
#2: Have you worked with any SEO agencies before?
They will also want to know whether you’ve worked with any other agencies before. Once again, the more detail you can provide, the better. Here’s an idea of what they should be asking:
- What strategies did they put in place?
- The results you saw
- Whether the previous contract was terminated or not renewed
- Why you chose to stop working with that agency
- Whether you’ve still got access to all accounts/tools previously used (e.g. Google Analytics)
There’s nothing wrong with having worked with another agency in the past. But your new agency will want to know what went wrong along the way so this can be factored into your new search strategy.
#3: What does the rest of your marketing strategy involve?
SEO is simply one part of your larger marketing strategy and your agency needs to know exactly what its role is. In most cases, you’ll want your SEO agency to manage your PPC accounts as well – particularly AdWords – but what do you need in terms of social media, content strategy and your other marketing requirements?
Your strategy might be geared towards generating a specific type of lead. Or you might want to prioritise a certain list of keywords to complement your paid advertising campaigns.
Aside from assigning roles between an agency and your in-house team, you need to establish the role SEO plays with your wider marketing objectives. For example, if you have a sales team, your strategy might be geared towards generating a specific type of lead. Or you might want to prioritise a certain list of keywords to complement your paid advertising campaigns.
At this point, we’re starting to think about your SEO objectives.
#4: What are your SEO objectives?
We touched on this in the last section with two vague goals, but we need to talk about numbers at this point – specific objectives.
Let’s go back to our sales team example for a moment. Simply generating leads for a sales department is too vague for an SEO goal. Instead, think about that new product you’ve got lined up for release next year and decide how many pre-orders you want your SEO strategy to contribute towards in each quarter until the release date.
Now we’re talking about a specific SEO objective.
#5: What budget have you got to work with?
With your list of objectives established, it’s time to talk about money. Once again, you’ll need to break down your marketing budget into allocations for SEO, content, paid advertising and your other strategies.
First of all, we need to know what your marketing budget for the current year is. Then we also need to know:
- How much has marketing spend increased over the years?
- How much is it projected to increase in the coming years?
- What happens if this year’s marketing objectives aren’t met?
With those key questions answered, your agency will also need to know what the cost of your customer acquisition is, the percentage of lead to sales, value of lifetime customers and other important info to gauge how far each of your pounds could/should be going.
#6: What defines your brand?
Your brand image and the unique selling points of your products/services play an important role in SEO.
Your brand image and the unique selling points of your products/services play an important role in SEO. They define the keywords you target, the kind of content your audience needs as they work their way along the consumer journey and even the tone and voice of your content strategy. This is especially true if you’re working in a competitive industry where differentiation is vital to getting your brand seen.
As well as knowing what defines your brand individually, your agency will want to know as much about your competitors as possible. Who do you generally come up against in pitches? In which areas are they particularly strong? What kind of content do they produce?
Any agency that proposes strategies or quotes without asking the questions above is probably one you want to avoid. In fact, the actual list of questions from a good SEO agency will be much longer, but these are the six key areas they should be most interested in.
This conversation will tell you more about an SEO agency than any amount of research will (always check reviews from previous clients though). By the time you’ve answered their questions, you should feel confident about choosing an agency that puts the interest of your brand at the spearhead of its SEO strategy.