Organic SEO (search engine optimization) is one of the best ways to bring your website to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant keywords. However, fully optimizing your website involves a lot of moving parts, some of which can be a bit technical.
As CIO Magazine points out, “Today’s SEO needs to understand all of marketing at a deep level, the psychology of the human race, the specific culture to whom they’re marketing, the social media landscape, web analytics, web design and development, viral marketing, content, product, business models, and more.”
Because SEO encompasses much more than choosing the right keywords (although that’s an important part of it), businesses usually turn to professional SEO companies and consultants for help.
Now comes the tricky part: deciding which company offers the right SEO management services to meet your business’s needs. While a good SEO management company can improve your website’s ranking, and ultimately drive more potential customers to your site, implementing the wrong SEO practices can cause lasting, devastating damage to your bottom line. And with how quickly recommended SEO tactics evolve and change, you want to ensure you’re paying for the most up-to-date SEO management services that will positively impact your business. That being said, it can be difficult to know what questions to ask SEO management companies to gauge their level of expertise.
Here are some questions to get you started.
What is Your SEO Strategy to Deliver Results?
As I mentioned before, SEO is multi-faceted, and any business or professional providing SEO management services should be ready to address each facet as part of their SEO strategy. The most effective managed SEO services should consider the following:
- On-page SEO. This includes reviewing the optimized elements on your webpages, including meta title and description, page title, H1, H2, ALT tags, etc.
- Technical SEO. This includes code, site structure, site speed, and other metrics that could impact your search traffic.
- User experience (UX). This refers to the optimization of your digital property content.
- Off-page SEO. This refers to improving your SEO presence by earning links, strengthening your brand online, and improving the popularity of your site and content. Off-page SEO campaigns involve looking for opportunities to increase your domain and page authority through incoming links to your site from other high-quality sites.
How Can Your SEO Strategy Help Us Meet Our Objectives?
It’s important to remember that managed SEO services should never be a one-size-fits-all solution. Your SEO management company should adapt their SEO management services to create an SEO strategy that caters to your business objectives. The best SEO management companies will tailor their managed SEO campaigns around your business goals. For example, if you’re looking to increase your website traffic, your managed SEO campaign should focus on content creation and keyword optimization.
How Long Will it Be Before We Begin to See Results?
Like all good things, implementing an effective SEO strategy will take time to see results. If any SEO management company promises quick results, it’s important to ask how they plan to achieve those results. It is possible to see positive results early, but that really depends on the health of your website and many other factors.
For example, if your technical audit reveals errors and oversights with your website’s construction, you could see positive results in a short period of time. However, if your website is free from technical issues, you’ll probably have to wait longer to see positive measurable improvements. It’s not, however, unreasonable to expect to see positive results within six months of implementing a managed SEO campaign.
Can You Provide Three References We Can Contact?
This may seem like common sense, but because optimizing your site directly impacts your business’s bottom line, it’s important to do your due diligence and verify the SEO management company’s track record of success. Ask for at least three clients that you can contact to ask about their results and experience working with the SEO management company, including:
- What was their ranking for major keywords before and after implementing the SEO management services?
- Did the SEO management company deliver quality work in a timely manner?
- Was the SEO management company easy to work with?
- Did they offer helpful, actionable advice?
- Did they educate you about how search works so you and your team can improve your future marketing strategies?
Do You Perform Technical and Search Audits?
Once you’ve whittled down your list of SEO management companies to the top contender(s), you should ask those candidates to conduct technical and search audits of your site. While this is something you’ll need to pay for, you are giving those companies permission to look into the nitty-gritty of your site. Be sure to only grant them restricted access, and not full or write access, to Google Search Console and your analytics data.
- Search audit. In a search audit, your website and its ranking are documented along with the SEO management company’s recommendations and actionable items for addressing any issues that are causing your site to not rank as highly as it should.
- Technical audit. The technical audit is an evaluation of the backend of your site. This is where the SEO management company reviews your entire website for crawlability, URL parameters, internal linking issues, and consistent and sufficient server connectivity and response codes. An explanation and recommendations for fixes should be included, along with potential cost and timelines.
One thing you should be on the lookout for is whether or not the SEO management company made a distinction between their recommendations for branded and unbranded search queries. For branded search queries, the focus should be on providing searchers with a great experience when they visit your site since they’re already familiar with your brand. On the other hand, the recommendations for your unbranded, or generic, search queries, should focus on boosting your website to beat out the competition.