SEO, why do you need it & what questions do you need to ask a potential SEO provider?
You’ve probably invested in SEM and you’ve heard about SEO but aren’t sure you want to invest in it. After all, you’ve probably heard that with SEO you spend money for a while before seeing any results and also even then you aren’t guaranteed that if you spend the money that you will get any clicks. Sounds a bit scary. But think of it like your home… If you rent, you get immediate satisfaction, you pay money and you get the house you want within a day if you want. However, if you stop paying rent, you get kicked out. Simple. That’s SEM/PPC.
If you’re thinking about your dream home, you have to save, you have to pay a deposit and you have to wait until you get the keys. Once you get the keys to that home, you may need to pay a mortgage but it’s a lot harder for you to lose it. With an investment in SEO, it’ll take time to rank for relevant searches, but once you get that high ranking, as long as you continue SEO investment, you’ll be able to reap the benefits for the long term. Think of it like ‘owning’ the brand space for digital search if you’re doing it right. When the right search term is entered, your potential customers see you. They can see you over & over, or click on your business 5 times or 50000 times and you are not paying more for each click, in fact you are not paying for any clicks. Those clicks are YOURS TO KEEP. Therefore in the long term, a better ROI.
Having said that, you need to work with a reputable partner, one who will be by your side for the SEO journey, one that will help with all aspects of SEO to ensure your business success.
Here are some questions you should ask a potential partner:
- How will you improve my search engine rankings?
Avoid any SEO companies who won’t share a process of their methods, Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz, (a global internet marketing software company) “They should be able to explain the strategies they would use to drive up your website’s search engine ranking”
They should be able to tell you offline and online elements that will improve your SEO.
- Can you guarantee my website will achieve a number-one ranking on Google, Bing and Yahoo?
If they say yes, turn and run in the other direction as fast as you can. It’s not possible to guarantee a number-one ranking on any search engine in a specified period of time, some unethical SEO consultants do make guarantees but it is to make a quick buck, you need to be in it for the long haul so this is a red flag.
- What is included with your service?
You need to know that they’re not only making recommendations on your SEO needs but that they’re actioning them on your behalf. This is also a great chance for you to ask questions about those inclusions.
- How do you measure the success of your SEO campaigns?
Ask them for an example of what their reporting looks like, make sure you’re comfortable with it before you proceed. It should include some keyword rankings and some excerpts from your Google Analytics.
- How will we communicate and how often?
Like any industry, SEO consultants customer service levels will vary. You need to find someone whose approach best fits your needs. Find out how often reports are updated, how often you will be contacted and ensure this fits in with your expectations e.g. Face to Face or an email preferred.
- What are your fees and payment terms?
Make sure you understand if you’ll be charged hourly, a flat fee or a variable one and ensure you understand what this relates to in the proposal i.e. Under what circumstances will there be extra charges? What are the invoice terms e.g. 7 days, 30 days, up front payment etc. Also is there a set up fee initially?
- What happens when we part ways?
When your contract expires or if you terminate it early, you should still maintain ownership of any content or changes that have been made by your SEO team. Ensure you know the notice period for cancellation.
To sum it up, SEO is important but as important is the partner that you work with to ensure your success. So work with someone who is going to walk you through the process and ultimately continue to do the necessary work to ensure your success.