How To Hire An SEO Company: All The Questions To Ask

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How To Hire An SEO Company

Why are you different from other SEO companies?

Answers:

(1) “We have a lot of experience.”
(2) “We’ve gotten remarkable results.”
(3) “We have a different approach to SEO.”
(4) “We give more personal attention to our clients.”

If (1), (2), or (3), say: “Tell me about your most successful projects.”

If (4), ask the next question: “How much time will you, or a senior SEO team member, spend on my project?”

Tell me about your most successful projects.

Answers:

(1) “I can’t talk about that for confidential reasons” [RED FLAG] (2) “[Gives impressive examples]”

If (1), end the call.
If (2), ask the next question: “What KPIs did you use in those campaigns?”

How much time will you, or a senior SEO team member, spend on my project?

Answers:

(1) “Someone senior architects the project and then employs a highly competent team to do the nitty-gritty.”
(2) “I will be the only one working on it.” [RED FLAG] (3) “No one senior is involved.” [RED FLAG]

If (2) or (3), end the call.
If (1), ask the next question: “What KPIs did you use in those campaigns?”

What KPIs did you use in those campaigns?

Answers:

(1) “Mostly rankings and traffic.”
(2) “Mostly sales leads and revenue.”

How long did those companies remain clients?

Answers:

(1) “Less than 1 year” [RED FLAG] (2) “1 – 2 years”
(3) “More than 2 years” / “Still a client”

If (1) or (2), ask the next question: What was their reason for leaving?
If (3), skip the next question and ask: What are your methods for SEO?

What was their reason for leaving?

Answers:

(1) “They just didn’t need SEO anymore.” [RED FLAG] (2) “They went through a big transition and changed vendors.”
(3) “They took their SEO program in-house”
(4) “We got them so many leads they stopped needing to grow.”

What are your methods for SEO?

(1) “We submit your site to different directories and search engines.” [RED FLAG] (2) “We do a lot of guest posting on other sites.” [RED FLAG] (3) “We buy backlinks for you.” [RED FLAG] (4) “We submit press releases.” [RED FLAG] (5) “We write content for your site.”

If (1), (2), or (3), end the call.
If (4), ask what else they do, and if they do and if that’s it, then end the call. If they say something else that involves writing original content, then ask the next question, “What type of content?”
If (5), ask the next question: “What type of content?”

What type of content?

Answers:

(1) “We have on-staff writers that create 500 word blog posts.” [RED FLAG] (2) “We do white papers and thoroughly researched articles.”
(3) “We create journalistic thought leadership articles that respond to potential clients’ searches.”

If (1), (2), or (3), ask the next question: “How often do you publish this content?”

How often do you publish this content?

Answers:

(1) “About once per month.” [RED FLAG] (2) “About once per week.”
(3) “Multiple times per week.”

If (1), end the call.
If (2) or (3), ask the next question: “Can you send me a few examples of articles you’ve written for clients?”

Can you send me a few examples of articles you’ve written for clients?

Answers:

(1) “I can’t do that” [RED FLAG] (2) “Sure”

If (1), end the call.
If (2), ask the next question: “How much do you charge?”

How much do you charge?

Answers:

(1) “$1,500 / month or less” [RED FLAG] (2) “$1,500 – $3,000 / month.” [RED FLAG] (3) “$3,000 – $5,000 / month.”
(4) “5,000 – $10,000 / month.”

If (1) or (2), end the call.
If (3) or (4), ask the next question: “How many people will be working on my account and what will they be doing?”

How many people will be working on my account and what will they be doing?

(1) “1-3 people: Just a writer and an account executive, mainly.”
(2) “4-8 people, including a writer with experience my industry, an editor, a web designer, a conversion optimizer / analytics expert, and an account executive.”

If (1), end the call. (There is some chance your campaign could still succeed if the writer is world-class, but it is unlikely.)
If (2), thank them, tell them you look forward to receiving writing samples and case studies, and conclude the conversation.

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