Question #1: “What’s Your Approach to SEO?”
What It Tells You: This will tell you what year the agency is living in. Many SEO agencies hype up outdated concepts like meta tags, keyword density and web directories. A trustworthy agency will talk about keywords, outstanding content and white hat link building.
If you’re not sure what exactly you should be listening for, this guide by dubbed “The Ultimate Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Guide” is worth a read.
Question #2: “What Does Your Reporting Look Like?”
What It Tells You: This question is a barometer that gives you deep insights into their SEO approach. Shady agencies will send you reports with a list of links that they’ve mysteriously “acquired”. Someone worth hiring will focus on publishing and promoting epic content on your site. The reporting will zero-in on how it performed in terms of generating links.
Question #3: “How Will You Build Links For My Site?”
What It Tells You: You probably already know that the number (and quality) of the links pointing to your site is one of the most important ranking signals that Google uses. But if you attempt to manipulate the algorithm with phony links from mass article directory submissions or low quality guest blogging, you could find your site in the doghouse. Ideally you want a company that’s going to focus on producing amazing content and promoting that content via manual email outreach.
Question #4: “What Types of Results Should I Expect…And When?”
What It Tells You: It’s not unreasonable to expect tangible results from the people that you pay. However, many firms will dodge this question with vague statements like “SEO takes time” and “we don’t control what Google does”. While those statements are spot on, there’s an element of predictability that comes with quality SEO. Namely, a slow but steady increase in rankings and organic search engine traffic.
Question #5: “What Happens if My Rankings Drop?”
What It Tells You: It’s not uncommon for rankings to fluctuate over time. If it does, you can usually recover (even if it’s from a Google penalty). You want to hear things like, “If that happens, we’ll work with you to figure out a solution”. Red flag statements include “That’s never happened to us. Don’t worry about that” or “Hey, Google tends to do that. We don’t accept responsibility for what Google does.”