In today’s context, business professionals have a whole lot of avenues and platforms to market their brand and business on the internet. A business website with good search visibility in Google and other search engines is important for any business to improve its search ranking, establish brand credibility and provide better sales. While a small business owner can learn the basics and apply those tactics in promoting his business, having a professional team manage your online marketing strategies is a good investment in the long run. A good SEO firm and marketing agency has all the experience, domain knowledge and the tools to help you achieve your marketing goals faster and in a more effective manner. All the while, as the professional team manages your SEO and social media marketing, you will be alongside building a brand image that will be an asset forever. Hiring the best SEO agency in California is simple – go through the list of organizations that offer the services you are looking for, compare services and hire the team that best suits your needs, and get started. As internet marketing is constantly changing with new techniques and tools to explore, hiring a professional marketing firm that can service your marketing goals needs some research. And sometimes it gets confusing. A majority of the agencies use the same jargon to entice clients. As such, how to choose that right SEO partner is a million dollar question. Let’s try to answer this by looking at top five questions that you can ask a SEO service provider. This can help you learn if their strategies and SEO tactics are suitable for your business and if they are experienced enough to market your business appropriately to your potential audience.
- How will the SEO team perk up your search rankings and how will you measure the ROI?
Any systematic SEO approach involves an on-site audit, identifying the best suited keywords and building backlinks. On-site audit should involve the core SEO activities like Meta description optimization, keyword density optimization, title tag optimization, alt tag optimization, blog category optimization, XML sitemap creation, inter linking optimization etc. Also best SEO firms apply the combination keywords in terms of industry, website, budget, SERP analysis, studying competitor’s website and profile etc. Do not rely on a company that does keyword recommendation only on search volume.
Additionally, understand why the team is banking on the selected keywords. In terms of backlinks, keep in mind one good industry relevant and authoritative backlink is as good as hundred low quality backlinks. Avoid firms using black hat techniques or automated software in creating links. Right SEO firms should be able to explain the marketing campaign and ad strategies to help measure the ROI.
- Who are your clients, previous/current? Ask for references.
Always go by proven results. Agencies with expertise in one particular industry have expert knowledge on that domain; know what works for that industry, and posses a deep understanding of pre-established relationships. Question them how familiar are they with your domain. Take a look at the work they have done provided it belongs to your industry. A good client portfolio is an easy way to get an idea about a company. Know about their longest active client. It’s crucial as no client would try to give up on a company that has given consistent result. It’s always good to hire somebody who has prior experience. That said, it is of course not a pre-requisite. Many new agencies with fresh ideas are innovating the marking scene and doing wonders to reach out to the target audience for their clients in the most refreshing ways. Just probe, if they are new in the business, how they plan to update their skills on your domain, their engagement tactics and how they are going to meet the sales and revenue target.
- What is the agency’s specialization? For example, does it focus only on PPC Ads or does it modify strategies with clients’ changing needs?
SEO is kind of a huge umbrella under which various components are included. Make sure the company has the capabilities in social advertising, web design and development, re-targeting ads, web hosting, email marketing, video, copy writing, branding and inbound marketing, logo design and PR. These skill sets are an essential part of marketing in the in the digital world.
- Who are the people we will be communicating with and how?
Gain a brief understanding of the team member/s with who you will communicate with on a regular basis. Understand their mode and ease of communication. See how approachable they appear. Speak to the person who will be handling your project. A friendly analytical approach is what one actually looks for. Unlike other services, SEO requires intervention and inspection and a fair deal of involvement to make it effective. In case of an emergency, know who to contact and how. A single point of contact is very important for SEO campaign. Solo consultants or smaller teams can be really effective as they remain aware of your account, case study, work and status of your website from the inception unlike big companies and agencies. Communicate on your expectations clearly from the very onset of the project so that the agency can design on the schedule to meet your needs.
- Why do you think we should partner with your agency?
A good agency will always highlight their past success, list of contented clients, repeated clients and track records to win you over this open ended question. Try to avoid agencies who talk about their cheap affordable rates or large number of links which is no parameter for organic success without judging their quality and relevance.
Few key pointers that every business owner should follow before finalizing on an online SEO agency:
- Avoid long term contracts. Try for 6 months or a year. In fact, go as you like paying for only one month in advance.
- If one decides to terminate a contract mid way for whatever reasons, check on hidden penalties, if any.
- Avoid hiding information. Provide them with all possible data about your business, including that negative publicity you got for a poor review. Your marketer must know the truth so he can plan your reputation management strategies cleverly.
- Remember, SEO requires time. It could be three to four months or more before you see the first signs of change. So don’t jump into conclusion right away. Set your expectation right!
These are just a few points to remember when hiring your marketing consultant or online marketing agency. Do not limit to these five questions. Have an open discussion pointing out your goals, marketing ethics you want to follow, the clear outcomes you expect from this marketing investment, and ask about their strategies that they will take to achieve your goals. You don’t need tall promises but a complete understanding of their SEO services, marketing tactics, tools and how effectively they are going to implement them to improve your position! Keep in mind, a confident agency or a freelancer should provide you with reliable indications to all of the questions outlined above to build your business’s online following.