7 Questions You Need To Ask An SEO Firm Before Hiring Them
(SEO) search engine optimization companies regularly contact businesses trying to get their business. Read on for tips on what questions to ask them.
- Do they guarantee that they will get you on page 1 of Google?
- Are they located in the same country as your business?
- Do they do on page optimization for your current content and any future content that is added to your website?
- Do they add fresh content to your website or is that your responsibility?
- Are the links that they build to your website on sites that are relevant to your business?
- Do the incoming links that they create have a large variety of anchor text?
- Do they build links that point to interior pages or just to the home page of your website?
Do They Guarantee That They Will Get You On Page 1 Of Google?
If a company claims that they can guarantee you a page 1 listing on Google, run away from them. No legitimate company can or will guarantee your placement in the search results. Many companies can and do get their customers on the first page of the results but they’re foolish to guarantee it because Google is constantly changing their algorithm which determines where any given page gets placed in the search results.
Are They Located In The Same Country As Your Business?
The SEO company that you hire needs to be in the same country in which you conduct business or they may not use the same slang and idioms that are used in your country.
Do They Do On Page Optimization For Your Current Content And Any Future Content That Is Added To Your Website?
Optimizing the content on each page of your website is important because Google and other search engines index and rank each page separately. When on page optimization is done correctly:
- The content is proofread for spelling and grammar errors.
- The content is checked to see if the keyword being focused on is used too often.
- The content is checked to see if there’s too little content on the page. (Google likes to see content that has at least 500 words or more of relevant content on the given topic to consider it as a useful answer for most searches.) Note: There are always exceptions.
- The company will make sure that each page has a meta-description that tells the search engines what the page is about because this is sometimes used as the description in the search results. (If a meta-description does not exist on a page, Google will grab a snippet of text out of the content to use as the meta-description.)
- The company will make sure that each page’s meta-description is no longer than 160 characters and that it includes a call to action.
- The company will make sure that every image on the site has an ALT tag in place.
- The company will make sure that each hyperlink on the website has a title tag.
- The company will make sure that each hyperlink that leads away from your website opens in a new window. (You want people to stay on your website as long as possible and it may be difficult for them to find their way back if the site they visit doesn’t open in a new tab or window.)
- The company will make sure that your website has an XML site map and that it has been submitted to Google and Bing.
- The company will make sure that your website has a visible visitor site map and if it doesn’t they will either create it or recommend that your webmaster creates it.
- The company will make sure that your business name, address, phone number, website URL, business hours and contact information shows up on each page. (This is vital for local businesses but it isn’t as important for businesses wanted to ranking globally.)
- The company will make sure that each page of your website is using the schema markup language that’s recommended by Google and the other search engines.
- The company will check to see if the different pages of your website are mobile friendly and if they aren’t they will HIGHLY recommend that you get them mobile friendly as quickly as possible. (Google has been testing a mobile first index and it’s highly speculated that it will be rolled out in 2017. If this happens, it means that mobile friendly sites will be shown to searchers before sites that are not mobile friendly.)
- The company will check your online reputation to see if it’s good or bad. They should also ask you if you have a system in place so that you and your staff consistently ask customers to leave online feedback about their experience with your business. (Your online reputation as a ranking factor with Google so a good company will try to get you to put a system in place if you don’t already have one. A good online reputation will not only make it easier to rank your website but it is a great business asset that will help increase conversions into leads and sales.)
The optimization that is done will vary if you are optimizing for local search instead of global search.
Before you talk to the first company about helping your business get found in the search engines, you need to decide if you’re going to focus mostly on local search or global search. (Trying to rank globally is going to be much more difficult and more expensive than trying to rank locally.)
Do They Add Fresh Content To Your Website Or Is That Your Responsibility?
You need fresh content added to your website on a regular basis to keep both search engines and customers interested. (If your site never receives fresh content, Google may wonder if you have abandoned it. Even if they don’t think it’s abandoned, they may choose fresh content from a competitor to show searchers because they might deem it as more relevant simply because it’s newer.)
If the company is going to add the fresh content to your website, you need to know if there’s going to be an extra fee, how often the content will be added and if it’s going to be media rich. (I.e. has images, video, audio or a combination of the above.)
Are The Links That They Build To Your Website On Sites That Are Relevant To Your Business?
The number of links coming into your website isn’t nearly as important as the quality of those links and the authority of each link.
For example: a link pointing to a pet store website from a website that talks mostly about fashion would be considered a very low quality link.
Do The Incoming Links That They Create Have A Large Variety Of Anchor Text?
People that like your site normally use a wide variety of words and phrases (This is called anchor text.) when they share your link with their friends and family. Some use just the URL but some may use a set of words or phrases that hide the URL and the keyword phrase that you are targeting is usually only a very small percentage of the text actually used.
Do They Build Links That Point To Interior Pages Or Just To The Home Page Of Your Website?
The interior pages of most websites focus on keyword phrases that are less important to you than the primary keyword on your home page. For this reason, the phrases often have more words in them and less competition in the search engines which makes them easier to rank. Every time one of these pages ranks well it helps push your home page, with its primary keyword, higher in the search engine results.
Doing well in the search engine results is a long-term project that once started should never be stopped.
When you work with the right company, you should treat them and they should treat you as a business partner that’s working towards a common goal which is to position you as a market leader so that you can attract more customers.
You not only want to rank well but you want to have a call to action on each page so that people know you’re willing and able to do business with them.
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