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3 Things to Ask Before Hiring an SEO

Hiring An SEOLet’s be honest: Hiring an SEO provider is not always a fun process. There’s so much competitive clamor throughout the industry; plus, SEO takes time to see results. There are a few universal questions (directives, actually) you can ask any SEO before hiring them, though, to screen them for general industry knowledge and effectiveness. Here they are:

Tell me about your expertise with SEO. Because this is an open-ended question, the person you’re interviewing can reveal as much as they want about their SEO knowledge. On the contrary, it may reveal how little they know. If there’s only one way to find out what you’ll get for your money before hiring an SEO, this is it. Listen for stories about specific past projects (you can ask for client industries, but not specific business names).

What do you consider the first rule of SEO? (The answer should not be “don’t talk about SEO”). The point of this question is to see how experienced this prospect really is, and how good he is at articulating what he can do for you. The answer may be anything from “Don’t use black hat tactics” to “Get the rankings at all cost.” You probably would prefer to hear the first answer. If he says the latter answer, run for the hills: he’s a black hatter.

How do you do your keyword research and search engine results page (SERP) analysis? Keyword research is the foundation on which your SEO campaign will be built, and SERP analysis is how your SEO will measure the effectiveness of the campaign. With those things in mind, the tools and methods this prospect uses matter. Before hiring an SEO, find out what tools and method those are.

Hiring an SEO can be simplified by asking a few pointed, open-ended questions. Take these along with you before interviewing your prospect.

2 Responses to “3 Things to Ask Before Hiring an SEO”

  1. Of course all this assumes the client knows what black hat is. It is easy for us in the industry to assume companies know these terms as we live and breathe seo. Finding the right seo company can be as simple as asking them to show real results for competitive keywords, this will almost certainly separate the good from the bad.

  2. You’re right Brett, that many clients don’t know what Black Hat is. Having said that, a good SEO provider should automatically be describing the differences between white & black hat throughout the campaign, and maybe provide some citations to back up their explanations too.

    The issue with results, is that in this age of SEO, ranking on competitive keywords is fleeting, if they’re really that competitive. If you share campaign results with new clients that shows a site in a certain spot, that new client checks & the site has moved at all, the onus is still on the SEO provider to explain why the site may have moved & why some movement isn’t a direct reflection on SEO campaign efforts.

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