By now, you’ve heard of SEO. For the last 20 years, search engine optimization professionals have been selling the ‘secret’ to success online. Unfortunately, SEO isn’t a secret strategy- it’s a practice you must participate in to get traffic to your website. If you or the company you work at are considering working with an SEO company, you’ll want to make sure you ask these 6 questions. 

How Do You Define Success?

More often than not, companies end an SEO strategy unsure of how to measure their results (or relate them to the KPIs their company judges success by). Before you stumble and fall into a relationship where you’re not sure what they’re delivering, ask the company how they define success. Ask them what metrics they track and how those metrics relate to the bottom line. 

Will You Audit My Website, First?

How can you tell what you need to gain from SEO if you don’t know where you stand? There are a lot of one-off services that search engine optimization companies can offer. Any company that jumps head-first into a strategy without auditing your current presence is a red flag. Most reputable companies will insist that they do an audit in Month1 – and more popular yet, before the contract begins. 

What is Your Approach to SEO?

SEO is dynamic. If the company you are interviewing seems to keep mentioning one strategy or tactic- take it as a red flag. The SEO company you work with needs to have a holistic approach to their strategy that touches on functionality, on-page, and off-page. Make sure that when you talk to SEO companies and listen to their approach that you’re hearing these 3 elements come in to play. 

How Long Have You Been in Business?

Unfortunately, the SEO space is crowded with brand new agencies that are looking for their first big fish. One of the easiest ways to combat working with a novice, ask them how long they have been in business. Even if their business is less than 5 years old, their answer should give you a good pulse on what their experience level is. It’s not always a bad thing to be in a young company, as long as you have the experience to back it up. 

Can You Share Case Studies With Us?

The proof is in the pudding! Make sure they have some to share. Anyone can be a good talker. Only a few can present case studies that reflect the success of their work. In addition to proving they have the skills they claim, this will also give you an opportunity to see the niches they work in best. SEO for eCommerce and blogs are totally different. If the case studies reflect companies you can’t relate to, ask if they have anything more within your niche or ‘style’. 

What Defines a Good Client Relationship to You?

Though the core focus should be on the skills the company has, you’ll want to make sure that you and your SEO company have soft skills that play well with one another. If you’re a person who likes to have a meeting and the company wants to send emails, you’re going to experience friction in the relationship. Likewise, if you struggle to communicate with their team- you’re not going to understand the deliverables or the strategy. If a potential search engine optimization company has answered correctly to all the previous questions but doesn’t have the same view that you do on a ‘good relationship,’ you’ll want to continue your search. 

Long story short? The more you understand about a potential company’s approach, niche-fit, and working relationships- the better. Making sure that you fit with each other from a hard skill and soft skill perspective will allow you to find a long-term growth partner rather than an expensive heartbreak.