10 Critical Questions to Ask Before Hiring an SEO Agency

There are multiple moving components of SEO best practices in 2020. To build high-quality SEO, you (and possibly your team) are creating content, managing PPC, creating backlinks, publishing landing pages, posting on social media, etc. The list can go on and on. That’s why some window dealers and window installers decide to hire an SEO agency to improve their search ranking and increase conversions. If you choose this route, make sure you’re prepared with critical questions to ask before hiring an SEO agency.

Why you should ask critical questions before hiring an SEO agency?

In today’s digital world where homeowners find window professionals online, your website is your bread and butter. You can’t trust just anyone with this crucial component of your business. Hiring the right SEO agency can make the difference between improving your website and sales and seriously damaging your SEO, which can take years to recover.

1. What is your SEO process with a new client?

Typically, an SEO professional will start with an audit of your website to identify necessary changes and improvements. (Side note: an SEO agency may make these changes on your website themselves, or they can work with your developer.) Using your own developer is the safest option, but if the SEO agency takes on this task, it’s critical that they provide a record of changes and share it with you on a regular basis.

A seasoned pro will plan to complete keyword research for your window business, create backlinks to your website, and make recommendations for your content. They should be able to explain their process to you in detail. No matter what, ask how they plan to track the work they complete for you and how they will share it with you.

2. Who will complete the tasks you are recommending for my window business website?

SEO best practices require a long list of necessary tasks. These may include projects like content creation, website development, publishing landing pages, etc.

Some SEO agencies work in a consulting capacity and delegate tasks to your in-house marketing team or ask you to outsource the labor. This can be problematic if you don’t have the staff or the bandwidth to complete these tasks.

Other agencies complete the tasks with their own staff. Remember, you’re paying the SEO agency, so be sure that you’re on the same page and that you are happy with the division of labor.

3. How do you stay up-to-date on SEO best practices?

SEO professionals (like other experts in tech) have to continually educate themselves on major changes to Google’s algorithm and the best SEO strategies. It’s vital that whoever you hire stays current in the world of SEO. Here are some ideas for how to gauge their knowledge:

  • Do they read Google’s announcements on updates and changes?
  • Do they attend SEO industry conferences?
  • Do they publish a blog on SEO and online marketing?
  • Are they members of major SEO online communities?
  • Ask them to describe a recent/major algorithm change and verify their knowledge.
  • How have they seen the industry change over time?

4. How do they plan to adjust their SEO strategies for the window professionals industry?

Implementing SEO tactics isn’t the same across industries. Is the SEO agency experienced in marketing for window dealers and window installers? Do they have experience in relevant areas, like home remodeling and marketing for contractors? If yes, how have they adjusted and tailored their work for success in your industry? If not, how will they approach your industry?

You can review their experience and work with past clients by asking for case studies, customer testimonials, and results achieved for past clients. Do your homework to make sure that these are real clients and not fake businesses.

5. Which SEO tools do you use?

Contrary to what some believe, using SEO tools doesn’t automatically mean using black-hat tactics. Some SEO tools can be used appropriately for SEO best practices and for research. A qualified SEO professional knows which tools to use to complete the best research possible.

To test their approaches, ask them which SEO tools they use and how they use them. Are they using them for legitimate research or are they using them inappropriately? SEO agencies will typically use SEO tools for research on keywords, website crawlers, technical issues with your website, high-quality backlinks, rankings, and for gathering information on your competition.

6. What are the metrics they will use to track and measure results?

The main objectives and goals for SEO will differ from client to client. The best SEO agencies will ask you what is most important to you to determine where they will focus their efforts and their reporting. Once they have a solid understanding of what you want to accomplish, they can suggest key performance indicators (KPIs) like search rankings, conversions, search traffic, etc.

Most SEO professionals will give you a monthly report on KPIs and how they compare month-to-month and year-to-year.

Don’t forget, a professional SEO agency will itemize the services they’re providing for you on a monthly basis, including hours worked and number of tasks accomplished (such as number of pages created, landing pages published, articles posted, and backlinks acquired).

7. Describe the improvement you’ll make to our SEO if we hire you?

This question gets tricky because no SEO professional can promise exact results and it can take years to make big changes. However, this question will help you gauge the SEO professional’s authenticity. A reputable SEO agency will never make promises they can’t deliver on like a first position ranking (unless it’s for a keyword that’s extremely easy to target). Overpromising on results is a serious red flag to look out for.

8. How do they envision their SEO work fitting in with your marketing efforts?

SEO best practices go hand-in-hand with your digital marketing efforts. Before moving forward, you need to understand how their work will complement your other marketing efforts. Will they be working directly with your marketing team?

Many SEO professionals nowadays offer general online marketing services and projects in addition to SEO work, such as content creation, email marketing, social media management, and inbound marketing. They may ask you to consider their other services in addition to SEO work.

9. How do you charge your clients?

Most SEO agencies charge by project. Others work on a retainer, enter into a contract, or charge an hourly rate. Before committing to a contract, ask if there is a clause for backing out in case you aren’t happy with the arrangement.

10. What questions do they have for you?

The questions someone asks you can say a lot about them in any interview. Expect good SEO agencies to ask questions about your industry, your website, your goals, and issues and problems that you’ve been facing. A pro will ask you about the characteristics of your target market and your customers. They’ll want to know what your typical customer is interested in, their demographics, how they find you, etc.

Get All Your Questions Answered

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You want to hire an SEO agency that will get you reasonable results for your marketing budget. Look for professionals who are transparent, educated about current SEO best practices, and who have a clear plan for how to approach your website and how to report their activities to you. Ask these critical questions before hiring an SEO agency to protect your window business and get the best results for your money and time.

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