If you feel uncertain or even flat-out confused about what your SEO management company is doing to generate qualified leads for your business, it's time to get some clarity on the subject. Here are four important, revealing questions to ask your current (or prospective) SEO management company.
1. "Do You Promise Top Rankings Right Away?"
There are tons of SEO firms out there making promises they can't really keep. If your SEO management company answers this question along the lines of, "We can get you to the top of the Google search results page in a week," then it's time to find a different provider. Any firm that makes such claims are either lying to grab your business or using unscrupulous "black hat" tactics to generate short-term results (which inevitably backfire once Google catches them in the act and blacklists the site).
The only truthful answer is, "We can't guarantee a number-one ranking, and the results we do produce will take time." This may sound disappointing, but it means that your company focuses on bringing up the search ranks the right way - through careful strategizing, keyword mapping, content creation, and reputation building, with no underhanded quick fixes. However, they should be able to give you a ballpark estimate of how long it will take to see significant results.
2. "What Do You Measure (and What Does It Tell Me)?"
Of course, actually seeing those significant results is only possible when the proper analytics are in play. Raw numbers tell you surprisingly little, so make sure your SEO management company goes beyond simple reporting of bounce rates, incoming traffic, and search rankings for various keywords. Ask your company how it measures audience engagement, from how much time was spent on which page to where you may be losing visitors before you can convert them into buyers. If all that traffic doesn't generate leads, why bother corralling it in the first place?
A good SEM management firm can deliver some surprisingly helpful and specific reports - not just your best-performing keywords, for instance, but also your worst-performing keywords. The more data you have on how well or poorly your tactics have paid off, the better your can refine them to boost your SEO ROI.
Are you getting meaningful numbers from your SEO company?
3. "What Can I Do to Improve My Website?"
A forward-thinking SEO management company isn't solely concerned with increasing leads and traffic to your website as it currently stands; it also makes recommendations on ways you can enhance your website to make it more relevant and attractive to your specific target audience. Ask for suggestions for everything from redesigning your site map for smoother navigation to creating more compelling content for your landing pages. If you're with the right company, you'll get those suggestions and more.
Ask whether your website could use some changes for the better.
Of course it isn't enough merely to know what needs to be changed on your website - you must also have a clear idea of how it's going to happen. Ask your SEO management company to sit down with you and create timelines, milestones, and creative meetings to facilitate this optimization process.
4. "Which Jobs are Kept in House and Which Are Outsourced?"
While some SEO mega-firms might actually do everything in house, many more of them are likely to outsource at least a few of their everyday tasks, so don't be alarmed if your SEO management company does the same. In fact, it could be interpreted as a good sign, because it means that the company is so busy and so popular that it needs to expand its capacity to meet demand. But accept this answer with a couple of caveats:
- You really do need to know who's managing your account, which means that those individuals should be part of the permanent team. Make sure you're getting a long-term relationship, not a game of musical chairs.
- You have the right to know which outsourced contractors are developing your content, link building and other critical tasks. At the very least, demand evidence that they deliver high-quality work.
Ask the right questions (and insist on the right answers), and you're more likely to wind up with the right SEO management company. It's all part of the ongoing quest to make your website as effective as possible. To learn more on how to drive traffic to your website and convert that traffic into new potential buyers download our ebook "6 Strategies to increase web traffic and conversion"