Top 5 questions to ask an SEO company

Posted on May 10, 2010

 

When you’re thinking of hiring the services of a search engine optimisation company you probably have a million and one questions running through your mind, but what are the most important questions you should ask, and what sort of answers should you expect back?

Here are five of the most important questions to ask an SEO company, together with some idea of what the answers should be from them – and of course, what they shouldn’t be!

How long will it take for me to see results?
Do I have to tie myself in to a long contract?
What exactly will you be doing to my website?
Are the services you offer ethical as far as Google is concerned?
Do you offer any guarantees?

So, let’s have a look at those questions and the sorts of answers you should be getting back.

How long will it take for me to see results?
When an SEO campaign starts you can actually see results within a few days, as Google updates its index constantly. However, you shouldn’t expect to see results this fast as it is very rare with a new SEO campaign. Depending on the competitive nature of your industry, the current standing of your website and what sorts of keywords you will be targeting, you could typically expect to see results within a few months. Sometimes it’s quicker, sometimes not.

Do I have to tie myself in to a long contract?
Some SEO companies insist that you sign a 12 month contract when they start work on your website. Often they even insist on part payment up front for this 12 month contract, so you could be spending upwards of several thousand pounds before your website is even looked at. When you don’t know whether an SEO company will provide the service that you want or not, you probably don’t want to commit to a lengthy SEO contract.

What exactly will you be doing to my website?
This is a very common, and understandable question asked by most people interested in SEO. Equally understandable is that most SEO companies won’t reveal exactly what they’ll do to your website. The way an SEO company performs search engine optimisation is their IP, but they should be able to give you a few indications of what they’ll do, and how it will impact upon your rankings.

Are the services you offer ethical as far as Google is concerned?
If you’ve researched search engine optimisation techniques you’ll know that some methods are considered ‘black hat’ and aren’t advised by Google. Not every SEO company uses only white hat techniques, which means that, while your website may get rankings, you could find your website penalised by the search engines, or even banned.

Do you offer any guarantees?
You would think that an SEO company that guarantees its results is the one you should be going for – but you’d be wrong. Unlike almost any other industry, in SEO a guarantee is something to be wary of. The reason for this is that you cannot, ever, guarantee that a technique will result in a website ranking higher in Google. Anyone who does guarantee results will have some sort of angle, an angle that won’t benefit your website at all. For example, guarantees of first page listings could be met by using Google Adwords for paid search – which isn’t SEO at all, but is often mistakenly sold as such by unethical SEO companies. It could also be achieved by winning a first page listing on a very long search term, one that will never be searched on – thus is equally useless for your website.

These five questions should be asked when you speak to any prospective SEO company about what they can do for you.

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