How to hire SEO agency: Is there any checklist for that?

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  • SEO
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Hey guys, my company currently tasked me with looking for a few SEO specialists to help us out with a few projects. Before embarking on this search I want to make sure we hire someone who truly knows what they are doing and is able to provide feedback and support to help achieve results.

Are there any questions I should be asking which can help me filter through applications or any red flags I should be looking out for (ex: promising first page, or quick results, etc)
#agency #checklist #hire #seo
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  • Profile picture of the author expmrb
    Check for their previous works.
    SEO Motionz Forum - A Digital Marketing Forum
    Forum Management & Promotion, SEO Tips, Money Making tips etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author Daijon Moss
    I actually work as a Search Engine Strategist (so, SEO & PPC) and it's no easy task finding an agency that you can trust. Identifying an SEO company to contract your SEO work can be difficult.

    • The first thing you should listen to is whether or not the agency or person is promising you #1. No one can promise that. If you hear someone say that, they're probably going to use some black hat method that will end up getting your website penalized.

    • Next, listen to how they explain everything. If you start getting lost in the conversation you ask for just confuses you more - chances are they are just using buzzwords to get you to stop asking questions and start believing that they actually know what they are doing.

    • Ask if they will give you a log of what has been completed. The last thing you want is to pay someone a boatload of money and not know what they've been doing. A good agency will give you a log of what they did and what they intend to do in the following weeks.

    • If they can't provide any samples of work or just tell you what they think will work for your website - chances are they have little to no experience.

    • & most importantly, how do they intend to show you results? Will they be providing a daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly report? What will that report details?

    I know it's a bit of a read, but I hope this helps!
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    • Profile picture of the author tomopalinski
      Those are very good guidelines that will definitely narrow down the number of contestants.

      I would like to add one thing to it. Once you narrow down your choices to several experts, make sure that there is a proper chemistry between you and the marketing agency.

      There are a lot of SEO specialists that know what they are doing and they have plenty of examples to show for it. However, I believe having practical skills is not enough to create a strong partnership.

      SEO Agency needs to be able to see your vision and flow with it. It is important to focus on any disagreements or tensions that arise during the introduction phase and consider whether they will reoccur in the future.

      Good luck with the search.

      Good SEO work only gets better over time. It is only search engine tricks that need to keep changing when the ranking algorithms change. -- Jill Whalen

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  • Profile picture of the author Coleen Stewart
    Hello Venkatesh,

    It doesn't matter what kind of industry you are in. It doesn't matter whether you have a small, medium or large business. In this very dynamic and diverse marketing world, somehow you need SEO to help you promote your business online.

    But hiring an SEO expert to help you boost your business, it not an easy-peasy job. You need to carefully choose the right SEO consultant which can cater your needs. So to help you, we have compiled and created a checklist to help you hire the right SEO expert to help you optimize your website.

    #1. More Than 5 Years Of SEO Experience
    Perhaps one of the biggest shake up in the SEO industry happened way back 2012. The first Penguin roll out happened that year which targeted SEO companies doing blackhat techniques such as keyword stuffing, spamming and other inappropriate link building. Thereafter comes back-to-back algorithm updates which strengthen the accuracy and credibility of SERP.

    Before you hire an SEO consultant, take a look at his experience. Did he survive these algorithm updates? How did he go through in order to surpass the challenges?

    Anyone can call themselves an expert but do they have the years of experience to back them up. SEO is more than just setting up an agency and it's done. It's about surviving the storms and gaining experience. This experience can help SEO experts survive other more complicated updates which no doubt would happen sooner or later. So before you hire and so-called expert make sure, you have cross this out on your list.

    #2. Worked And Provided Results To Several Clients
    For an SEO specialist, it is easy to talk about what we can do for your website. But it's a totally different story when you ask us about "what have we done to make our clients happy?"

    A good and skillful SEO specialist can present you with portfolios and sample works. He can provide you with a proven track record which he has earned over the years. While you can't expect a perfect ten in all of his works, he must be able to present you with a decent number of successful works and happy clients opposite to the overall number of clients he has handled.

    Moreover, don't trust everything your prospect SEO expert say, you also need to check on current references like reviews and testimonials to know what other clients has to say about him.

    #3. Advanced Level Of SEO Understanding
    Search engine optimization has a large scope. It is not just about getting your websites rank higher or getting a boost in your traffic. It is also about boosting your business conversion through a total package SEO campaign.

    What does it mean when we say total package SEO? Your search engine optimization expert should have a wide understanding of the three important elements of search engine optimization. These are

    Technical Areas.
    Choose an SEO expert that has knowledge on the technical issues needed to be fixed in your website. This mainly involves that structure of your website. An experience search engine optimization consultant knows how to configure the website structure so it is easy for search engines to crawl and index the content of your website.

    On-Page Optimization.
    This may include SEO measures directly done within the website like html and meta tagging, smart ways of internal linking and providing quality content which will make your website SEO-friendly.

    Off-Site Optimization.
    This involves external practices such as link-building to optimize the website.

    Before you choose your SEO consultant, make sure he or she knows how to leverage these three fundamental elements of SEO which can boost your website performance.

    #4. They Provide You With Clear Expectations
    Clearly, hiring an expert and experience SEO provider is not an assurance that you can have a successful campaign. It's hard to tell whether the SEO plan will be successful just by the looks of it. But somehow, they should be able to explain to you what you should expect when the campaign runs.

    If you have already relayed to them your objectives and your needs, your prospect SEO expert should lay down on the table what he will do to meet the objectives. If your prospect tells you, "I can give you an increased traffic 6 months from now." -- it is not enough. In SEO, metrics are important. He should be able to give you a perspective. Something like, "During this campaign, your traffic/sessions should increase by 10-15% month-over-month".

    Setting up clear expectations will help you determine the success of the campaign later on. An experienced SEO specialist knows that more than just results, he should be able to provide you with measurable insights to determine SEO success.

    #5. Adheres In Google Guidelines And Best Practices
    Knowledge is important but no matter how skillful an SEO specialist is if he doesn't follow Google guidelines, your website will likely go downward spiral. SEO experts have no control of what will be the next big move by search engine giants like Google but they should be proactive enough to anticipate change, adapt to it and develop strategies that adhere with the guidelines.

    Be wary of so-called SEO experts who will give you assurance of fast and easy traffic. These are the kind of people who are likely to get involved in blackhat SEO and they might be preying your just for money. You'll more likely just end up getting penalized.

    Stick to an SEO expert who can provide you with long-term results using the best practices that adheres in Google guidelines.

    #6. Consistency In Communications and Providing Comprehensive Reports
    Before you hire an SEO expert, you have to be knowledgeable on how consistent is he or she in sending out reports and progress of the campaign. A good search engine optimization specialist will send you reports regularly.

    Don't fall for an SEO specialist who will send you updates regarding your website performance only when you ask for it. Whether the campaign is working or not, a good SEO consultant will send you reports and will make you understand how the campaign resulted to those metrics.

    Excellent communication skills are crucial in choosing you SEO provider. Your SEO specialist should clearly communicate with you on the progress of the SEO campaign. So if the SEO consultant cannot assure you with a regular reporting and clear communication, try to look at your other options.

    #7. Knowledgeable and Accountable In Making Changes To Your Website
    When hiring an SEO Expert, the first thing you need to do is to entrust your website to your consultant. It is the responsibility of an SEO consultant to configure, manipulate or change some SEO issues in your website. That is why you need to hire someone that is not only knowledgeable but also is accountable in making changes to your website.

    As a part of changing some elements in your website, you can't avoid some downtime or your website getting slower. During this situation, you have to make sure that you hired an expert who knows how to redeem or improve your website performance taking necessary website changes.

    Any changes in your website could make or break your website so make sure your SEO consultant is accountable for every actions he makes in your website.

    Lastly, hiring an SEO Expert to promote your business is an investment. As website or business owner, you need to mitigate the risks by choosing the right person to give you quality service. So try to look over the list above and check if your prospect SEO Expert can provide you with the things needed to boost your website.
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