5 Questions to Ask Your SEO Provider

November 21, 2013

Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.Anthony Robbins

You’re looking for an expert SEO company. There are hundreds of self-professed experts. How do you pick the right company to get more traffic and sales when you don’t want to waste money on something you know little about?

Everyone claims to be good at SEO when all they do is read some blogs and get back links. Dig deeper with the right questions and you discover how much air is in the head of most agencies.

I’ve delivered good SEO results to mostly Australian companies for over 5 years and am tired of hearing stories from prospects ripped off by bad SEO companies who decreased their client’s visitors.

Spend a few minutes asking the following 5 questions to reap the rewards of doing SEO right:

1) “Will you share with me all that you do?”

It’s common for SEO providers to hide exactly what they do to keep a mysterious aspect to their work. They do not share because they either do very little or engage in shady tactics (black hat SEO).

A company should track the pages where your links are built, pages they’ve edited, content written, videos created, and other completed tasks.

2) “How will you talk with me?”

Are you after weekly or monthly updates? Get on the same page with communication so your expectations are met. Clarify what reports you’d like.

3) “Do you do black, gray, or white hate SEO?”

Black hat SEO is a violation of Google guidelines. It often involves spammy tactics like link farms where many low quality websites link to your site. Avoid black hat SEO if you want to sleep at night knowing your business online is safe. Not many agencies all in this bucket, but I’ve seen a few large ones do black hat.

Gray hat SEO describes ill-defined strategies in the eyes of Google. It’s slightly risky because of its unclear nature. 500 Google algorithm updates a year can bite gray hat tactics. Not many will tell you they do gray hat and instead label it has white hat.

White hat SEO is seen as pure. It involves a lot of high-quality content creation, community management, and marketing strategy. Expect to pay four figures a month for this type of SEO.

All tactics can work. Just know what type of SEO you’re getting and these risks.

4) “What’s your best link building method?”

Answers to be careful for include directory submissions, forums, and article directories. These are okay to do, but if that’s their best link building method, they’re living in 2008.

There are wrong methods, but no one best method. Look for ethical methods that make sense to you. These are generally the best ways to attract links to boost your rankings.

5) “How do I recover from the penguin update?”

Not a specific question; more so a tactic and one of my favorite recommendations. Call an SEO provider, speak with the person who would provide the service (make sure it’s this person), then ask technical SEO questions like:

  • “What’s the difference between 301 and 302 redirects?”
  • “How would you handle on-page SEO for a multi-lingual site?”
  • “What influence does meta descriptions have on rankings?”

Know the answer beforehand so you can judge their response.¬†Listen for uncertainty. Many call themselves SEO experts but cannot answer these questions. They’ll give you some excuse then can get back to you once they do online research.

You speak with the actual person who manages, or will manage, your account because any sales person will palm you off.

I’m happy to answer any questions you have about SEO and Shopify. Just get in contact.

About Joshua Uebergang

Joshua Uebergang is founder and Head of Strategy at Digital Darts. He helps Shopify stores get more of the right visitors and convert them into sales. At 6'9", yes, he plays basketball. Get extra tips and tricks from him to build your ecommerce store by entering your email below.

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