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Questions to evaluate a proper SEO Company

Posted by Paris Paraskeva | Posted in seo | Posted on 11-06-2010

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seo_guaranteedSearch engine optimization is an industry that is very ubiquitous. One way to deal with SEO is to just stay away and make room for others!. Another way to deal with it is to ask questions that will make a fake SEO run.

We do run a company dealing with search engine optimization  in Cyprus and unfortunately most companies might go for a scammer instead of a proper company simply because they don’t know how to judge a proper SEO company.

These questions will help you tell if you are dealing with a proper SEO company or a scammer which only want your money.

  1. What metrics do you use to measure success?
    If they say “PageRank”, they’re clueless. If they say “keyword rankings”, and they’re cheap, go for it. If they say “organic search traffic and conversions”, go on to question 2. They’re probably a keeper.
  2. What will you do to optimize my site?
    If the answer is “We have a secret technique that’s guaranteed to work!”, they’re up to no good. If the answer is “Optimize your meta tags”, they have no clue. If the answer is “It’s really complicated…” and then a detailed description filed with terms like “semantic” and “page clusters”, you’re probably in good shape. Go on to question 3.
  3. How do you stay current regarding SEO?
    “I talk to Google” means they’re good for comic relief but little else. “I read a lot of blogs, including…” is satisfactory. “I have a set of test sites” would make me weep with joy.
  4. Do you guarantee results?
    “Yes” = liar, liar, Show them the door.
    “No, it’s just not possible but look at the other sites I have done excellent with!” = an honest person. Keep going.
  5. How do you choose keywords?
    Google Adwords Keywords Tool” may seem OK but it’s not. “We use a bunch of different tools”, even if they include the Google Adwords Keywords Tool  is just fine. The important part is that they use more than one source.
  6. How fast will I get results?
    “Oh, really fast” means they’re a recent graduate of the Donald Rummesfeld Academy of Campaign Planning: You may see early success, but prepare for quagmire city. “It varies, but figure 1-6 months depending on the industry” is satisfactory. “I’ll have to look at your site and competitors” is an excellent answer. Hug them for me.
  7. How do you build links?
    “I submit you to 40,000 search engines and directories” = send them back to 1999 to look for their wallet. Almost anything else is probably OK, as long as it doesn’t include sending spam e-mails to 5,000 people looking for links. They likely won’t admit to anything worse anyway.
  8. Have you ever done SEO for a business just like mine?
    If they answer “Sorry but that’s a hopelessly irritating question. I’ve never done SEO for an online hedgehog seller, no,” give them points for brains. If they answer “Why YES, just last week!” question their sanity. Even better – just don’t ask this question at all. Thanks!
  9. Do you have partnerships with major search engines?
    If they answer “Yes”, make sure they’re not calling you from prison: They’re a total fraud. Any credible SEO will make a sound like they just choked on a lemon and explain that no one has a partnership with a major search engine.
  10. How often will you report to me regarding results?
    What will I get in those reports? If they say something like “We’ll send you a list of rankings once a month,” save your $99.95 a month and buy yourself basic cable, instead. You’ll learn more. You want to hear something like “We’ll send you organic traffic data and explain the results in a weekly or monthly call”.
  11. Bonus: How will you work with me regarding site changes?
    If you hire the guy who says “We don’t make any site changes,” buy a very large bottle of Tums. Instead, look for someone who says something like “Depends – do you have your own development team, or would you rather we make the changes? Either way, we’ll review them with you, first.”

The truth is that hiring a competent SEO is your responsibility. Knowing how to sniff out the frauds is, too. You own your business, or run your marketing department. So learn how to tell smarts from schmalz. These questions are a good start.