Questions to ask your potential internet marketer
Below are seven questions to consider when you are looking to employ an SEO or Internet Marketer. There is a lot more to say on this topic so please feel free to get in touch with us for a chat.
When will I be at position one in Google?
A bit of a trick question this one as no one can guarantee you a set position by a guaranteed time and if someone is promising you this then please, get those alarm bells ringing! We often get called with companies claiming to have a "special relationship with Google" and guaranteeing results, this is wrong. You cannot guarantee somethign that a third party (Google) has control over... you can, however, forecast a timeline for goood results in Google, ask us how!
If an SEO company guarantees results then be aware and perhaps findanother company who are more realistic and won't give false promises simply to gain the business initially.
What keywords will you be targetting?
On your first meeting with your SEO you will probably not set keywords and phrases in stone as time is required to research your market and competitors but with this question you are looking to see what type of keyword of phrase is being targetted rather than an immediate list of definite keywords.
The keywords and phrases have to be relevant and be likely to provide footfall to your site as opposed to a really long-winded but easy to get search (such as 'Dog Accessories' rather than 'Dog booties in pink and yellow with a bow').
For example, recently we were contacted by a company who were told by their SEO company that they were at position one on Google. I asked what keywords this was for and the customer couldn't tell us. After a lot of digging and searching I discovered they were indeed on 'page one' (not 'position 1') BUT it was for a completely irrelevant search term and it was in the paid results.
Withough giving away the name or industry of the client, here is a made up example to highlight how irrelevant it was: It was like they were being found under something like 'SECC events' when they were running a restaurant in Kilsyth! Yes, they were up there but no one looking for SECC events would really have been really looking for a restaurant in Kilsyth!
How will I see progress?
How you see progress will be apparent on several levels:
Firstly, if you are monitoring the search engine ranking positions (SERPS) yourself you should begin to see your site rising in the results.
Secondly, you will hopefully start to see more sales and conversions through the site and if you are gathering the right data from clients then there should be a rise in the number who quote 'Search Engines' as the way they heard about the website.
Lastly (and the point you are looking for your SEO to say) is that they will provide reports to you to keep you informed of rises and indeed falls in the SERPS. We personally provide monthly reports from the customer's Google Analytics (owned the customer, not us) account where we can highlight many p[erformance statistics like traffic, conversions, failed conversions, geographic location of user etc. The reason reports are not more frequently is because of the time it can take for changes to come into effect, by leaving a month between each report we are giving time for the dust to settle on each change to give more reliable statistics month-on-month. The customer can obviously access their Google Analytics account as often as they like, of course.
Can I see progress or a case study?
We have several clients who are more than happy to talk to our potential clients about their experiences of both working with us and SEO in general. We would never show telling results or hard and fast sales figures specific to a client, as that's confidential, but we are happy to have you talk to clients that have given us prior permission to hand out their names. We also have some statistics of previous successes that we can show without breaching any confidentiality.
Ask your SEO company if they have anyone who would be happy to vouch for their work or if they can demonstrate a rise in SERPS for a client that they would be willing to share.
Is SEO worth paying for?
Well, of course we are going to say 'Ye's to this question but rather than leave it at that let us tell you why.
Yes, it is possible for someone to learn the basics and promote their own siteto a certain extent but where we come in is our expertise in a range of markets and saving you time. We have the time to devote to social media, link building, article writing etc that can otherwise eat into time when you could be out 'conducting your business' rather than spending your time promoting it online. Also, because we are in the field with a similar network of contacts we are able to keep ourselves trained on new hints, tips and tricks and are able to react to these immediately if necessary.
Do you employ purely ethical SEO tactics?
You do not want your hard work punished by the search engines because of something dodgy that has been done to your website. SERPS will go up and down but the down should never be due to a forbidden tactic that your SEO has employed.
For example, having white text on a white background, spamming, hidden text or making 'doorway pages' etc.
Actually, on that note you could also ask if they have ever had a clients website 'punished', and if so why and what they did to manage it.
Will I need to change my website's content? Who will be making these changes?
It is highly likely that your SEO will need access to your website to either alter content, add new pages, sort Meta titles etc.
They may even need FTP access if they cannot change everything they need from a content management area.
If your SEO says they do not need access in any form then you have either already got a pretty amazing website or they are not taking the job seriously, in our opinion. The content of a website is very important, so more often than not your SEO will be looking to perfect it for search engines, but by all means, retain full editorial on what the have changed... it's your business after all!