If your business is looking to change its Search Engine Optimisation provider (SEO) in the coming months; HitSearch have provided a a list of five questions you need to ask before you put pen to paper and sign the deal.
(1) How have you established your monthly cost?
Be sure to get a detailed explanation of the monthly fee, how is worked out? What does it include and what does it exclude? Are there any additional charges? If so, then what for? Be clear about what you are getting for your money.
(2) What is your account management structure?
Make sure that you know how you account is going to be handled and by who. It is always important to establish who is going to be working on your site and how it is going to be managed. There is nothing worse than having a faceless contact at the end of a phone. You should establish a good working relationship as the account manager can have a dramatic effect on your online sales.
(3) How many accounts does each account manager deal with?
It is crucial to establish how much time is being allocated to your account each month, as a major factor in an SEO campaign is - TIME SPENT WORKING ON THE SITE. If you are one of 30 or 40 accounts allocated to your account manager as with some organisations, then you can quickly establish that with an average of a 40 hrs working week you may only receive around 1 hrs work per week.
(4) What is the reporting structure?
"If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it" is a well establish business mantra, never truer than is SEO. It is vital to establish key targets, milestones and goals for you campaigns and to agree a method and frequency of report delivery. Many companies offer an "online dashboard"; approach to reports or send out endless reams of data with little or no explanation. You need to be 100% clear that you are receiving relevant information on a regular basis, delivered to you in a clear and concise manner that will add value to your business.
(5) Do they guarantee keyword placement on the search engines?
If the answer is YES... BUYER BEWARE. There is not a professional SEO provide anywhere who will make this offer, why? Because it can not be done. We can all point to past performance and indicate possible future success, but to guarantee a keyword placement on page one... Be warned.
What An Independent Opinion?
Google has provided a helpful SEO starter guide to assist companies when they decide to hire an SEO company. Its worth a read and can be found here.