The question of what questions to ask your SEO provider is a pertinent one. After all, you’re probably going to be ploughing a significant proportion of your firm’s marketing budget into your relationship with such an agency.

If your chosen SEO provider doesn’t deliver your company the search engine rankings and – consequently – traffic, sales and revenue that it needs, you could end up wasting a monumental amount of money.

So, here are some of the most important questions that we suggest you ask any SEO company before you start any campaigns with them.

How long will it take to achieve high rankings?

It doesn’t matter whether you want to achieve top 10 rankings, top 20 rankings, or any other rankings – the fact of the matter is that no SEO agency can guarantee that your company will achieve any particular organic search results.

Even the best SEO provider can’t predict or control Google’s latest algorithm changes, or all manner of other factors – such as the level of competition you will face for rankings for particular keyword searches.

So, this is a trick question. Any SEO company that tells you it will get your site ranking at a certain level, within a certain timeframe, is talking utter nonsense.

Yes, SEO experts can formulate and implement a brilliantly tailored campaign for your company. However, no definite answer can be given to the question of how long it will take for your firm to achieve specific rankings. That’s something your chosen SEO company needs to be honest about.

What will the link building strategy be?

External inbound backlinks play a crucial role in determining your site’s rankings. The greater the number of high-quality backlinks pointed to your site, the better the SEO results that you can expect. You should therefore be asking your SEO agency how it will approach link building.

As we mentioned above, quality is vital – so you should ask what kind of links the company will be building for your site, and how. You might also ask how many links you can expect per month. However, you should be careful with this last question; again, no absolute guarantees can be given.

The SEO specialists that you pick should also know about the latest Google algorithmic updates, and what makes a backlink high in quality. You might also ask to see your site’s backlink profile once your SEO company has started to build some links, so that you can be sure these links are legitimate.

How will you approach onsite optimisation?

While offsite optimisation – such as link building – is crucial to getting your site’s SEO right, changes to your site itself can also make a big difference by enhancing its search-engine friendliness.

This type of SEO is all about adjusting certain elements of your site so that it is easier for search engine spiders to crawl it, and therefore to understand your site’s content and structure. However, onsite optimisation can also matter to human users. A site that is difficult to navigate deters many people from staying on its pages for very long, which can also harm its search engine rankings.

So, you need to ask your SEO provider how it will improve the pages of your site. ‘Content is king’ remains an especially appropriate, albeit perhaps over-familiar motto. You should therefore ask the SEO company how it will improve your onsite content.

Will your existing copy be tweaked? Will new content be devised? Will new landing pages be created? What is the SEO agency’s all-round strategy for onsite optimisation?

What keyword research will you be doing?

Whatever SEO provider you choose should be doing keyword research, not least because the levels of competition for different relevant keywords can greatly vary. That may be the case even between superficially very similar terms, such as ‘estate agents in Leeds’ and ‘estate agency in Leeds’.

When your SEO company undertakes such research and is able to pick out the best keyword variations, your site will stand a much better chance of vaulting up the rankings.

What will your approach to blogging be?

There’s a tendency for a lot of companies to blog simply because they’ve been told it’s good for boosting their search engine rankings. That’s fine, but you need to ask yourself what role your blog will play in actually improving your business’s SEO.

Will your blog posts, for example, mainly serve to answer the questions most frequently asked by your target audience – thereby helping to make your brand more of a respected ‘authority’ online? Or will they be geared mostly towards attracting especially high volumes of relevant traffic?

You shouldn’t blog just for the sake of it – and nor should your SEO company. There are a lot of potential questions to ask your SEO provider – the above are just a starting point, albeit one that will go a long way to determining whether a given SEO company is right for you. Contact the Jumping Spider Media team today, and you can learn more about our own credentials and what we could do for your brand’s online presence.