While this article addresses hiring an SEO professional, the questions can easily be adapted for any online marketing position.
Recently, poor performing sites and “unnatural link” warnings from Google are on the top of my prospects minds when they contact me. Some tell me they’ve worked with past SEOs and are wary or know their business has been hurt by past actions. I ask for details so I can determine if expectations were too high, they outgrew each other or they hired someone unskilled or out-of-date in SEO (and if so, I want to learn what they did or didn’t do). Rarely, do I get questions about my experience or how I work unless I bring it up.
SEO has evolved with the ever-changing Internet, and is part of an overall marketing plan. SEO now involves customer engagement, customer experience, social media, video, images, great content as well as keywords, site architecture, navigation, code and building quality links. All web channels play a part, as does customer experience. Look at how often customer reviews appear in the search results and the Google Local carousel.
I started compiling a list of questions that businesses should ask prospective SEO consultants or agencies before hiring them for projects. The complete list of questions is in my article on Web Marketing Today, which they titled “18 Questions to Ask a Potential SEO Consultant.” Here is an excerpt. Note: Because the article was written for their publication, visit their site for the entire piece.
- How long have you been practicing SEO?
- SEO began in the mid 1990’s with a handful of people and grew steadily until the mid-2000’s, when it grew in popularity as a career. It is a separate skill from web design.
- What is your training?
- Most SEOs and search professionals gain their experience through practical application, attending conferences and reading industry news. College degrees and certifications offered by companies and organizations are a recent development and need to be looked at individually.
- How do you keep up with changing trends?
- They should speak about reading industry blogs and attending conferences.
- Note which ones they mention and do a quick search after they leave; you’ll know if they are a quality source.
- What, where and when was the last conference they attended? What sessions did they attend? Who were their favorite speakers and why? Ask them what articles or sessions interested them the most or if they were surprised by anything. What did they most recently find relevant, etc.?
- You’re goal is to find out if they are staying current in the search industry and if they actually attended the conferences.
- Learn what areas of search interest them most and then gauge that to your needs.
- Listen for their passion.
Questions you should ask about an SEOs approach and process.
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