The scope of digital marketing is expanding every year. This year, it is expected that the average company will dedicate 41% of their marketing budget to the online platform and the percentage is predicted to grow by 4% by 2020.

Thus, it is a smart move to hire experienced SEO consultants to remain competitive and relevant in the digital realm. However, choosing a proficient SEO agency for your business is a daunting task, especially if you are not familiar with the technicalities.

On the one hand, a capable SEO team can transform your online presence and earn you a massive organic reach. On the other hand, poor SEO practices can cause your rankings to plummet, resulting in irreparable damage to your brand.

Moreover, if you have not been in-sync with the latest inbound marketing trends, you might be unable to differentiate the most competent agency from an imposter.

Therefore, to help you identify the agency that provides the highest quality of SEO services, here are six essential questions, you must put forward:

        1. What services will you offer and how?

Begin your interview session by asking the SEO agency to outline the services they intend to offer. Absolute transparency is highly recommended because unethical or insufficient SEO practices can affect your brand’s online presence drastically. Moreover, you can identify the incompetent SEO companies by their unwillingness to share everything in detail.

Ask them about how they intend to evolve the services over the course of time because the SEO practices are bound to change as the year progresses. Also, their SEO strategy should integrate with the overall marketing tactics, since SEO is an essential component of digital marketing. They should also perform all the tasks themselves instead of outsourcing.

Finally, it is imperative to understand that every business has its own SEO needs. A local brick-and-mortar store is looking to attract the surrounding customers while major corporations want to conquer the global digital market. Therefore, the strategies will be very different for every niche and business model. Your SEO consultants should be able to convince you that they are in accordance with your SEO requirements.

      2. What is your SEO strategy?

Numerous factors come into play that decides the rank of your website on the search engine result pages (SERPs). However, there are a few crucial variables that are most important than the others.

Make sure that the applying candidate is able to provide a detailed proposal that includes:

  • Link building: Backlinks are credible links that emerge from other websites and point towards specific pages on your site. The more links you earn, the higher is the ranking of the subsequent page. However, a poor SEO agency can get thousands of spammy links originating from unauthentic websites, which can prompt Google to penalize your site. This can be catastrophic! You must emphasize on quality over quantity when it comes to building links.

Therefore, inquire in detail about the link building process. How does the firm identify authoritative links? What kind of links will they build? How will they earn natural links?

  • Content optimization: Content is another significant piece of the puzzle. All the content on your website must be relevant to your general audience, answers the pain-points and solve their problems. Make sure that the SEO agency realizes the importance of content creation. Ask them about how they intend to produce quality content of sufficient length that is not duplicated or plagiarized. What is their approach towards inserting relevant keywords? How will they optimize the content?
  • Technical elements: The site should be appropriately coded, pages should be structured, the speed should be optimal, and there must be no broken links or errors. Also, they must improve your website by developing page titles, meta tags, and The SEO consultant should outline a plan to review your website on a routine basis to uncover any metrics that are affecting the search traffic.  

Andrey Lipattsev, Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, identified link building and high-quality content as the two most important signals used by Google to rank your site.

     3. How do you measure the success rate?

To begin, no SEO agency can guarantee a ranking on the first page. If they do, they are not very authentic or plan to use black-hat techniques, which will end up in a penalty. However, the potential consultants should be able to outline what they expect to achieve on a monthly basis regarding rankings, conversions and user traffic.

While effective SEO practices can take a while before you see results, an ideal timeframe is up to six months. The results also depend on the initial condition of your site. If it was structured well and did not have any technical issues, you can witness growth in your visibility and user traffic in a short period.

      4. Can you share the list of your previous and current clients?

The list of clients can help you in many ways. For starters, you can contact them to ask for references. If the other employers belong to the same industry as yours, this entails that the SEO agency understands your basic requirements and have a pre-existing network of resources within the niche. However, the other clients may be your competitors, so you have to tread carefully and weigh your other options. Moreover, it can also help you understand the competence level of the SEO agency because if they are good at their jobs, their client list must also be impressive. Previous case studies and testimonials also enable you to come to a more informed decision.

      5. How often will we communicate?

SEO consultants have their own criteria. Some conduct monthly meetings, while others will call you with the progress once a week. You can decide on the timeframe according to your requirements or come to a mutual conclusion.

The most crucial question is how responsive they are to your queries. If the agency takes a long time to reply, it can get cumbersome and annoying. You can end up in all kinds of troubles like earn a penalty from Google, suddenly lose your traffic or notice a massive drop in rankings. In such cases, you must be able to contact the SEO firms immediately.

If you are a local business, it is always advised to use the SEO agency within your area. Let’s say you are a construction business in Houston area, you should hire the SEO agency within Houston so that you can contact them when needed.

       6. What do they expect from you?

When you hire an SEO agency, you expect them to do all the work while you reap the rewards. However, you will have to invest some amount of time to the cause as well. Therefore, it is better to discuss this beforehand so you can allocate your time accordingly.

SEO is a complicated field with many variables. By asking in-depth, well-contemplated questions and evaluating the answers, you will be able to choose a capable agency that will deliver long-term results.