Finding the right SEO agency or consultant can bring you and your company great benefits. People are so careful when putting search engine optimization into their marketing budget. Because there are so many poor quality SEO providers who can accidentally damage your website online presence.

Keep in mind that there are many SEO options to choose from and you need to understand what you need in terms of your business marketing goals. See our blog post on How to Hire An SEO Expert and learn what you need to do before hiring SEO.

Other than that, here are 10 questions to ask when to hire an SEO consultant.

1. Who are your past clients?

A reputable SEO agency should be able to provide case studies or a list of current and past clients. This information would allow you to judge their performance and review the impact of their efforts. They need not share specific analytics but details about SEO campaigns, strategy, improvement in search ranking, the rate of conversions and results must be shared.

2. What is your SEO approach for my business?

SEO expert must discuss the methods they would be adopted to improve your website’s search engine ranking. Moreover, they should be able to estimate the time it would realistically take to achieve the goals you have established. Their proposal must NOT be vague and generic.

3. Do you follow the webmaster guidelines for search engines?

The agency you hire must adhere to webmaster practices posted by Google. These practices specifically forbid the usage of common SEO black-hat tricks that result in lower search results ranking or a Google ban from search results. The agency must confirm to follow webmaster guidelines appropriately for it to be a good hire for you. Read Protect Website Search Engine Rankings from Black Hat Spams for more detail.

4. Do you guarantee number one ranking on my website?

No agency, even if it has extensive experience can give you assurance for number one ranking. If the SEO agency you are considering to hire commits the same, they are either going to use unethical practices or are just fooling you. So beware!

5. Will you also look at improving ranking in local search results?

Brick-and-mortar businesses can benefit tremendously from local SEO techniques. This involves the inclusion of keywords and certain location-specific details in the title tags and meta descriptions of the website. The SEO consultant must know how to effectively optimize such practices so that nearby customers can easily find you through their search results.

6. What are the working procedures?

As part of search engine optimization efforts, consultants will have to modify the coding on your current website. The agency at all times MUST inform you of any such changes and also seek permission before they alter the tags or keywords on your website. This must be a part of their regular working process.

7. How is success measured? What are the KPIs?

The objective of SEO techniques is to improve the organic search traffic being sent to your website. This means that the agency must know how to use Google Analytics and must use ranking, website traffic, backlinks, keyword searches and competition as essentials KPIs.

8. How do you communicate with the client?

The communication process varies from agency to agency and consultant to consultant. You must inquire about the mode and frequency of communication and discuss the terms that you are suitable for.

9. What are the commercials and terms of payment?

You must know the price you are paying and whether the payment needs to be made by a retainer or by a project. This must be clarified initially to enjoy a healthy, long-term relationship. See How Much Should I Pay for SEO Services for more detail.

10. What are the termination clauses?

Ensure that this aspect has been covered in the agreement and the terms are mutually agreed upon by both parties. You should not be in for a surprise when the contract expires or you decide to terminate it earlier.