SEO is complex.
Finding a trusted SEO is intimidating.
But if you are ready for your business to grow– grow beyond word of mouth and referrals– you must reach the billions of users who Google everyday.
Being found by Google search allows you to cast a wider net and reach a larger audience. It is one of the best moves you can make for the long-term success of your business.
Being found can take a significant amount of technical prowess and should be done by someone who focuses on SEO.
There are a lot of people and agencies who claim to be SEO experts.
How do you sort through the jack-of-all trades who claim to be experts in all things marketing, development and design?
Through the 9+ years that Clapping Dog Media has focused on SEO strategy and implementation, we have been asked a lot of excellent questions. Here are our top 9 questions to ask any SEO that you are thinking of hiring.
(Of course the easy button is to go right over here and set up a consultation with us.)
1. How do you keep up with SEO changes?
According to Search Engine Land, Google updates the algorithm 500-600 times a year.
Google makes tweaks to the algo several times a day and conducts large, sweeping core updates 3-4 times a year.
Working with an SEO team who keeps up Google is essential to the long term success of any SEO strategy.
At Clapping Dog Media, we keep a pulse on Google by following and interacting with a number of people including Marie Haynes, Lily Ray, Search Engine Roundtable, and we follow Google themselves for updates.
2. What will you do to improve my rankings?
To get results you need a custom strategy.
All SEO work should begin with a thorough technical and content audit. Next the SEO should target keywords, plan new content and find opportunities to improve existing content.
An SEO Specialist should be able to provide you with a general outline to improve rankings, and then a more detailed plan once they gets to know your current SEO status and business goals.
If they don’t make it crystal clear how she’ll be able to improve your rankings, or if it’s of the ‘wait and see’ variety, then it’s on to the next interview!
A basic SEO Improvement Plan Includes:
- An SEO Audit to understand your current status
- Deep research to curate the best keywords for your business
- A plan for fresh and updated content including your new curated keywords
- A detailed strategy for building links
- A Social Media and Editorial Calendar strategy to maintain and grow SEO status
3. Will the SEO openly share what work they do or do they want for you to trust that the work is getting done.
You’ll know a good SEO consultant by how she reports what they are doing.
If a consultant can’t, or worse, won’t, give you information about what she did to improve your site, they are probably not trustworthy.
A good SEO specialist will take the time to explain SEO as it relates to your situation. While they won’t teach you everything there is to know about SEO (got a spare year?), you should get a good understanding of how your consultant improved your sites’ SEO performance. You’ll learn how SEO will affect your bottom line, ideally through consistent reports (bonus points if the reports are concise and easy-to-read).
A few things you should get in a report from your SEO expert:
- Metrics that Matter
- Target keywords and their current and past rankings
- Content Audit, as it relates to SEO, including ‘under the hood’ elements like headlines, meta descriptions and alt tags)
- A list of the most searched pages
- Organic traffic report
- Strategies to continue improving
4. How will you know the SEO Improvements are actually working?
What’s the point of all this SEO work anyways?
You may be showing up higher in the search results, but so what? An SEO specialist will be able to track your success using a few key metrics that ultimately affect your bottom line.
Key metrics that show true SEO progress:
(These will be a direct result of SEO work on your site)
- Increase in organic site traffic
- Increase in keyword rankings
- Increase in conversions
- More sales
- Larger brand awareness
5. How long will it take to see results?
If someone tells you they can get you immediate results, or that they have a ‘secret’ method of getting you SEO gains, then beware: they’re selling a digital version of snake oil.
SEO is complicated, but it isn’t secret, and getting good results is a combination of know-how and hard work.
It also takes TIME. Imagine if you went to a personal trainer at the gym and they told you that you could get a 6-Pack by next week. You’d be quite skeptical, right?
If your site is brand new and/or has never been optimized before, you’ll start to see significant improvements( + or – a 20% increase in organic traffic) in 3-6 months (about the time you’ll see that 6-Pack emerge 😉 ).
Not having good SEO on your team is like not taking your car out of second gear, it is a necessity. So be encouraged, ask these questions and find an authentic team that is excited about your business and passionate about SEO.
And one final tip, SEO is a long term strategy, so be sure that whomever you choose to work with is authentic and kind and even someone you would like to get tacos with. 🌮