We’ve developed a checklist you can use when interviewing potential search marketing and optimization professionals.
References are great but check if your potential SEO firm or freelancer has some real results. Ask for some sites they’ve optimized and what the goals were for those clients.
It’s even better if they have it written down somewhere on the web. Check to see if they were really able to do what they claimed they did.
There are multiple schools of thought when it comes to SEO just like there are different approaches to medicine or legal representation.
Just because one person or company has an opinion about your site doesn’t mean that is the final word. Get an analysis or an opinion from a few professionals before you make a choice on who to go with.
What is the first thing an SEO firm is promising (either in their marketing or when they call to talk with you)?
Is their first focus on driving up traffic and rankings? Are they talking about this as if that is the goal of their activities in search?
Obviously this is the first part of the equation but lawyers also need the phone ringing or new business contacting them in some way. The businesses that are focusing on conversions are the ones to listen to.
I’ve seen companies that offer a one-time package for a set fee. Be leery of companies like this. SEO is a practice and it’s never really finished.
Depending on how much work a site needs, there may be more work on the front end but you should never stop marketing your site in search.
Communication is key in this line of work. Optimization of a site takes time and results are not instantaneous.
It’s hard to gauge how well a company will communicate when first interviewing them but you can always ask references this kind of question.
A company or individual should respond in an appropriate time frame to emails. They should be available to answer your questions and they should initiate reporting and other communication on how things are going.
Even legitimate and well-meaning SEOs are challenged with establishing and maintaining expectations.
It’s a dead give-away however if a company starts using the word guaranteed. Make sure you find a company that is realistic about what they are able to do for you.
Online advertising and marketing has provided an explosion of data for marketers and business owners. This is especially true for SEO and a company should be leveraging that information to make good marketing decisions.
Ask a potential candidate how they decide to make the decisions they make on behalf of their clients. Do they use analytics? Do they do testing? Do they analyze data at all?
This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker but many times it’s easier to work with a firm or individual who is local. For attorneys targeting local markets this is even more important. Like I said though it isn’t necessarily a must and there are a lot of great companies that serve people all over the country very well.
You obviously want someone that works well with you but what about lawyers who have someone in-house helping with marketing?
Or maybe there are just others at the firm that will need to be involved with SEO work. Make sure whomever you hire is able to work well and coordinate with many people on a project.
Perhaps most important of all is the vibe you get from the company/individual/freelancer you interview. Are they passionate about their work?
Most of the time the difference between a good job and hitting things out of the park is the passion coming from the person doing the work.
Google recently published the video below on how to hire an SEO. It’s the first comprehensive video from the search giant on what to look for in an SEO professional.
How have you evaluated SEO services? Is there anything we should add to our list? Join in the conversation by commenting below.