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Seven Questions for Your Potential SEO Firm

Jun 12, 2008
SEO is a confusing service to purchase. If you talk to different search engine optimization companies, you will hear a lot of the same things, yet when it comes to money, prices will be all over the place. You'll likely receive quotes ranging from $100 per month to over $5 thousand per month. So how do you know who to go with?

Here is a list of seven questions that will help you make the determination. Ask these questions to any SEO firm you are considering hiring and you will have a much better idea of the firm's qualifications as well as what you are really paying for.

1. How many hours per month will you be devoting to promoting my site? When it comes down to it, someone has to get paid for doing the work of optimizing a web site. If you have received a quote that is very low, it may be because you're really not getting very much time for your money. Likewise, if your quote is very high, you want to make sure you're not paying an exorbitant hourly rate.

2. Who will actually be doing the work? A low price quote may be a signal that work on your site will be farmed to offshore contractors. This can be okay to an extent, but you want to make sure that there is an American overseeing the project and that all work is heavily scrutinized.

3. What is your hourly rate? A search engine marketer is a professional just like a lawyer, CPA, or even a plumber. All of these professions charge a reasonably high rate on an hourly basis. If a firm's rate is too low, is it a real business or some guy doing it from his house on the side? You should know this.

4. Can you give some examples of rankings earned for clients? This one is obvious. An SEO firm that has some history with its clients should be able to show some evidence that its work has resulted in higher search engine rankings for its clients.

5. What are your methods? Here is where it helps to have done some homework and know a thing or two about search engine optimization. If a firm starts telling you about the work they do on meta tags, leave! Meta tags have little to do with a site's search engine rankings, yet some companies still do meta tags and call it SEO. You want to hear that the company uses a number of different techniques, including code and content optimization and linking, to raise your rankings.

6. How do you decide on keywords? This is important. If the SEO firm asks what keywords you want to rank for without offering any guidance or providing a means to discover strong keywords for optimization, then you may not be dealing with professionals. SEO is a targeted activity that should focus on specific keywords that will generate traffic for the client. Beware of the SEO firm that guarantees a top ranking in a week or less. It's probably going to be a ranking for a keyword that no one will ever use to find your web site.

7. Do you have referrals? Even if you never follow up with the referrals, you'd like to see that the firm is confident enough to provide them.

So there you have it. Ask these seven questions and you will have a much better understanding of what any particular SEO firm offers and what the true cost is.
About the Author
Jerry Work is president of Work Media, LLC, http://workmedia.net, an SEO and ppc management firm based in Nashville.
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