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SEO Industry Is BIG – Be Educated In Your Decision!

June 28th, 2012 by gtowsley Leave a reply »

As a plumbing company, SEO can deliver the greatest return on investment. Radio, local newspaper, TV, magazines, Pay-Per-Click, Social Media, Banner Advertising, etc. are all great marketing channels, although, when you stop paying for the ads you stop receiving the phone calls. SEO is a building process that establishes real estate for your plumbing business on the popular internet.

Unfortunately, because Plumbing SEO is a constantly evolving combination of art, science and math, there’s a lot of confusion about what “SEO work” actually entails. A lot of plumbing companies have had bad experiences. Education is paramount to combat these bad experiences.

 I thought it would be helpful to offer the most important questions that should be asked when hiring an SEO firm.

1. Can you explain how SEO works?
First, ask potential vendors to explain, in layman’s terms, how SEO basically works. If they cannot explain what “on-page SEO” and “link building” are and how they optimize a site, that’s a red flag. Ask, up front about their pricing structure as well. Is it retainer-based? Is there a contract to sign? (If so, is there a 30-day out?) Each company will probably have a different approach to their SEO work and their fee structure.

2. What methods does your firm use to get results?
Will they make changes to your existing web page coding or will they just be adding or revising meta tags? Will they be performing search engine optimization copywriting and editing to add relevant keywords to your visible page text? Will they be adding new pages, or possibly redesigning your navigation to make it more search engine friendly?

3. Can you provide a complimentary SEO evaluation of my internet presence?
Very important! Before hiring any SEO vendor, they should be able to provide you with a complimentary evaluation of your current web presence. A SWOT Analysis (which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) would be ideal.

4. Does your SEO firm or its principals have marketing experience background? 
Search engine optimization is art, science, and math. When done correctly, all of these aspects including an understanding of how to motivate people to buy will ensure success.

5. Who is going to do the work on a monthly basis?
Establish whether the SEO company is going to be working on your behalf, or if they are going to simply create a strategy and have your in-house developers roll it out. Some aspects such as link building may be handled on their end, while on-page optimization may need to be fulfilled in-house. Iron out the details of “who does what”.

6. Will you be adding additional pages to my website?
If a search engine optimization company answers “no” to this question but answers “yes” to the question above, it likely means that it will be employing what I call the “shoehorn” approach to optimization. This means that the firm will try to shoehorn key phrases into existing pages on your website, rather than expanding your website to include new content.

7. What reports will I get and how often?
Having an SEO company working on your behalf isn’t very valuable if you don’t have a consistent flow of reports to inform you of changes in phone calls, signups, traffic or rankings. Make sure they intend to provide ample documentation of what was done and how it affected your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

8. How will your overall Return On Investment (ROI) be measured?
At the end of the day, SEO is a performance based campaign which should be (easily can be) measured with tight metrics which impact a company’s top line or bottom line.

9. What is the history of your company?
Find out how long they have been in business and why they decided to go into the SEO industry.

10. Can you provide a list of references? 
This is the only way to truly get a read on how well a company performs and what kind of ROI you can expect is to talk directly to their previous and present clients. (If a client chose not to continue their SEO contract with that vendor, don’t be shy about asking why.) Part of your responsibility as a client is to vet potential SEO firms, so make sure you’re doing due diligence in each case.

Below is an interesting SEO Inforgraphic  on the size of the SEO industry.

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