Maximize your visibility online
Maximize your visibility and reach new customers. Get your business featured on established websites. Increase your search engine rankings with relevant backlinks. Boost trust and deliver long-lasting benefits that help you beat the competition.
Questions to Ask When Hiring an SEO Agency
What metrics do you use to measure organic SEO success?
It is important that the key point indicators (KPIs) that the agency uses to measure success align with your business goals. The methodology is important too. Is the agency using proprietary reporting software, or a tool that you control? Google warns you to beware of SEO agencies that guarantee you rankings (see more on Google’s guidelines
So if it’s not specific keyword rankings, what is a good KPI for SEO campaigns? At SmartSites, we use your Google Analytics to measure Organic Search Traffic. We look at Visits, as well as Conversions from Organic Search.
Other popular KPIs include:
- Sales for Ecommerce SEO
- Calls for Local SEO
- CRM Reporting for National SEO
Organic SEO vs. Paid SEO: What do you recommend for my business?
Organic SEO is the practice of ranking in Google’s natural search rankings. This is done through writing good content, building relevant links, and having an awesome website. Paid SEO, also known as Paid Search or Google PPC, involves paying Google for every click. You don’t need good content or a great website (although it helps) – you just need to pay Google. Organic SEO takes time to build up, but in turn the benefits last. In contrast, PPC is instant, but its benefits disappear as soon as you stop paying.
Paid & Organic SEO each has its own benefits; which one is best depends on your niche, resources, & business goals. One thing to keep in mind though is that there is an added advantage running both Organic SEO & Paid SEO. Because both target the same keywords & users, the shared data between both channels equates to the greatest net result.
How long have you been in business?
This is a good question to ask any agency or B2B vendor, but it’s even more important when it comes to your SEO partner. The reason is because SEO is notorious for get-rankings-quick schemes. There are SEO strategies that one can take that will quickly get top rankings, but won’t last long.
One of these undesirable strategies is accomplished by acquiring dropped domains.
You can pick up domains that previously held authoritative websites, but have since been abandoned. The domain expires and is available for purchase. ‘Blackhat’ SEO agencies pick up hundreds of these domains and put up fake blogs, or link farms, to direct SEO authority to sites of their choosing.
This works… for a very limited time. As soon as Google realizes that these new sites do not resemble the old and thus should not hold any authority, all pass-through value disappears and oftentimes replaced by ranking penalties.
How can you protect yourself from short-term SEO tactics? Pick a reputable agency that’s been around for several years and has hundreds of reviews – like SmartSites! SmartSites has been in business for over 10 years and you can read all our reviews to know that our SEO strategies are future-proof.
What organic SEO services do you actually perform?
Perhaps the greatest benefit of SEO, more than any other advertising medium, is that the benefits stick. This is in contrast to, say physical billboards or even PPC, where the benefits stop as soon as you stop paying.
Here’s what you should look for:
Make sure you own all the work.
The website and domain must be yours – no exceptions. Same goes with the content. Is the SEO agency promising you a 100-page library? Great, but make sure it’s unique to you and
you get to keep it
. Too often we see businesses coming to us with websites where the best content is not actually theirs, and they must pay hefty license fees in perpetuity to keep it. With SmartSites – everything we design, develop, write, or work on for you, is 100% yours.
Be cautious of paid link strategies.
A “popular” strategy that some agencies choose to practice is purchasing links for their client websites. After all – it’s very tempting! Purchasing links is a quick and effective way to get results. You don’t have to worry about creating ‘link-worthy’ content and it’s actually cheaper to buy links than the cumbersome work of acquiring them organically. But there are two major problems: Firstly, it is against Google’s TOS to buy links for SEO. Secondly, the links will disappear as soon as you stop paying the agency. At SmartSites, we focus on outreach and earning links that last.
What organic SEO services do you actually perform?
This sounds like a silly question, but it’s not! SEO is a very loose term that is used to mean several different things. For example, for a low-cost provider such as GoDaddy, SEO is purely software and reporting. Some SEO companies also help you write meta descriptions and content for your pages. BacklinkBuild, the predecessor of SmartSites, focused on the Link Building aspect of SEO. All of these initiatives are valid and valuable in their own way, but most small businesses need a holistic approach.
What organic SEO services does SmartSites provide? Glad you asked! First off, yes — we do use software and automation. A lot of it. We love Ahrefs, Moz, Spyfu, Supermetrics, and several other tools that cost us a small fortune. But that’s just one piece. We plan your website’s pages, not just optimize what you currently have. We run technical audits on your website, and can actually fix the issues (or work with your developers to fix them). We write content and build links. No subcontracting. No schemes. Our processes have been carefully developed through the years and even so, there is no one-size-fits-all. Each client gets personalized attention and requires critical thinking to succeed.
Do you have experience in my industry?
While many SEO best practices are omni-industry, there are certain elements such as Link Building where having experience in the particular industry significantly increases your chance of success.
To help illustrate – say you need Lasik Eye Surgery. You would want to find an eye doctor that is not only experienced in optometry, but also specifically Lasik surgeries. Could the doctor perform a flawless surgery his first time ever? Yes, maybe. But your chances of success are much higher when choosing someone who has done it many times. Choose the smarter choice that doesn’t blind you. Choose SmartSites.
You can see some organic SEO samples of our work here: