If you’re trying to decide on an SEO company, you should be asking them some questions about how they work and the results they get. Here are some recommendations for questions to ask with some insights as to what you’re looking for.

How long have you been doing SEO?

If they are really new, (less than a year or two), they should be relatively inexpensive compared to the other SEO’s you’re looking for. Remember, there’s a reason why they are less expensive – they have less experience and less knowledge. This can work out well if you find the right fit but you should use some caution here.

If they have been doing SEO for 3+ years, you should feel pretty safe.

If they have been doing SEO for a long time, more than 10 years, this may raise some flags. Here are a few possible meanings:

  • Not that many people have been doing SEO for that long….
  • If they have been doing SEO for 10 years, they could be stuck in their 2002 tactics which no longer provide value
  • They could be awesome

Do you have any references?

Unless you are their first or second client, they should be able to recommend you to someone who recommends them. Unless they are terrible.

What types of link building tactics do you use?

This question can be very revealing – there are some good strategies and not so good. The good tactics are indicative of them taking a long term focus and utilizing strategies that will most likely provide value for a long time. The less than favorable list indicates that they are either doing stuff that doesn’t work, won’t work soon, or may land you a penalty.

Good things to look for:

  • Link bait
  • Infographics
  • creating really good content for your blog
  • creating resources
  • guest posting.
  • Getting you added to resources pages

Some responses that would cause serious concern:

  • article marketing
  • article submissions
  • directories
  • forum commenting
  • blog commenting
  • link exchanges
  • buying links
  • blog networks
  • web 2.0 links
  • profile links

Do you use article spinning to create content?

The answer you are looking for here is no.

Will I need to update my content?

You are looking for them to say yes to this one. In most cases a good SEO will want to add some sort of content to your site.

Can you give me an example of a well optimized title tag?

If they give you a keyword stuffed example like “Water Proof Watches | Water Resistant Watches | Under Water Watches” you’re probably in trouble. You’re looking for something like: “Waterproof and Resistant Watches | Watch Warehouse”

Does it matter if my content is all at the bottom of the page?

A lot of less reputable SEO’s will tell you that it makes no difference to Google where the content is. The truth is that it is better for your content to be “above the fold” but if the choice is between no content and putting content at the bottom of the page, it will do.

Can I see an example of content you’ve written for a landing page?

You want to check to make sure the content makes sense and that it reads well, like it is intended for humans. If you see a keyword or phrase repeated excessively, this is a bad sign and you probably want to start looking for someone else. The question to ask yourself here is “would I want this content on my site? Would I be proud to display it?”

Can I see examples of guest posts and high quality link bait content you’ve created?

This work should be very well written and very high quality. It should add value to the web, and you should feel comfortable recommending the content to a friend.

What is the optimal keyword density for a page?

This is a bit of a trick question :-) A good SEO will tell you that there isn’t a magical keyword density but rather focus on writing something really good that adds value and uses your primary keyword phrases once or twice (more if it’s longer content). The quality of content is more important than any special number of keywords.

This isn’t a comprehensive list, but it should get you going and give you an idea of what kind of value the SEO in question will really provide. If you need more questions to ask, this post from Rand, this YOUmoz post, or this one by SEOptimise might be helpful. Good luck!

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