13 Questions to Ask an SEO Agency Before You Hire Them

Discover the essential questions to ask an SEO agency before making a hiring decision, covering everything from optimization strategies to pricing models.
  • Portrait of a smiling woman with long hair, transparent background.
    Sarah Berry SEO Consultant
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  • October 25, 2023
  • 5 min. read

Whether you’re hiring an SEO company for the first or third time, it’s a time- and resource-intensive step. Based on more than 25 years of working in SEO, we’ve learned which questions to ask an SEO agency to find the best SEO services for your business and are sharing them below:

1. What SEO areas will you optimize my site for?

No matter what the SEO company’s website said, ask them this question.

We’ve seen too many times where businesses sign with an agency expecting XYZ but get ABC instead. Ask this question, and you can confirm if this firm meets your needs, like building your backlink profile or optimizing your technical SEO.

2. How do you define success in SEO?

This is one of the most important questions to ask when hiring an SEO company.

People define success differently in search engine optimization (SEO). Some focus on rankings and traffic, while others focus on leads and revenue. With this question, you can understand how the agency measures SEO success.

Ideally, you want a firm that:

  • Asks how your organization defines SEO success
  • Shares your organization’s definition for SEO success

We include the second point because the relationship is often more successful when you and the SEO company share the same opinion on what makes an SEO strategy a success. While firms can adapt to different client opinions here, an experience element is often missing.

3. When should I expect to see SEO results?

In our experience, this question tends to reveal spammy SEO companies.

These businesses will often promise an unrealistic timeline for SEO results, like within 30 days or a few months. Typically, SEO takes three to six months to show results, with some websites requiring up to 12 months of work.

If the agency has audited your site’s SEO, they can likely provide a more tailored estimate.

4. What type of SEO reporting will you provide?

Every SEO provider should provide SEO reporting. However, asking this question can help you better understand how that agency reports. For example, you can learn what metrics they measure, which attribution model they use, and more. It’s not unrealistic, either, to ask for a reporting example.

5. What SEO tools do you use?

While you likely won’t have access to the tools used by your SEO agency, understanding their toolkit can help you better understand their data sources, processes, and more. Typically, the best SEO companies will mention Ahrefs, Semrush, and other paid SEO platforms.

If the firm mentions an in-house or exclusive tool, ask some follow-up questions, like:

  • Is this a white-label or proprietary tool?
  • Will I have access to this tool?
  • Where does this tool source its data?
  • If this data uses my business’s data, is it secure?
  • Can you provide a demo?

Based on these questions, you can better understand the tool’s role. We recommend further researching the platform afterward and compiling additional questions to ask the SEO agency at your next meet-up.

6. How do you communicate with clients?

Communication is key to a successful agency and client relationship, so it’s important to understand:

  • What communication methods the agency uses, like email, phone, or video conferencing
  • How often the agency communicates with you, like weekly, monthly, or quarterly
  • Who will communicate with you and your team
  • Whether the agency can meet your custom communication needs

Before contacting an SEO company, we recommend looking for communication mentions in their reviews. Based on client reviews, you can gauge in advance whether the agency excels (or fails) in this critical area.

7. Who will I communicate with on my account?

While the previous question can cover this one, it’s important enough to include here. Whether you’re looking to share information or troubleshoot an issue, you need a dedicated point of contact (POC) at your SEO company. However, not all agencies provide dedicated POCs.

8. How much of my time will you need?

Ask SEO agencies this question no matter your preferred involvement level, from hands-off to hands-on. Typically, SEO companies will require more of your time initially, but time requirements can vary based on who manages your account.

This question also helps you decide if your preferred involvement level works for the agency.

9. Do you require an SEO contract?

In most cases, SEO companies will require an SEO contract. How long the contract lasts depends on the agency. In our experience, most companies have a six-to-twelve-month contract, though some operate on a month-to-month basis.

10. What is your SEO pricing model?

Most SEO companies do not post their pricing online, so we recommend asking this question to your SEO agency. The most common pricing models for SEO services include monthly. If you’re hiring an SEO firm for consulting, they might charge an hourly or one-time project fee.

11. What are your SEO deliverables?

Your service deliverables outline what an SEO agency will do for your business. That’s why we strongly recommend avoiding SEO companies that refuse to provide you with a list of deliverables and include those deliverables in the SEO contract.

12. Can you provide some client references?

Client references are fantastic, especially if they’re from your industry. Add this as one of your questions to ask an SEO marketing company, and you can receive unmatched insight into what it’s like working with that agency.

13. Why should we hire you vs. another SEO agency?

What we love about this question to ask SEO companies is you get insight into the other agencies you’re interviewing. For example, you might learn that ABC firm raises prices frequently or that YXZ company buys links. Of course, you should take what is said with some skepticism.

For even more questions, browse our SEO FAQs!

Get these questions answered with our SEO company

So, you’ve debated in-house vs. agency SEO and decided to take the leap with an experienced agency! Are you looking to test these questions? Give them a go with our SEO company, one of the best SEO companies in Canada, U.S., and around the world, which has provided SEO services for more than 25 years to businesses across the globe. Contact us today to speak with our award-winning team!

Portrait of a smiling woman with long hair, transparent background.
Sarah Berry is an SEO Consultant at one of the largest SEO agencies in the USA — WebFX. With more than 10,000 hours of SEO experience, she offers practical insights and strategies you can use to grow your rankings, traffic, and revenue from search.

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