The first step to buying SEO is to not think of it as buying “SEO”.
You’re buying much more than a ranking on search engines.
You’re not buying a suit off the rack.
A great SEO service is more like buying a suit that’s tailored specifically for you.
You want it to fit like a glove and you want it made with the finest materials.
Search engine optimization is a huge topic, so we won’t get into all the ins and outs.
But if you need a refresher, watch our video:
Instead, we’ll focus on the smart way to buy SEO for your business, the questions you should ask, and the red flags you should look out for.
This guide is titled, “SEO for Dummies,” but you’ve already proven you’re no dummy.
So buckle up, bookmark this page, and learn how to buy SEO service like a bawse:
White Hat or Black Hat: What’s in Fashion
Before we talk about the questions to ask, we need to point out the kinds of SEO and which one you should watch out for:
- Black Hat SEO offers cheap and fast results.
Black Hat techniques manipulate Google’s algorithms to help websites rank higher in a short amount of time.
The method eventually falls apart, but not before it achieves some quick wins.
Black Hatters are known to create “link farms” to artificially inflate a page’s ranking.
Eventually, Google catches up and the website is penalized. Bye, bye rankings…
- White Hat SEO plays within the rules and delivers slow, but steady results that last.
The work is done manually, content is written by skilled writers, and the results won’t harm your business in the long term.
In fact, White Hat strategies can lead to increased sales for a business.
You also need to watch out for ‘Grey Hat’ firms who talk like they apply White Hat methods, but actually use Black Hat strategies.
So how do you protect yourself from Black Hat SEO and the penalties that can follow?
Well, this is called “SEO for Dummies,” so we’re gonna break it down with some simple questions you can ask the service provider:
SEO for Dummies: Questions to Show You’re No Dummy
- How much does this service cost?
You were likely going to ask this anyway, but we’re going to point out some red flags for you.
First, be suspicious if they quickly turn around with a quote.
It takes time to research a market and learn the needs of a particular business.
You don’t want a premade SEO “package” for your bakery that was used for an engineering firm last month.
Second, White Hat SEO strategies cost more in general.
If you’re quoted a price that’s too good to be true, it just might be.
A great marketing firm will craft a thorough campaign and at the very least offer advice after the initial goals are met.
High-quality content will be created manually (not by robots), and a solid link-building strategy will be established.
These legitimate steps cost more than a software creating links and generating content.
- What kind of campaign will you be building for my business?
Again, you’re not looking for a “one-size-fits-all” approach.
Ask about the strategies they will implement like link building or content creation.
They won’t map out their entire plan, but they should be able to tell you a little bit about the work they do and how they achieve results.
Through this question, hopefully, you’ll get an idea how well the campaign is tailored to your industry and your business.
Only then can you get the relevant targeted traffic that will bring you leads that convert.
- How long will it take to see results?
You already know the answer you’re looking for.
You’re asking this question to learn their answer.
If their time frame sounds extremely short, watch out.
You have another red flag on your hands.
The goal of a sound SEO strategy is to organically build up a website’s popularity over time.
This includes strategies like keyword research and application (like we did for Image Optometry) and designing a responsive website (like we did for Hilltop Plumbing). All of which takes time.
- What’s the plan after we rank?
You want to keep the ranking you paid for right?
Well, you’ll need an ongoing strategy to stay on top of the search results.
That means reviewing the keywords, creating fresh content, and continuing to drive traffic to your website through social media or other means.
If this question draws a blank stare, they may not have thought about this part, and you should hire a provider who will.
Unfortunately, if you’re not one of our website clients, we can’t help you with maintaining your SEO ranking.
We would be unfamiliar with your website’s structure and might end up doing more harm than good.
But if you’re looking for help redesigning your website while improving your SEO ranking, give us a call!
- What changes can I expect to see on the site itself?
A strict focus on “off-page” elements is another red flag you should look out for.
White Hat strategies will have a plan to implement changes directly to your site.
Elements like design, loading times, and content need to be under review in a legitimate SEO campaign.
Hiring a service to build you an SEO strategy won’t come easy and it won’t come cheap.
But asking the right questions and learning the right information will make sure you get a tailored suit made with beautiful material instead of a suit made with cheap fabric that falls apart after one day in the office.