Last Updated on November 1, 2022
If you are considering search engine optimization you will need to develop a list of questions to ask your potential search engine optimization vendor.
Does your potential vendor provide any or all of the following?
- Keyword Research
- Competition Analysis
- Analytics Implementation
- Content Creation
- Ranking Results Tracking
- Regular Meetings
- Search Engine Optimization Strategic Planning
- Hazard Audits
- Site Audit Tools
Keyword Research Definition
Keyword research, keyword phrase research is the process of identifying important keywords and keyword phrases related to your business. These keywords and keyword phrases must have value, that is they must have search volume and they should have a user intent of being interested in the products/services your company provides.
If you build new homes for retirees in Florida, pursuing “new homes” as a keyword phrase will bring numerous visitors that are not your potential clients. You will want to spend your search engine optimization campaign resources focused on who your actual client is. Your actual clients are looking for “Florida retirement communities”, “retirement communities in Florida” or “new homes for retirees in Florida”, not just “new homes”.
Does your potential search engine optimization vendor talk about user intent at all when it comes to keyword selection? Anyone can just pick some keywords, but getting this process right is crucial for your SEO success.
If your potential search engine optimization vendor tells you to be the one to just pick some keywords, then run! They’re not committed to understanding you, your business, your target market, or helping guide the process with actual research. If they tell you to pick the keywords without any research then they’re only interested in 1 thing – SELLING YOU not helping you.
Believe it or not, we have heard this from more than one new client over the years. It’s unfortunately far too common in the industry.
Your potential search engine optimization vendor should be able to provide information on your competitors both online and offline. Now, in our example of new homes for retirees in Florida let’s consider that you build single-family stick built or block homes, you may find that your online competition consists of retirement communities consisting of manufactured housing or multi-family retirement homes. While these are not your immediate competition in the offline world, they can be in the Search Engine Results Page listings.
When you are presented with stiff competition on a keyword that your site may not be ready to compete with yet, you may re-format your search engine campaign strategies to pursue more long tail keywords that have less competition to gain a foothold in the search engine market. Typically, these long-tail keywords and keyword phrases are more targeted to your actual audience and bring a more qualified visitor to your site, they just have lower search volume/competition.
Analytics Implementation And Reporting
Does your potential search engine optimization vendor use analytics tracking systems such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console?
Tracking is essential it’s the old adage “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” As a white label SEO provider, this is something we’ve instilled in all of our relationships. We’ve helped make the agency industry more accountable for the ROI we are to produce of a client’s behalf.
A standard Google Analytics organic traffic report will provide valuable information on your visitor’s activity when visiting your website. Information such as:
- Sessions: The total number of sessions within the date range being reported on. A session is the number of times a user is actively engaged with your website.
- % of New Sessions: An estimate of the percentage of first-time visits.
- New Users: The number of first-time users during the selected date range being on.
- Bounce Rate: The percentage of single-page sessions in which there was no interaction with the page.
- Pages Per Session: The average number of pages viewed during a session.
- Average Session Duration: The average length of a session.
- Conversions: You can track form fill-outs, click-to-call actions, and even phone calls.
For eCommerce online shopping carts, the following metrics should also be tracked with Google Analytics:
- Transactions: The total number of completed orders on your site.
- Revenue: The total revenue from web eCommerce or in-store app transactions.
These metrics along with a few others that look at actual keyword rankings are important to measure the effectiveness of your SEO campaign.
Are you increasing your leads from organic search visitor traffic?
Are you increasing your online sales and profits from organic search?
If your prospective search engine online vendor seems to only be interested in your keyword ranking results and not on the whole picture of accomplishing the goal of getting more leads/sales you may want to consider searching elsewhere.
Keyword Ranking Tracking
Does your prospective search engine optimization vendor provide keyword ranking tracking?
Ranking tracking is the function of tracking individual keywords/keyword phrases in the Google search engine results pages. Monitoring whether keywords are moving up, moving down or not moving at all in the Google search engine results is an important leading indicator that the changes the team is making are having a positive result, it can also show if algorithm changes are affecting your initiative.
(Note: if you are using a white label local SEO provider then your keyword tracking should look different than a national SEO campaign. A local campaign should include how you rank around your business location. You shouldn’t see 1 ranking number, but you should see a map and how you rank at different latitudes and longitudes as your business’s proximity to a searcher impacts your ranking results!)
Monitoring keyword ranking results can provide insights into if the SEO team you’ve selected is accomplishing the goal of getting you ranked.
Does your potential search engine optimization vendor provide regularly scheduled client meetings? For us, these meetings provide a point of accountability. It also allows the client to better understand the process and results of search engine optimization. In the meetings we have with customers we care to educate them on what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and the proposed impact of the changes we’re making. You should make sure that you bring on an SEO vendor that is dedicated to increasing your education about how SEO works. If they can’t explain it to you then they likely don’t understand it, and if they don’t understand it they shouldn’t be your vendor.You should make sure that you bring on an SEO vendor that is dedicated to increasing your education about how SEO works. If they can't explain it to you then they likely don't understand it, and if they don't understand it they… Click To Tweet
Search Engine Optimization Campaign Strategic Planning
Will your prospective search engine optimization provider provide customized strategic planning? There is no one size fits all SEO campaign Customized Strategic plans allow for an overview of the upcoming tasks to be performed for YOUR search engine optimization campaign. What is going to move the needle for your results is going to be different than another client. Make sure you are getting a plan that is custom built for you and your company’s needs.
We update our client strategic plans monthly and set tasks out for three months in our organic search engine optimization campaigns. This keeps our client’s informed about what we’re doing, and if they have questions it gives us an opportunity to educate them on WHY we’re doing the specific items we’ve proposed.
Does your potential search engine optimization provider perform any type of evaluation of your existing website and hazards that might exist?
Hazards are generally described as issues that need to be resolved, or at least identified, at the onset of a new search engine optimization campaign. Some examples are:
- Slow Loading Pages
- Blocking search engine spider crawls in the robots.txt file
- Hacks / Malicious code
- Problematic inbound links
You can do everything else right, but if you miss completing a hazard audit on a regular basis then you could easily never achieve the rankings/success your targeting. The key here is for your SEO provider to always be looking at the whole picture!
Site Audit Tools
Does your potential new search engine optimization vendor use software tools that provide insight into the status of your site’s current search engine optimization status?
We utilize a myriad of different tools that check the status of your current website’s condition. These tools run a myriad of individual tests to provide information on the conditions of your website. These tests include but are not limited to:
|Broken External Links|
|Broken Internal Links|
|NoFollow Attributes in External Links|
|Low Word Count|
|Overused Canonical Tags|
|Broken Internal Images|
|Broken External Images|
|Duplicate Meta Descriptions|
|Robots.txt Blocking Crawlers|
|Invalid Sitemap.xml Format|
|Incorrect URLs in Sitemap.xml|
|Missing Viewport Tag|
|Large Page Size|
|Missing Canonical Tags in Amp Pages|
|Missing Canonical Tag|
|Blocked from Being Indexed|
|Multiple H1 Tags|
|Matching H1 and Title Content|
|Missing Meta Description|
|Too Many On-Page Links|
|Missing Alt Attributes|
|Slow Page Load|
|Low Text to HTML Ratio|
|Too Many URL Parameters|
|Encoding not Declared|
|Doctype not Declared|
|Flash Content Used|
|Underscores in URL|
|NoFollow Attributes in Internal Links|
|Missing Sitemap.xml Reference|
|Sitemap.xml not Found|
|Robots.txt not Found|
If any of these tests report back as a warning or error they will need to be sorted out in importance to develop or update your strategic plan. Not every issue is equal! Knowing of the issues is priority #1, but then creating a plan to address in order of priority is the next step.
About That Company
If you are in search of a new search engine optimization campaign vendor or are new to search engine optimization consider That Company! We have been an industry leader since 2007 and have helped 100’s if not 1000’s businesses achieve success in the online marketplace through search engine optimization, pay-per-click management, Google Business Profile management, and social media marketing.
Written By: Mark Gray