Our Nashville SEO collective knows that “SEO” has become a bit of a dirty word, in much the same way that “used-car salesman” has. At this point we expect clients have worked with many other providers with varied results.
A few rotten apples spoiled the understanding of SEO for everyone. We, as practitioners, were given a bad name, and you, as clients, were given reason to doubt that SEO could benefit you in any way.
That doubt and caution can be a good thing: it’s certainly in your best interests to be careful about who you entrust with the well-being of your digital presence. Here are four questions to help you vet a potential vendor and put your mind at ease.
Nashville SEO - Four Questions
“What do you view the goal of SEO to be?”
The correct answer here should directly relate to making your business better, increasing your revenue, or improving your digital brand presence. “Increasing rank” is a partial answer, and if it’s the only one you hear, keep probing--there’s probably a better Nashville SEO company out there for you.
“Have you ever engaged in black hat practices?”
Black Hat SEO is the practice of using search engine optimization tactics to spam a client or competitor’s website for short-term or malicious gains. It’s bad. If a provider squirms at this question or doesn’t provide a resounding “no,” feel free to knock them down (or off) your list. Black hat tactics are what caused J.C. Penney’s website to disappear from Google in February of 2011, costing them millions in lost revenue.
“How long should it take to see results?”
One month? Three months? A year? All might be valid answers depending on the context.
This is a hard question to answer simply because no search practitioner really knows how long it will take. However, if they guarantee results in any particular time frame, you should hear an alarm bell. Never buy guarantees with organic optimization.
“How will you demonstrate results to us?”
I’ll reference Question 1 above. If the provider’s stated goal is to increase your sales or visibility--not just ranking--then the reports you get should include analysis around leads generated or revenue earned, relative to work performed. Don’t get me wrong, rank reports are still helpful to see, as they provide directional indicators. Top content or landing page breakdowns are nice too, but without dollars tied to efforts, it’s a no go.
Every SEO company, agency, “guru,” or “ninja”* will have a different take on how SEO works and what the priorities are of a healthy search engine optimization program. It’s true that there is a good bit of qualitative and subjective perspective that comes into play with SEO. However, using these questions will go a long way in leading you to the best fit for your project.
And, of course, if you're in the market for an SEO firm, we would gladly throw our hat in that ring as well. We focus our work on improving the long-term health of our clients' web presence, and proving ROI is an essential part of the equation for us. Contact us today to set up a free 30-minute consultation to discuss your SEO needs!
*It’s just personal opinion, but if you’re considering working with a vendor who refers to themselves as a “guru” or “ninja,” keep looking.