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Four Questions to Ask About an SEO Agency

January 9, 2012  

Adam Singer has heard his share of unimpressive SEO agency pitches over the years. "When reviewing their plans I'm frequently amused by just how ignorant many are to a truly effective online marketing program," he writes at the Future Buzz blog.

So how do you separate those who know what they're doing from those who do not?

Singer suggests you take the blinders off by asking questions like these:


Do they eschew outlandish guarantees? To promise first-place or first-page rankings is patently absurd—and often used to compensate for a nonexistent reputation or track record. According to Singer, a legitimate SEO firm will never make such claims.

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  • by srsalespro Mon Jan 9, 2012 via web

    I have not look up Adam Singer to see who he is, but point number 4 is way off the mark. It reads as if the only good SEO agencies are the ones large enough to be recognized by the trades. That is clearly false and anyone who writes about how to chose an SEO partner should know better.

  • by Anthony Permal Mon Jan 9, 2012 via web

    I agree with the above comment. While the article is great, point 4 is way off mark. I know some very good SEO firms here who aren't blazing innovation or handling mega million dollar accounts, but are small but very effective for the SMEs and smaller businesses. Not being carried in a trade mag is no indication of ability.

  • by Demandgenguy Tue Jan 10, 2012 via web

    Ditto on the comments re point 4, and further, I think that point 3 is nearly as silly. Many small firms I've worked with -- SEO or otherwise -- don't list leadership or even key staff members on their websites. It's not a "red flag" if a company puts the public focus on the organization as a whole rather than a select few. In fact, I've seen numerous instances where companies place too much emphasis on who works there regardless of whether or not those individuals will have any impact whatsoever on your account.
    However, I completely agree with Adam's first and second points.

  • by Patti Fousek Tue Jan 10, 2012 via web

    Adam, I was so excited when I first started reading your article. I read your first point and agreed. I read your second point, and agreed again. Then you lost me at points 3 & 4. I totally agree with what others are saying here.

    You make it sound like only those that are popular in the SEO industry should be taken seriously. I highly beg to differ. I've been providing SEO since 2001 and have had my own agency for the past 5 years. My agency is too small for any trade mag to list. But my clients are happy. So would that make my agency bad at SEO? Nope.

    I've had clients who have come to me after hiring a larger SEO firms. Many of these larger firms (that are probably listed in trade mags) typically charge too much and have inexperienced employees running high level campaigns. That's been my experience anyway.

    What you should ask an SEO firm is for examples of their work, client references, their methodology, their techniques, and how long do they typically work with a client.

    Just my two cents....

  • by cjbryant Tue Jan 10, 2012 via web

    I have to agree with the rest of the crowd regarding point #4. The firm I recommend my clients talk to for SEO is not one I read about in trade pubs, but they get results and their results for respected brands in the industry I work in are indisputable -- and they have the references to back it up. That's all my clients care about.

  • by HCG corporate designs Tue Jan 10, 2012 via web

    Hi altogether,

    I agree with the above mentioned comments. Points 1 to 3 are really good and very true I think but point 4 is weird - especially in times where some companies spend a lot of money on letting magazines writing good stuff about them (PR ....).

    I've had a look around and spoken with 3 companies in my area (Austria + Germany) and everybody tried to explain me why he works best and in the end they ended up saying "with me you'll be on number 1 in Google" .... As the topic SEO is such a complex one it is hardly possible for non-SEO experts (what the clients simply are) to find out if an SEO agency is working well and seriously or not. Even if points 1 to 3 in the above stated article are passed by an SEO agency it can still be no good service. Some sort of guarantee would be good indeed because I guarantee to pay my money too, right?

    But what kind of guarantee, that is the question ....

  • by Jade McCarthy Fri Apr 25, 2014 via web

    Great article and four fantastic questions to make sure you choose a trustworthy company! I definitely think that it is important to be given not just traffic but conversion reports to analyse the website more effectively, visitors don't always equal sales, they have to be relative!

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