The #1 criteria is have they successfully done SEO for others before before. Are they basing their advise and strategy on something they’ve successfully done (preferably multiple times) or are they repeating things they’ve heard others say they think make sense?
Before I elaborate in more detail about what you do want to hear, let me first list a few things you absolutely do not want to hear.
You Never Want Your SEO Agency to Say….
- We can’t tell you how we do it, as that’s proprietary information.
- Only X people know how to do this and we’ve got 1 of them in our company, and no you can not talk to them.
If a prospective agency ever says anything like that, do not work with them.
Things a Prospective SEO Agency Should be Happy to Share….
- Their overall strategy. What are the main tasks involved in their efforts? Why are those tasks important?
- Their day to day tactical strategy? Relative to those tasks, what are the clearly defined deliverables?
- How you independently verify their work? Not just are they meeting their deliverables, but relative to organic search traffic, how far has the needle moved? And relative to website conversions, how are things going?
- How often will you together review the strategy, tactics, and make course corrections if and when needed? This should be every 1 to 2 months.
How do You Best Verify an SEO Agency or Consultant?
There are two best ways:
- Recommendations from people you trust who vet that these people are competent.
- Learning yourself what it takes and therefore being able to verify if their claims, statements, plans, etc do in fact make sense.