10 Questions to Ask When Hiring an SEO Agency for Your E-Commerce Business
In today’s digital marketing landscape, one of the most crucial decisions is how to handle organic search. After all, 3.5 billionqueries are typed into Google each day. Furthermore, few marketing channels can compete with organic search’s long-term ROI. However, putting together an SEO strategy and successfully executingit can be something of a challenge. There are over 200 ranking factors in Google’s algorithm alone. If you’re looking for outside help with your e-commerce site’s SEO, here are 10 questions to ask when hiring an SEO agency for your e-commerce business.
- Have You Worked with E-Commerce Clients Before?
Generally speaking, it shouldn’t be a deal breaker if an agency doesn’t have experience in a prior industry. With e-commerce, however, a successful track record is absolutely required. No industry can compare to site size and the emphasis on navigation like e-commerce. Ask prospective agencies if they have past e-commerce case studies to share, or if you could speak to a current client to get their impression ofthe SEO services they’re receiving.
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- Do You Have Experience with Our Platform?
While offering many benefits, e-commerce platforms require a little know-how if you’re going to get the best performance out of them. Whether it’s cloud ecommerce platforms like those produced by Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce, or the laundry list of other on-site or cloud-hosted providers, each will have their own nuances. If an agency has e-commerce experience but hasn’t worked with your specific platform, you will need to factor that into your ultimate decision.
- What Kind of Bandwidth is Required on Our End?
Many companies partner with an agency without realizing they’ve effectively added more work on their own end. Working with SEO agencies usually tends to be more of a partnership compared to paying for outsourced work. Agencies make recommendations and produce deliverables, but there’s a high chance bandwidth on your end will be needed to move the strategy along. Get the surprises out of the way early by asking with what assistanceyour side will need to provide and how often.
- What Specific Services Will You Provide?
A professional agency should be comfortable listing the specific areas they’ll focus on in their strategy. It’s common for shady SEO companies to leave their clients in the dark about what they’re actually doingwhile they collect payment each month. Get as many specifics as you can on the service, such as the number of hours they expect to dedicate to your account each month and the number of deliverables they’ll be providing (blog posts, landing pages, backlinks, title/meta updates, etc.).
- Will You Perform Technical Audits and Improvements?
There’s little value in working with an SEO agency that doesn’t get involved technically. It’s also a common tactic for SEO amateurs to critique existing site issues and make recommendations butclaim they can’t get involved themselves. Yes, you want consultations out of an agency, but you also want action. Ask if they require external help from your development team to make changes, or how they plan to go about the process. If they won’t be making changes themselves, they should be working hands-on with your development team to make changes proactively.
- Who Will Be Working on My Account?
The people selling you and the people with whom you’ll be working are usually never the same.There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you do know who will comprise your team. If a sales rep doesn’t even know with whom you’ll be working, that usually reveals a red flag; they’re unorganized.
- What’s Your Keyword Research Strategy?
Keywords are far from dead, they’re just not the same spam-stuffing ammo they used to be. Getting a prospective SEO company’s take on keyword research and how they’d go about it for your e-commerce store can tell you a lot about their overall approach.
Any reputable agency will deliver consistent reporting on a number of agreed-upon KPIs, including but not limited to overall organic traffic, unique page views, conversion rate, time on page, bounce rate, shopping cart abandonment, average order value, cost per acquisition and more.
- How Often Will We Be Meeting?
SEO is a constant effort, one demanding consistency. To stay on top of it, performance needs to be tracked at both a weekly and monthly level. Any company seeking to handle this for you should be planning to meet or talk with you once a week to go over pending action items and talk about search performance.
- What Would SEO Progress for Our Company Look Like to You?
This is where you put the agency on the hot seat and weigh how much they want to sell you versus play it honestly. Any agency that offers results that sound too good to be true (i.e. in three months we’ll take these five priority keywords you don’t currently rank for and get you on the first page) probably is after the short-term contract money, and never really intended to do much work for you. On the flip side, the company should have some sort of answer. If they have past e-commerce experience, they should have a general timeline of when you can start expecting results, and what those results might look like.
Engaging an experienced SEO team for your e-commerce company offers great long-term growth potential for your business. Partnering with the right provider is the first step of that process. If you keep the above10 questions to ask when hiring an SEO agency for your e-commerce businesstop of mind while interviewing prospective agencies, you’ll find one capable of producing tangible results in the most efficient manner possible.