So you’ve gotten to the point where you’re seeing a few companies you think would be a good match.  You may have had your own variables work into it, such as the design and message of their website, some notable clientele they may have worked with and/or still retain, and reasonable prices at a glance with services that seem good for your business.  It may be time to reach out to them.

This is the part that may get tricky.  You will often times be dealing with salespeople from the beginning, and it is important to know the difference between their years of pitching/charming experience, and their real ability to communicate how they will really be the best fit for your company and provide results.  It is important for you, as the consumer, to ask some very important questions when you talk to the SEO company.  Your time and money are on the line!

Who Will Be Working On My Account?

We’ve all met good salespeople in our life, especially as small business owners.  Some are great – charming, witty, almost entrancing at times especially when they are at the height of their pitch.  We’d be lying if we said we never went with a salesperson’s services because of the quality and energy of their presentation.  But what happens after that?  They’ll be a point of contact, but they are rarely the person that will actually continue to work on your account.

This is how most SEO companies work, big and small.  You want to know the kind of people that will surely be on your account. Typically, you get your account rep, or a few of them.  There are times when these people really could have come onto the company weeks before handling your account.  You want to know you’re working with people that have been in the game for a while, and will be able to thoroughly answer any questions you have as you learn internet marketing over time yourself.

Do You Work With 3rd Parties Overseas?

The truth of the matter is, nearly all internet marketing companies are going to have some connection to third parties overseas, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a scam.  It just depends what is going over there.  You’ll see that programming elements will go to India, content writing to the Philippines, link building to Bangladesh, video transcription to Croatia, PHP dev and graphic design to somewhere else in Eastern Europe.  It is the simple nature of an industry that is conducted online.  It can basically be done seamlessly anywhere in the world.  But should you still be concerned about how much is being done in this manner? Of course.

It is interesting to see how salespeople react to this question.  They’ll go as far as saying everything is done completely in-house, which is basically absurd as well because of how often they necessitate working with third parties for software, web development, directories, and other internet marketing tools even domestically.  Though it is possible that very large SEO companies could suffice completely in-house, it is almost stubborn and illogical not to work with other parties for certain aspects of SEO.  In respect of this question, it is important to get a feel of not the fact that companies do outsource some elements of their work, but what elements they are.

How Often Will We Be in Communication?

This may sound out of the ordinary, but you want to work with a company that has employees you could shoot the @#$! with.  Call after hours and weekends and talk business, but talk personal.  This is because when you can communicate on the right level with people in that company, you will ensure that they have a genuine interest in the success of your business.  SEO companies basically have two purposes: to generate you more leads for your business and/or increase brand awareness of your business across all online platforms.  Communication should be persistent and meaningful.  There is a happy medium for this, being that SEO companies still work for you but more importantly work WITH you.  You don’t necessarily want to speak 3 times a day, but certainly more often than 3 times a month.

You want to be able to feel comfortable contacting them whenever you like.  They shouldn’t make you feel like a nuisance, or that you’re inconveniencing them.  Communication should almost seem natural, and consistent.  And who you are in contact with, from your account manager to the people actually implementing the SEO deliverables, should always be on the same page.