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02 Aug 2010

15 Questions to Ask When Hiring an Internet Marketing Company

August 02, 2010Business

Hiring an Internet marketing company can be a daunting task. You have heard that businesses need website marketing, but aren’t even entirely sure what SEO stands for and you certainly don’t have time to research and educate yourself in the industry. There are a few quick things that you can do to at least appear knowledgeable and know what to look for in a good, honest Internet marketing company. It all starts with asking the right questions. Here are some initial questions that you should ask when interviewing SEO and internet marketing companies:

A great way to tell if a website marketing company knows what they’re doing is by looking at its website. If the company is implementing a great website marketing campaign, then it’s pretty likely that it can do it for you too. Practice what you preach right? Here are 15 questions to ask when interviewing an Internet marketing company:

  1. How long has your company been in business? What is your experience? Internet marketing is a new and growing industry, so don’t expect to hear 20 years of experience. But, a background in traditional marketing, other website and internet businesses and related fields serve as solid background of experience.
  2. How do you determine the best services for a particular company and website? Website marketing shouldn’t have a one size fits all approach. Each business needs a customized campaign, unique to its business goals and industry.
  3. What kinds of SEO techniques do you use? Just like with any industry, there are companies that operate unethically. Watch out for companies that will launch you to the top of the search results by purchasing you thousands of links. The search engines will penalize a site that is using unethical, black-hat techniques.
  4. What’s your link building process? Links continue to prevail as one of the most important factors in search engine rankings. An Internet marketing company should have a variety of link building techniques, such as press release marketing, blog posts or social media. This SEO Infographic for Link Data Visualization describes the various link building techniques as well as their value.
  5. How many employees does the company have and what is their background/website experience? An Internet marketing company should have knowledgeable staff that knows its way around a website. Look for a company that has at least a few employees that have backgrounds in building websites on the various platforms.
  6. Do you offer both on-site and off-site search engine optimization? It all starts with good optimization of your website. Look for a company that can advise you on good on-site optimization.
  7. Can you guarantee the 1st spot on Google? If the company says yes, then run! This can never be guaranteed.
  8. How long will it take to get search engine results? Again, if the company claims it can guarantee you results within a week, or even a month, run! It typically takes three to six months.
  9. What is your reporting process? A company should provide you with reports on a regular basis, showing you the progress and results of your campaign. If the company says it doesn’t provide reports or at least communicate the results in some form and you haven’t already run away, definitely run this time.
  10. How can I expect to communicate with you? Make sure that the company communicates in a way that you are comfortable with and is willing to be flexible. If you would like a monthly phone call or email report, that is a reasonable request on your part.
  11. Will you provide detailed information about your recommendations and the reasoning behind them? A company shouldn’t just hand you a contract full of services without an explanation. Be sure to look it over and have a conversation about why these services are best for your site and for your company.
  12. Who owns the copyright? Internet marketing often involves web content development and the creation of social profiles. You, the client, should always be the sole owner of the work that the company completes for you.
  13. What primary tactics do you use to increase a website’s rankings? Look for a company that uses a variety of tactics that are in line with the current trends of the industry. Internet marketing is constantly changing and evolving, and companies should adapt to those changes.
  14. Can you show me examples of your previous work and share some success stories? In most cases, companies will have non-disclosure agreements with its clients, so it’s reasonable for the company to not be able to share information such as the company name and website. However often times the company should have happy clients that are willing to give recommendations and testimonials.
  15. What is your involvement in the Internet marketing/SEO community? There are conferences, associations and groups all throughout the country for SEOs and Internet marketers to share ideas and keep up with the latest trends. Look for a company that plays an active role in that community.

Just as you would, when hiring any vendor for your company, check references and reviews. Unfortunately, in the Internet marketing industry there is a lot of fraud and many unethical companies out there. But, there are also companies that are truly passionate about Internet marketing and SEO, one of those being Vertical Measures of course!

2 Comments

  • Markjones Aug 02, 2010

    This is a really good article, we are a new SEO services and SMO company and I would personally like our customers to follow this before considering us, Although we would fall down on the 'how long has your company been operating' question, a company that considers these factors is definitely a company worth working with

    Mark @ http://www.onelinewebdesign.co.uk

  • George Aug 03, 2010

    Most of the companies says a big yes to the 7th question…