One of the challenges you’re likely to face as an entrepreneur is hiring the right digital marketer. The process of vetting and hiring one is time consuming in itself– and if you make the mistake of hiring the wrong one, the effect felt are likely to cripple your business and turn out to be expensive over the long haul.
Simple – the marketer you hire has to make sure that you at all times stay at the top of the game.
The questions is – are they qualified enough to make it happen? Does their technical expertise and experience give them the capacity to propel your business up the search engine ranks as claimed?
The whole point is to work on a hiring process that will see to it that you end up hiring a qualified digital marketer, with the capacity to get your business to a whole new level of success.
One thing you’ll soon learn is that every self-proclaimed marketing expert out there, including the rookie ones, think they’re really good at it. That’s because saying is easy, but the truth is — only a few of them can actually live to deliver on the promises they make.
To be sure of the choice you make, it’s important that you consider interviewing all the candidates you have on your list before settling on one.
This post focuses on the interview guideline to follow before hiring any SEO or digital marketing company in Singapore so you know what to expect at the end of it all:
General Rules to follow While Interviewing an SEO Consultant
The plan is to make the interview session flow smoothly. But what’s even more important is for you to end up picking the most qualified SEO consultant from the list you have.
Here are a few general rules to observe to make the most of the interview you conduct:
Give the Interview a Structure
It’s important that you structure your interview to make sure you’ll only be asking relevant questions. Besides, a structured interview will ensure that you hold all the candidate you’ve listed to the same standards for a fair evaluation.
By taking the structured approach you’ll also be saving on the time you could have otherwise wasted on asking irrelevant questions. You want to keep the interview short and at the same time make sure you have asked all the questions you had in mind without missing out on anything important.
Structure the Interview to Include All Forms of Questions
The questions you ask should help you paint a clear picture of the underlying digital marketing company:
Here are the four types of questions you can ask:
These ones will help you take a detailed view into the firm’s mode of operation and track record to develop a rough idea of what to expect.
Knowledge Based Questions
These are SEO specific questions that help you weigh in on the company’s level of expertise and technical know-how to decide if they’re the right fit for your company’s marketing needs.
These ones walk through the professional experiences of the company in the past. How did they handle a certain situation or react when certain things failed to flow according to plan?
Situational questions help to evaluate the company’s ability to think through difficult situations really quick to whip up creative and effective solutions that allay the problem at hand without hurting your business.
Make the Interview Conversational
The interview questions you ask should NOT be one sided. But structured in such a way that both parties involved will be able to contribute for the sake of making the conversation flow.
That’s important because the SEO consultant you’re interviewing has to evaluate your true potential and be able to advise you accordingly.
Also, by giving the SEO consultant you’re interviewing the opportunity to ask questions, you’ll be able to tell if they’re genuinely interested in helping you out. That’s because a genuinely interested SEO consultant will be more interested in gathering as much info about your business as they possibly can.
So they’ll use every opportunity you present to them to ask questions about your business, your competition, your previous SEO effort and anything else that might come in handy in the marketing strategy they choose to employ.
Interview Question to Ask the SEO Consultant You’re Interview
The interview questions you’ll be asking are meant to test the SEO consultant for their competency and capacity to deliver on their promise. They’re also to help you set realistic expectations. So it’s important that you maintain the highest degree of honesty.
Structure the questions to reflect your current background and the specific situation your business happens to be in, without omitting any piece of information that might prove to be useful.
Questions Regarding the Agencies Track Record
The SEO agency you settle for at the end should have a proven track record. That’s important because you certainly don’t want to end up hiring an agency that will be experimenting with your business.
A qualified SEO marketer will have a list of companies they worked with or multiple projects they happen to have worked on in the past in the portfolio they present to you. Other than that, they should be able to walk you through the strategies they employed to drive traffic, increase leads, and ramp up the number of conversions for some of the companies.
You’re only doing this because you’re interested in getting the company to help you understand their level of proficiency and expertise. You also want to find out if the company has in the past succeeded in helping a similar company with their marketing needs.
In the world of SEO, there’s nothing like a one-size-fits-all solution. Every company needs a customised strategy, formulated based on the information gathered and the progress made this far. But that’s NOT to say that some strategies can’t be recycled. If the SEO consultancy firm you’re about to hire has an impressive count of success stories helping companies undergoing the same fix as yours, then there’s a fair chance that they’ll be able to convert you into one of their happy returning clients at the end of it all.
Here are two examples of questions to ask with regards to the firm’s track record:
What have you helped companies similar to mine achieve? What results did they get?
What’s your experience with local SEO/video SEO /app store optimisation?
The whole point of asking this type of questions is to try and find out how the company helped businesses that happen to be similar to yours grow. What exactly did they help the business to achieve?
You should however be more concerned with how they were able to achieve this. What resources did they use?
So you’re allowed to ask even more questions along the lines of:
What strategy did you use to achieve particular results?
What was your execution plan?
Which among the things you did do you believe made it successful?
Did you encounter any hardship? If so, how did you react to it?
The SEO landscape is always shifting. What worked about a year ago might NOT have the same effect at present. So by asking these questions, you’re trying to establish whether or NOT the SEO consultancy firm you’re about to hire is up to date with the current trends and that their level of expertise is relevant to the situation at hand.
Once you’re done asking questions about the company’s track record, the next most logical thing to do is to seek out for references from the companies the SEO consultancy mentioned. Find out if they’re able to corroborate the story and if they were by any chance satisfied with the services they received.
When interviewing any SEO consultant, there’s no need to test their technical understanding of the problem at hand. What’s important instead is for you to develop an understanding of how they think about SEO in general and how they’ll be reacting to the challenges that arise along the way.
Of course you’ll be tempted to ask them about on-page SEO, latest algorithm updates, or any of the technical terms that constantly pop up in SEO lingo. But the truth is, all it takes to wrap you head around all these is to read a few digital marketing blogs.
Instead of focusing on testing them out, try to focus on developing an understanding of their modus operandi. Dig out for more info on the strategies they employ to optimise your site and increase its visibility on search engines.
Look out for companies that circumvent any question that tries to dig out for more details with regards to the approaches they employ. There’s a fair chance you’ll end up disappointed should you opt to go with the company.
Examples of questions to ask on the approaches the company employs
How do you plan to develop a strategy that you’ll be using to market my business?
SEO is very broad. You don’t expect the SEO agency you’re hiring to take a jump on it without first developing a sound strategy. The strategy developed must cover all the major aspect of SEO including technical SEO, off-page SEO, and user experience. So it’s important that the company walks you through the details of what is it that they plan to do. The question to ask yourself is how’s the company planning to address some of the issues you have on site?
How will you be conducting keyword research?
Keywords help to uncover user intent. Everything begins with a user entering their pain points into the search bar. What follows is the search engine in question scanning through billions of web content to pull out relevant links and thereafter ranking them in order relevancy before presenting it to the user.
The list of keywords the agency comes up with should relate to what your business is involved with. That’s important because you want your site to show up among the top results presented every time someone searches for something relating to your line of work.
How will you be building links
Ever since back links became one of the most crucial ranking elements, everyone started paying special attention to them. The only caveat is that it attracted its fair share of black hat techniques that if applied today could subject your site to a harsh penalty from Google and other search engines.
So it’s crucial that you get to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth that the links you’ll be getting will be coming from incredible sites. If possible, ask them to list the sites down so you can do your own research and find out if they’re high-quality enough to link to your site.
What’s Your Approach to Mobile SEO?
Mobile optimisation is one of the most crucial ranking factor at the moment. This comes a few months after Google made it clear that it will be considering mobile optimisation as one of their ranking elements. Meaning if the company isn’t willing to show you how they plan to work on improving your mobile SEO, then perhaps they’re NOT cut out to handle your SEO needs to the standards required.
How do you test your strategy?
Google keeps on updating their algorithm. Meaning there’s always a new trick or strategy to try out. But instead of rushing to implement it on someone’s site, it’s always advisable to test it out and find out whether or NOT it works or if it’s likely to affect your site in any way.
So unless the company has a well-structured system that they use to test out some of the strategies they employ, odds are they might NOT be exactly sure with what they’re doing. And you, of all the people must be well aware of the repercussions that follow.
Do all your Strategies Comply with Google’s Best Practices?
It’s not just about asking and getting a straight up answer. If the agency isn’t willing to back up their claim with a Google article, forum response or video, then that’s enough reason to rule them out as a good fit for your SEO needs.
What’s Your Approach with Regards to Content, PR and Social Media Marketing?
As you already know, SEO is never complete without an effective content, PR, and social media marketing strategy. Does the company have in-house resources to handle any of this, if NOT all? If so, what approach do they use?
It’s a Wrap
You don’t have to take a whole week wrapping your head around SEO lingo and some of the strategies SEO experts employ to be able to hire the right SEO consultant. What you need is a well-structured guide for interviewing the candidates you have to make the right pick.
Suffice it to say this article is all you need to make the right choice.
But just in case you want anything elaborated further, make a point to reach MediaOne today for a free SEO consultation.