When hiring an SEO agency, you have to know a thing or two about SEO so that you can navigate around all of the scams out there and you know what questions to ask. Of course, the reason you’re hiring an SEO agency in the first place is probably so they can teach you a thing or two about the industry, so it works like a catch 22. In other words, it can be tough to ask the right questions about a topic you don’t know much about.

Nonetheless, it’s important you’re prepared with a little bit of basic knowledge and an understanding about what is most important to ask an SEO agency or expert when making a hiring decision. Consider some of the most important points to touch on below so that you can feel confident when making a hiring decision.

Questions to Ask SEO Agencies When Hiring

The first thing you should ask yourself before you even get started with an interview process is about your goals. What do you think/ want an SEO agency to do for your website? What is it that you want overall for your business? What is your budget to make it happen? Once you know the answers to these questions you’ll find that talking with SEO agencies is much easier.

Of course once you are ready to start an interview you should get all of the basic questions out of the way—tell me about your experience, why you chose SEO, etc.—but then you can move on to more specific and advanced questions. Below are a few to get you started when interviewing SEO agencies:

  1. How would you recover from a Google update? This refers to all Google updates, including Panda and Penguin. A good SEO agency will tell you how they anticipate an update before it happens to make sure you don’t get hit. Recovery will then depend on the exact type of update.
  2. What scheduling tools or content management tools do you like to use? Using the latest tools in the industry is huge, so a good agency will be able to explain their favorite tools and what they do/ why they use them.
  3. What is your strategy when it comes to backlinks? There has been a lot of controversy over backlinks (check out this article from Matt Cutts himself), so this is an incredibly important question. Be on the lookout for black hat tactics and make sure they talk about how quality is more important than quantity.
  4. How to you make sure you’re posting relevant content? Content is another big topic. Talk about their content strategy, who writes the content and how they want to publish the content, and then discuss how they will find relevant topics and improve engagement.
  5. What is your experience with social media? Most SEO agencies will also be able to handle social media. Even if this is something you don’t need, SEO and social media go hand-in-hand, so make sure they know how they can work together.
  6. How many clients do you work with currently? If the SEO agency is spread too thin you may not want to get involved. Also talk about the niches that they typically work with to make sure your company fits into their expertise.
  7. Tell us about a time you dropped in rankings (or something else SEO related) and you didn’t know why. How did you solve the problem? This is a big one. SEO departments run into problems all the time, so have them give you a real-world example.
  8. When in doubt, ask for references. Plain and simple, references are a must for any SEO agency.

If you’re hiring an in-house SEO expert the questions will be fairly similar, but you may want to focus on also asking about working with others and his/her experience working with just one company. I also highly recommend this article to learn more about questions you should ask yourself before hiring an SEO agency and this article that discusses questions you should ask about your company in regards to SEO hiring.

Do you have any ideas about what to ask SEO agencies when hiring? Let us know in the comment section below.