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14 Jun 2017

7 Questions You Should Ask Before You Hire an SEO Agency

Want your dermatology practice website to stand out online?  

It’s all in the ranking…

However, before you hire any old SEO agency to enhance the visibility of your dermatology practice, you need to know the right questions to ask.

Here are seven questions you should ask before hiring an agency that will pay you back in the long run.

Does the SEO agency honor your mission statement?

You have one of these, right?  

If you answered no to the previous query, go back to the drawing board and answer the following BEFORE approaching any agencies.This is the heart and soul of your company cobbled down to a paragraph or two.  Who are your customers?  What role do you play in the field of dermatology?  

This is the heart and soul of your company cobbled down to a paragraph or two. Who are your customers? What role do you play in the field of dermatology?  

The list goes on: What are the defining characteristics of your company?  What is your company culture like?  What are the values of your company?

Be sure to have a clear answer to these questions before approaching an agency.  

Why? Because a strong agency will work with your mission statement to create a strong brand for your company.  

Your brand is a representation of your business and will be used to solidify your practice’s place in the industry. It will be used in the design and implementation of your online presence, so learn it, love it, live it!

What is the agency’s track record?

Although it’s nice to give the newbies a chance and save something on the bottom line, investing in a tried and true SEO agency will provide better results and bigger returns.  

Ask for comprehensive case studies, which shows traffic growth, web site engagement, conversion metrics and how much money each marketing campaign pulled in.   

If a client list is not on their website, ask for a comprehensive list of clients the agency has conducted business with for a minimum duration of a year, as well as the number of clients that are re-signing contracts with the agency.  

In addition, ask for 1st-page Google rankings of live clients.  It’s imperative that you see the results the agency is obtaining for other paying clients before signing any contracts.  

What type of link-building strategy is used?

First off: stay away from agencies that use software automation or “buy” links on your behalf.  Google will eventually discover the ruse and penalize your site, which will be costly in the long run.  

Instead, verify that the SEO agency builds organic links, including using inbound marketing tactics, onsite blogging, and digital PR to promote your site.  

What will be included in my SEO campaign?

This runs the gamut from onsite optimization to good old fashioned PR. Depending on the agency and package you choose, the sky is the limit.  

Start by revisiting your objective in hiring an SEO agency.  

Is ranking as the top-searched dermatologist in your area your end goal?  A knowledgeable agency will start by weeding out issues within your existing site, including:

  • Improving your website’s URL and internal linking structure
  • Developing web page titles and tags.
  • Correcting broken links and error pages
  • Increasing site traffic by providing onsite blogging. 

Will your agency increase outreach by utilizing social advertising or email marketing?

What kind of marketing and analytics reports will I be receiving?

With regard to ranking, your agency should provide the following basic reports as part of your contract:

  • Keyword ranking reports
  • Traffic reports
  • Conversion Reports
  • Service Reports
  • A campaign analysis

Think of the campaign analysis as the goldmine at the end of a treasure hunt, while the other pieces are clues to get you there.  It should be simple and give you the following information:

Your cost of SEO marketing, how many customers were converted and to what profit.  Profit minus cost equals revenue.  It’s that simple. Really.  

You want to know how these services are affecting your bottom line.

What are the contract details?

Go over your contract with a fine-toothed comb and do your own research.  Gain a general understanding of website optimization, so that you know what you’re paying for.  

Write down what you think you are paying for. Take it back to the agency to have them explain their strategy of how they plan to execute your needs.

Will there be a representative for you to talk to throughout the campaign(s)?  I guess I’m old school, but there’s nothing worse than that feeling that a job isn’t getting done. I prefer a good call to an email any day.   

What is the cost of your contract?  Does the agency charge by the hour, by project or by retainer?

A monthly retainer generally starts around $500/month as a base.  Be wary of this price range, as most agencies that charge this rate tend to automate or buy links.  

Depending upon the SEO goals and size of your dermatology practice, contract prices can start in the low thousands and skyrocket. However, if results pay off, it can be worth the investment.

What is the length of your contract?  After determining you’ve found a great business match with your SEO agency, limit contract length to a maximum of one year. 

Additionally, if you choose to part ways with your agency, make sure that your contract allows for your dermatology practice to maintain ownership of all optimized web content.  

The agency should never remove or change any paid for content if you end your contract with them.  On this note, double check that there aren’t any early termination fees if it isn’t working out.  

That leads me to my next point… 

Do I like who I’m interacting with?

Ask yourself this every time you conduct any kind of transaction, from hiring an SEO agency to buying a car.  

Listen to your instincts when it comes to interviewing and hiring an agency. Do they listen? Do they sound like they know what they’re talking about?

Are they able to clearly explain their strategies for improving your dermatology site? Do they work with other clients within the medical field?

Don’t sign on to any kind of contract until you’ve answered these questions for yourself.  

Signing with the wrong SEO agency can not only be a costly mistake, it can mean having to start from scratch with another agency after your contract has run its course.  

Check out the following tips to discover more information on how to find the best SEO agency for your dermatology website needs!