Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Local SEO Agency

1. What is Your Work Experience with previous companies?

Experience matters in every arena, and SEO is no different.
Make sure that an experienced company handles your SEO requirements rather than a bunch of rookies.
The local SEO Company should be familiar with the market and should have worked with your type of clients earlier.
Before considering them, do thorough background research.
Make sure to ask them their definition of success. Also, ask about things like references, case studies, websites, and the names of their previous clients.
You can also reach out to their previous clients. Thereby, you can find out their reviews and experience about this SEO Company before hiring them.

2. Can you send me some of Your Successful Case Studies?

Many SEO companies are all talk but have no results to offer.
Most of the SEO agencies make tall claims of driving value to their customers. They should have substantial evidence to support their claims.
For instance, here’s an agency that put screenshots of the output they produced for their client Hide, a cocktail and comfort food place.
The SEO companies that take their business seriously will have enough case studies. It will prove the results they have driven for the various clients.
They will exactly tell you the strategies and insights they gained while working with those clients.
Most SEO companies have case studies listed on their website.
You must go through the case studies or ask them in person. Do not hire them without validating those case studies.

3. What is your hands-on experience with Schema Markup?

Schema markup is significant to your local SEO.
All the technicalities on your website must be correctly configured for SEO to work properly.
You must hire a company that knows schema markup very well.
Add correct schema markup code to your website. It must connect to rich snippets properly. If not, your website will fail to rank in the top searches in Snippets.

Schema Markup Enhances Your Site Visibility and Click-Through Rate.

Working with a local SEO company that does not have any hands-on experience in schema markup is a bad idea for your business. It will harm your business in the long run.

4. How will you do the Keyword Research Process?

Keyword research has evolved immensely, and it is nothing like how it was a couple of years back.

Today, Keyword Research Is More About Understanding User Intent.

It involves understanding what kind of information the user is searching by typing in specific keyword phrases.
You must check with your prospective local SEO agency how do they choose keywords and how do they include user intent: Check if they can understand your industry audience.
E.g., You can use keyword tools like Google Keyword planner to see the estimated number of people in that particular location.
Also, check what kind of tools and methods they employ.
If they are not able to provide you with satisfactory answers, they are most likely to be using outdated practices.

5. What is Your Experience in Local SEO Field?

SEO Agencies offer a variety of SEO Services like national SEO, international SEO, and local SEO.

Experienced Local SEO Agencies Understand the Nitty-Gritty and Deep Technicalities. They Know How to Successfully Targeting Your Local Audience.

Do ask them about their local SEO strategy and what kind of verticals they specialize in.
The idea behind this question is to figure out if they have a general approach that works across industries and markets.

6. Can You Name the tools used by Your Agency to do Local SEO Services?

Before hiring a local SEO agency, you must gain some insights into their SEO approach practices.

  • Ask them about the kind of tools they use and why and how has it helped them achieve local SEO.
  • Ask them about their strategy and various they plan to use.
  • Ask about the reporting tools, link building tools, technical SEO tools, and competitor research tools.

The tools they’re using should not be time consuming or outdated.

7. Can you tell us about Your Experience in Dealing with Local Listings & Reviews?

Generating positive reviews and getting them posted online for visitors’ reading is a big part of local SEO.
According to a report, more than 55% of customers read online reviews before purchasing.

All good local SEO companies will have a solid in dealing with reviews.

You Must Check with the Agency About Their Experience in Dealing with the Reviews and Improving the Search Rankings of Their Clients.

Any local SEO company worth their salt will clearly explain away their strategy and will not keep any important details from you.

8. What will be the Mode of Communication?

Any local SEO agency running a serious campaign will have an excellent communication strategy in place.
They will have a proper system to communicate their findings, next steps, and plan of attack.

You must ask them questions like

  • “Who will be my direct point of contact?”,
  • “Who will communicate with me on a routine basis?”
  • “How often will they communicate and what?
  • “Will they be available over the phone calls or email or any other mode of communication?”

Get all the answers before hiring that agency.

9. What Kind of Result can I expect from Your Service?

Your money and time are important. So, the local SEO agency you hire must be good at what they do.
They should be able to convey the results for their findings to you without using esoteric technical jargon. It will confuse you and force you to spend a lot more than you need to pay.
Hence, ask about every minute detail about results if you’re in doubt. For instance, the below image provides a clear depiction of the client’s website performance for local SEO keywords.

An Experienced Local SEO Firm Should Be Able to Break down Your Requirements and Their Progress to Achieve the Desired Results.

You must check with them the kind of results they will offer, and the time taken for the entire process.

10. How Do You Evaluate Your Success?

You must inquire with the prospective local SEO agency about the duration before you could see the actual results. Also, make sure to check how you would know that the changes they made are working in your favor.
An experienced local SEO agency usually keeps track of all the changes made and the increase or decrease in the traffic to your website.
They have a solid grasp of analytics and can provide you with the insights they are gaining from your website data.
They should be able to tell you whether the CTR, incoming traffic, bounce rate have increased or decreased over time.

11. Can you tell us about Your Experience on Google My Business?

Google My Business is a simple and straightforward tool used to get your website listed in Google map searches.
The local SEO agency must have expertise in working with Google My Business. If they don’t have any experience with GMB, then they cannot help you with local search listings. They cannot be a good match for your business.
They should track GMB insights to show the growth of users visiting your business and their mode of communication (text, call, etc.)
Google My Business helps you to respond to the reviews and improve your credibility. You can add/edit your business opening/closing time, holidays, phone number, and address.
It ultimately leads to your business, earning customers’ trust. On the flip side, the incoming traffic to your website increases, which leads to an increase in traffic and sales.

12. Can You Explain Your Content Marketing Strategy in Detail?

Content is the most important aspect of content marketing. Before hiring any local SEO agency, you must ask them:

  • “What they plan to do with your content and how will they help you improve your local search listings?
  • “Will they create new content, or will they work with your existing content?”
  • “How do they optimize content and why is it important for them?”
  • “Will they be creating any new landing page for your business?”

You must ask deeper questions about the strategy they plan to follow to make your local SEO work and help you rank higher in the organic searches.

13. Can you tell me about Your Link Building Process?

You need to earn legitimate and high-quality external backlinks point to your website. It will help your site to rank higher in the organic search results naturally.
If the local SEO agency uses some shady practices and builds spammy links, it violates Google’s Webmaster guidelines.
Ensure your agency does not employ the following techniques to build links for your site.
E.g., Some agencies will try to post spam comments on hundreds of websites like these.
Also, some companies will use spun text by making use of rewriting tools from the web. These kinds of content will hurt your website rankings in the long run.
Your website will run a risk of a hefty penalty or a ban on your website.
So before hiring a local SEO agency, you must ask them relevant questions like:

  • “What do you know about Google Panda, Penguin, and hummingbird updates?”
  • “What kind of links will you be building and how?” &
  • “How many links can we expect in a month?”

14. Enquire them about their Pricing Model

The local SEO agency you plan to hire must be able to give you a transparent breakdown of their pricing model.
They should tell you about the payment terms, pricing plans, additional fees, or any hidden charges to avoid surprises popping up later.

Cheap SEO Will Cost You a Lot in the Long Run.

Many agencies charge by the hour, and others charge the money based on the project.
After choosing an agency, compare their pricing with industry standards and other agencies to see if you are charged a reasonable price for the best service.
E.g., Take a look at this local SEO pricing table.
You will be able to make better spending decisions when you are aware of the amount you will be spending and the kind of results you can expect.

15. Do you have any expertise on Citation Links?

Another easy criterion to hire a local SEO agency is to find out if they have any expertise in dealing with business citations.
A citation is a piece of information that contains your business address, name, and contact information.
The order of citations is significant for improving the search rankings of your business. So, the SEO Company you hire must have experience and knowledge about the best ways to place business citations online.
Do research local citation work performed for their previous clients. See if they have covered and put precise information on all citation sites.
And they should have a reputed set of software tools for handling citations.

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16. Can You Send Me References?

A reputed SEO company should be able to provide you with at least three references. Ask for the names and contact details of their previous clients.
Once you get the references, you must ensure to call those clients to take their reviews.
Sometimes, it’s confidential to share contact details. In such cases, you can run their site to find out the partners they have served. Then you can connect with them to discuss your concerns.
Know about their experience, the kind of results and benefits they saw after working with the said agency you plan to hire.
If the SEO agency hesitates in offering these details, you must take your business elsewhere.

17. What is Your Expertise in our Industry/Field?

Hiring a local SEO company with good experiences is not enough. They should also have experience working with clients in your industry.
The SEO company that has helped a local car mechanic gain higher rankings in search results may not be a good fit for ranking a restaurant business.
A company that has not worked with clients in your industry may not be able to understand your business requirements.
An experienced and well-known agency definitely will have worked for all major industries. Look for the industries they serve on their website or directly ask about the experience in your niche.
E.g., Take a look at the expertise of a Dental surgeon in Houston.
There is no point in getting the traffic to your site when no one clicks on your links or stay long enough on your pages to buy your products or services.

18. Will your agency work with any of our direct Competitors?

You spend in SEO to cut through all the competition and rank high in organic searches.
If the company you hire for your local SEO is already working with your direct competitors, it will lead to a conflict of interest.
Also, there is a possibility that your competitors are getting a lot more benefits from the same local SEO agency than what you’re getting.
When agencies work with your competitors, they do a lot of research to gain relevant information. They may use the same information for your local SEO strategies and do not treat your business uniquely.
That can be extremely harmful to your business as your competitors might rank better than your business.

19. Are You Up to date with the Recent Google Algorithm Changes?

Google makes changes to its algorithms about 500 to 600 times per year.
Although not all these tweaks are significant, a bunch of them are.

The Local SEO Agency You Plan to Hire Must Be Familiar with the Recent Algorithm Changes.

You must question the SEO agency about the biggest changes that have happened in recent times. Also, check their knowledge on SEO and the strategies they use to rank websites.
They should be able to provide you with satisfactory answers.

20. Can I see a Sample Report?

The kind of data a local SEO company includes in their reports is extremely crucial for your business.
Before hiring any agency, you must ask them what kind of data they include in their reports.
Additionally, you can ask for sample reports to check if they have covered vital data points necessary to improve a local business. For example, here’s a sample report of an agency. The data they include in reports vary for different clients based on their requirements.
The sample report must include ranking improvements, traffic, conversion rates, and reviews. Also, it must include the links they built and the content they have used.
A good SEO agency should not hesitate to provide you with these details.

21. Does Your Company Follow Search Engine Guidelines?

All the professional local SEO agencies must follow ethical white hat practices for SEO. They should follow Google Webmaster and Quality Rater Guidelines.
Black hat SEO techniques can harm your business and get it deindexed in the search results.
The local agency you hire must be familiar with the Webmaster guidelines and should use follow completely. Cross-examine the agency about their knowledge of search engine guidelines. Do not run a risk of getting your site banned by Google.

22. What Strategy do you use to rank Our Website?

There are several approaches to effective SEO. Local SEO agencies must also focus on technical SEO, site structure, and website loading speed.
Their strategy must focus on user-experience, easy site navigation, keyword, and content optimization.
Also, they must focus on off-page SEO to earn backlinks using content marketing.
Before hiring any agency, you must ask what sort of approach or strategy they follow.
Also, ask them the kind of challenges they face in improving website ranks using local SEO.

23. Do you have any experience in doing Mobile SEO?

With Google’s announcement of moving to mobile-first indexing, mobile SEO has become vital.
The below stats show why you should also invest in mobile SEO.
An increasing number of search traffic generates from smartphones.
People are increasingly searching for local businesses and services from their mobile devices.
Local SEO agencies should have a bunch of solid tactics and strategies for mobile optimization. Local SEO without mobile optimization is useless.
So, you must ask the local SEO agency about their plan and process for optimizing your site for mobile. Also, ask for their previous experience in handling mobile optimization for the earlier clients.

24. Do you have any experience in doing Voice Search Optimization?

Studies state that about 35% of online searches will be done through voice by the end of 2021.
Voice technology has evolved considerably in recent times. It enables a lot more people to use voice for finding products and services of their Interest while they shop online.
The local SEO Company you want to hire must have experience in optimizing websites for voice searches.
They should be aware of how voice affects the “near me” searches, what kind of phrases or keywords are used in voice searches.
You don’t want to be losing out on a considerable chunk of traffic to your site by not optimizing for Voice SEO.

25. What is your expertise in Local SEO?

By spending some time learning various SEO techniques, anybody can call himself or herself an SEO expert. But it is the actual hands-on industry experience that sets them apart from the book-learned experts.
An experienced SEO agency should be able to go beyond the best practices. They will do it based on their experience of assessing the situation and implementing working strategies.
You must ask your SEO firm about the number of years they have been in the local SEO business.
They should be able to give you answers, including case studies, references, and success stories of their various clients.

26. Who will have access to Website and Social Media Accounts?

Running local SEO engagements requires access to your social media and many other accounts. You may need to give it to the local SEO agencies to let them make necessary and essential changes.
Many businesses find that when they part ways with the local SEO agencies, they do not have the required access to their social accounts.
When you part ways with your local SEO Company, you should ensure that you have access to all the relevant accounts for your business.
They should be able to constantly update you about the access related information so that you are not left in the dark once you part ways.

27. What is the other associated Services You offer?

Dealing with multiple agencies for services can be quite cumbersome and extremely costly. Apart from SEO, there are many other marketing Services like PPC, social media marketing, web design, and email marketing.
Before you hire any local SEO agency, you must inquire with them about the different kinds of services they offer.
More the number of services they offer, the better it is for your business and easier on your pockets.
Many SEO agencies advertise themselves as premium marketing agencies. Most of the time, they often have highly knowledgeable SEO experts.

28. Do you provide any Guarantee on Search Engine Rankings?

No one can guarantee you top rankings in search results. SEO is a process that involves a lot of tracking, testing, tweaking, and then repeating the entire process to see what works and what does not.
If any local SEO agency promises you guaranteed rankings, they are either lying or using black hat SEO techniques.
You must hire a local SEO agency that is confident based on their experience to offer you solid results rather than guaranteed results.

29. Why Should I Choose You Over Others?

Although it is an open-ended question with multiple answers, you must ask the local SEO agency, “Why should we hire you?”

You must run for the hills if their answers include things like:

  • “Our services are cheaper than others,”
  • “We can build more backlinks for your business (rather than quality links),”
  • “We can get you quicker results.”

Great SEO Comes at a Cost, and Its Results Never Come Quickly.

If a local SEO agency is giving you any of the above answers, they must be cutting corners or using black hat practices. They do not care about building valuable and long-term relationships with your business.

30. How will things be once you finish the process?

Reputed SEO companies will never force their clients to accept a lock-in contract, although they may have a contract in place.
Regardless of what kind of contract you sign while you hire the local SEO agency, you must be aware of what happens when you choose to part ways with them.

  • “Will you retain all your content and
  • “Will You share access to all the websites where links are placed?”
  • “Will the agency claim any proprietary rights to their entire SEO approach they followed to drive good results for you?”

These are the most important questions you should ask a local SEO agency, even if you plan on working together for the long term.

31. What is the expected Timeframe to achieve results?

The local SEO agency you plan to hire should not have a rough timeline to show measurable and effective SEO results.
You should ask questions like:
“How long will it take for us to see meaningful results?” “What kind of ROI can I expect after a month of working with you?”
Although these answers cannot be black and white, the agency should be able to provide you with solid answers.
A lot depends on your potential investing right at the beginning, even though they do not guarantee any results in SEO.
Have enough information at the outset. It can help you make an informed decision in hiring a good local SEO agency.

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Joseph Schneider

He has spent more than 12 Years in strategising and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested to writing Digital-marketing, PPC and Social Media Marketing related topics.


Joseph Schneider

He has spent more than 12 Years in strategising and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested to writing Digital-marketing, PPC and Social Media Marketing related topics.