What to ask any Google AdWords or SEO provider before parting with your hard earned cash

December 23, 2015

Each week my inbox receives unsolicited emails advertising SEO or Google Adword services despite the strong anti-spam filters from my internet service provider.

As much as we may be tempted to engage the services of these, in many cases, ‘discount’ providers, or any other unknown SEO or Google Adword specialist, we need to be cautious. Many providers either don’t deliver results or use black hat or ‘cheat’ SEO techniques. Using such techniques will, in a matter of time ensure that you receive that dreaded Google slap and disappear from the world’s largest search engine.

SEO isn’t something that happens overnight. Anyone telling you this is someone that you should beware of. Similarly directly asking an SEO provider if they use black or grey hat SEO techniques in many instances won’t give you an honest answer if they are indeed practicing these. Why, because if they are trying to cheat the search engines for their gain, then why wouldn’t they also be trying to cheat you for the same? The bottom line is you just can’t be sure.

Questions to ask a prospective SEO provider

So how do you differentiate a dodgy provider from the reliable ones?

The best way is to ask them a few questions to find out as much as you can about them such as…

How long have you been in business and practicing SEO?
Can you give me your Australian ABN?
What is your address? (you can verify this by looking it up on Google Street view or Google Maps)
Can you provide me with three current references that I can call for confirmation of service that you have provided them?
Do you have samples of reports to show me and how frequently do you provide them?
Is there a lock-in or fixed term contract? (beware of contracts, a reputable specialist won’t need a contract to keep you as a customer, rather their results should).
Do you “outsource” any of your work?

If you are engaging someone for yourGoogle AdWords campaign then you should also ask them the following questions
Do you have any Google certification?
Can you provide me with a link to your Google Partner profile on Google’s website?
What is your total monthly Google ad-spend that you manage for clients? (You can ask for confirmation of this with a screen capture from their Google Mission Control Centre)

If you are using an existing Google AdWords provider ask them for the following.
What are your goals for our campaign, where appropriate
Can you provide me with read access to my Google Analytics and AdWords account? (This will enable you to confirm that the money you spend with them goes to Google and not the agency)
Can you provide me with read access to my Google AdWords account?
What exposure to Google Shopping, Display ads and Google Remarketing, if any that I am getting, if it is appropriate?
What about negative keywords, can you provide me with a copy of these? (Negative keywords enables more accurate and targeted results)
Can you supply me with a list of your bid adjustments?

You can also ask additional SEO questions or requirements for existing or proposed providers such as:
Do you provide a “no obligation” audit that clearly shows SEO areas of concern that need to be addressed for my website?
Do you provide keyword positioning performance or reports on Google SERP’s on a monthly basis?
Will I hold ownership of all content that is created on my behalf and have access to any publication platforms or blogs that have been created, including passwords and usernames?
If necessary are you able to implement website changes to my site?

By asking the above questions you should be able to get a good idea of who you are dealing with and whether they are a credible provider or not.

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