Some business owners think that B2B SEO is overrated. The reason is that they’ve never worked with a top-notch B2B SEO agency.
It’s not a secret that all marketing tricks become less efficient with time. That’s why agencies that don’t stay on top of their game often can’t achieve the same results as before.
The key to B2B SEO is regular development and improvement. Regardless of the niche, SEO can be highly effective but only when done right.
Today, the demand for B2B SEO services is high. Where there is demand, there is supply. Business owners struggle to find the right B2B SEO company and often fail, getting lost in offers.
It’s vital to realize that searching for an ideal service provider may take time. But the hours, days or even weeks you spend on the selection are an investment in the future of your business.
In this article, you’ll learn how to choose an SEO agency and which questions to ask to make the final decision.
How To Choose a B2B SEO Company
These tips can help you select several candidates for an interview.
1. Ask Around
The best reviews come from people you know personally. So before going any further, ask your coworkers, partners, friends, and family members about their experience. Perhaps, someone has already done the research for you and found a top-notch B2B SEO agency.
However, even though live reviews are an excellent way to find a company, they shouldn’t be the only way. You can consider using a few of the below tips to find a couple of other candidates for comparison.
2. Search Online
Top-notch companies that know the power of SEO for B2B have a strong online presence. By using such resources as Google, Yelp, and Yellow Pages, you can find extensive information about providers that suit your needs.
Respectable online resources usually have genuine client reviews about the service provider to help you form an opinion. They can also give you a link to a website so you can find more information.
Pay special attention to the company’s website. SEO providers know about the importance of user experience. The website should:
- Have a simple navigation
- Offer quick contact options (preferably live chat)
- List client reviews
- Provide valuable information
- List past projects or clients
If you aren’t happy with the way the website works, you may want to consider other options.
3. Define Your Budget
All SEO agencies have different pricing options and models. Location, services provided, project complexity, and much more could affect the cost of B2B SEO services. Before scheduling an interview, define your budget. How much are you willing to spend on SEO in the next year?
It’s important to understand that SEO is an ongoing process, not a short-term project. B2B SEO best practices involve constant promotional efforts. From content creation to link building, you need the services to be provided continuously.
So when planning your budget, you have to figure out how much you are ready to pay for SEO monthly or annually. Based on that information, you can eliminate a few candidates.
4. Connect with Past or Existing Clients
Before you meet the representatives in person, you can ask them to help you contact previous clients. While reviews you find online are nice, it’s always better to speak with a client in person. Have a list of questions ready to make the conversation short yet informative. The first reaction to your questions is always the most important one.
How happy are they with the services of a company you’ve chosen? Did they face any unexpected hidden fees? Did the SEO team help make improvements, increase revenue, and raise brand awareness? Are these people comfortable to work with?
It’s worth remembering that opinions are subjective. So it’s better to get more than a couple before making the final decision.
5. Consider Location
Many business owners make the mistake of searching for a local B2B SEO agency. In the 21st century, remote collaboration has become an integral part of virtually any business. However, some people still limit themselves to working with companies in their vicinity.
When it comes to SEO, remote collaboration is highly efficient. There is no need to look for a company in your area. All of the work will be done remotely anyway. Meanwhile, depending on the location, you may not always have a good choice of companies with fair price lists.
If you don’t limit yourself to your city, the possibilities of finding a top-notch B2B SEO company grow tremendously.
6. Check Out Their Marketing Efforts
To learn more about the team you are about to hire, find out how well it markets itself. Besides checking out the website, you can visit their social media accounts. Also, take the time to read their blog. How well written is it? Would you trust their content creators to write for your website?
A strong B2B SEO agency should be doing an outstanding job marketing itself. If the company’s Twitter posts are outdated, it doesn’t have a Facebook account or hasn’t listed itself on Yelp, it should raise a red flag.
By figuring out how well the company promotes itself, you can make a conclusion about its professionalism. You can also do the same type of research about its past or existing clients.
7. Schedule an Interview
Once you have a list of potential candidates, schedule an interview with each one of them. Remember, interviews may take time. But the more information you get, the more chances you have of making the right decision.
While shooting questions during an interview, ask yourself how comfortable you feel speaking to these people. Remember, you’d have to work with them side by side for months or maybe years. If something seems off, consider other candidates. Personal comfort is highly important for productive collaboration.
10 Questions to Ask an SEO Company
When you schedule an interview, you should have questions ready. While asking them, pay close attention to the representatives’ reaction. Answers should be straightforward and to the point. If you hear any hesitation, ask to clarify.
1. Do you use a white hat B2B SEO strategy?
You may think that a respectable company is using a white hat approach by default. However, some service providers may be taking advantage of grey methods.
These days, black hat SEO can be dangerous for the reputation of your company. By violating the terms of service set by search engines, you are risking a ban.
Even though black hat SEO methods may sometimes be highly effective in the short term, in the long run the risk is too high to take. So be sure to ask a straightforward question about the matter.
2. What are your fees?
Even if you’ve checked fees in advance, it’s important to discuss the subject in person. All agencies have different payment structures. Some may charge per hour while others have monthly fees. Sometimes, you would have to sign a contract for a fixed number of months.
Ask what the fees are and make sure to understand which services you are getting for this price. If the cost seems too high or too low, take the time after the interview to compare it to what other companies offer. Make sure to choose a provider with competitive prices.
An interview is an excellent time to look at the contract. Ask to see a sample contract and study it. Do you understand and agree with it? Are there any questionable points?
Don’t forget to ask about hidden fees. A straightforward question like that could give you valuable information.
3. Who will be working on my project?
How big is the company you want to hire? While a small company may offer a personalized approach, it could be too busy to react to your needs in a timely manner. Ask about the number of employees. How many of them will be dealing with your project directly? How many clients is the company working with simultaneously?
Ask if you’ll have a personal representative, whom you can contact at any time (during work hours) to check the progress of your campaign. At the same time, find out if the company hires subcontractors to deal with some of the SEO issues.
4. When can I see my website on the first page of Google search?
This is a tricky question. It’s important to understand that a B2B SEO agency can’t guarantee you such a thing. No matter how hard they work, the results are often tough to predict, especially when it comes to timeframes.
So if a company makes any promises in response to such a question, it should raise a red flag. Instead, a respectable company can refer to past results and discuss the preliminary B2B SEO strategy for businesses similar to yours.
5. How often do you provide reports?
Since SEO is an ongoing process, you may not notice the results for some time. How can you see that the service provider is doing its work? You should be getting reports. Find out what the reporting system offered by the candidate entails.
Will you get weekly progress reports? Or perhaps the company will make a list of goals and report on achieving each one? Is there be a person responsible for reporting or do you get automated reports from the team?
Make sure the reporting system is clear and satisfies your needs.
6. What are the penalties for terminating the contract?
Even if your B2B SEO agency is doing an excellent job promoting your company, you may still want to terminate the contract before it’s over. Numerous reasons can force you to do that, from financial difficulties to changing the direction the business is taking.
Find out what you would have to do and how much would you pay for contract termination. If the “opt-out” process is complex and costly, you may want to think twice before agreeing. You should always protect yourself against force majeure situations.
7. What services do you offer?
This may seem to be a strange question, especially if the company lists its services online. However, the reality can often be different from what you see on the website. So make sure the company provides services needed for your business.
Meanwhile, ask if the provider has done SEO for B2B for companies similar to yours. Different niches require different SEO approaches. While a top-notch company can adjust to any niche, it’s always nice to work with a team that has certain niche specialization.
8. What do you plan to do to increase traffic to my website?
Even though the company doesn’t have extensive information about your business yet, the representative should give you a preliminary plan. Experienced SEO specialists can draft an approximate SEO B2B strategy on the spot.
Of course, you shouldn’t expect any details, but you can check out how well team members know their work.
9. How do you go about link building?
Link building is one of the most efficient B2B SEO strategies. However, when it comes to tight deadlines, it’s easy to start using black hat methods. This question can help you figure out whether the company is well versed in white hat link building.
The best approach to white hat link building is creating top-notch content that can attract natural links. Can the company offer such services?
10. What are the weak points of your strategy?
Here is another tricky question. Remember, ideal strategies don’t exist. Each one comes with a couple of weak points. If the provider is ready to admit them, you can expect genuine and straightforward communication with the company in the future.
If you hear about a perfect strategy that brings results in 100% of cases, consider looking for other candidates.
Final Thoughts on Finding the Best B2B SEO Agency
Choosing a B2B SEO agency may be tough and time-consuming. The above tips can help simplify the process. Don’t expect to find the ideal candidate in one day. Remember, the time you spend searching is an investment in excellent promotional efforts.