Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can help businesses of all shapes and sizes significantly increase their website's online visibility and help generate more qualified leads.


But with so many SEO agencies out there, choosing the right one can feel overwhelming. If you're on the hunt for an SEO agency to help you with your online presence, asking the right questions is key.


The key to a successful SEO campaign lies in finding an agency that aligns with your specific goals and uses effective strategies. In this blog post, we'll be sharing 10 questions that you should ask an SEO agency before deciding to hire one.


Why Ask an SEO Agency Some Questions Before Hiring Them?


The truth is there are thousands of SEO agencies out there, and not all of them actually know what they're doing. If you just look at Clutch or any other digital agency directory, you won't have a shortage of options.


For instance, if you search for SEO agencies in a city like Austin, you'll find there are more than 360 firms listed.

seo agencies in austin


Because of the vast number of SEO agencies to choose from, it's important to find one that fits your business the best.


Here's are some reasons why you should ask an SEO agency questions before hiring them:


  • Uncover Expertise and Strategy: SEO is a complex field with ever-evolving best practices. By asking questions, you can assess the agency's knowledge of SEO best practices, their understanding of your target audience, and the specific strategies they'll implement to achieve your goals.
  • Align Expectations and Communication Style: A successful SEO campaign requires ongoing communication and collaboration. Asking questions helps you understand the agency's communication style, reporting frequency, and level of transparency. This ensures your expectations are aligned and fosters a smooth working relationship.
  • Avoid Unrealistic Promises and Black-Hat Tactics: Be wary of agencies guaranteeing top search engine rankings overnight or promising quick fixes through unethical SEO tactics.  The right questions will help you identify red flags and ensure the agency focuses on long-term, sustainable SEO strategies that comply with search engine guidelines.
  • Find the Perfect Fit for Your Business: Not all SEO agencies are created equal.  Some specialize in specific industries, while others offer broader services. Asking targeted questions allows you to identify an agency with proven experience in your industry and a deep understanding of your unique needs.


Now, let's move onto the actual questions you can ask an SEO agency when considering them as a service provider for your business.


Have You Worked with Clients in My Industry?


Understanding an SEO agency's previous experience within your industry is quite important when outsourcing SEO.


Every industry has its own unique audience, language, and set of competitors. An agency with experience in your industry will possess a deeper understanding of these nuances.


For instance, let's imagine you own a dental practice in a large city. Who do you think would be able to give you the best results: an SEO agency specializing in SEO for dentists or a general SEO agency that has no experience in the industry?

dentist marketing agency


In addition to that, an agency with industry experience can hit the ground running. They'll already have a working knowledge of your industry's target audience, search intent, and potential challenges.


This translates to quicker campaign implementation and faster time to results.


Why Should I Hire You?


It might seem like a straightforward question, but this question is a great starting point for your conversation with an SEO agency.


This question pushes the agency to clearly "sell" the value they bring to the table.They should be able to explain how their specific approach, experience, and team will benefit your business in a way that sets them apart from competitors.


If you're worried that this question is a little upfront and in the face, don't worry. A confident and experienced agency will see this question as an opportunity to showcase their strengths and successful track record.


What Can I Expect in Terms of Deliverables?


When vetting potential SEO agencies, asking about deliverables is important because it helps you gain clarity on the services, outcomes, and timelines you can expect from a vendor.


This could include keyword research reports, on-page optimization recommendations, content creation plans, link-building strategies, and regular SEO performance reports.


Beware of agencies that offer vague or ambiguous answers when discussing deliverables. A reputable agency will be transparent about the specific tasks they'll be tackling and the reports you'll receive to monitor progress.


SEO is a dynamic field influenced by numerous variables, and ethical agencies focus on strategy and best practices rather than promises of instant success.


What is Your SEO Pricing Model?


Understanding an SEO agency's pricing model is important for making informed budgetary decisions.

seo pricing


The most common agency pricing models are:


  • Retainer-based pricing model
  • Hourly-based pricing model
  • Project-based pricing model


SEO services can vary greatly in cost depending on the agency's experience, the scope of work, and your specific needs. Knowing the agency's pricing model allows you to compare costs effectively and determine which option best fits your budget.


What Will You Need from Me?


A clear understanding of what's expected from both parties ensures a smooth working relationship. Knowing what materials or information the agency needs allows you to prepare internally and streamline the process.


This could involve providing access to the following:


  • Website analytics
  • Competitor research
  • Target audience data
  • Content creation resources


How do You Communicate with Your Clients, and How Often Can I Expect Reports?


Clear communication and regular updates are essential for any successful business relationship.


This question helps you understand how the agency typically interacts with clients. Do they favor email updates, phone calls, project management tools, or a combination?


Regular reporting is crucial for tracking progress and understanding the impact of your SEO efforts. Knowing how often you can expect reports allows you to stay informed about campaign performance and hold the agency accountable for achieving your goals.


How Soon Will I See SEO Results?


A reputable agency will never guarantee specific results or overnight success. However, they should be able to provide a rough time frame for when you might start to see improvements in website traffic, leads, or conversions.


The best SEO strategies focus on long-term, sustainable results. While you might see some initial improvements within a few months, achieving significant ranking boosts and organic traffic growth typically takes 3-6 months or even longer.


How Do You Define SEO Success?


Before diving headfirst into an SEO campaign, it's crucial to ensure you and the agency are on the same page about what success looks like.


A successful SEO campaign relies on measurable results. Knowing how the agency defines success allows you to identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) they'll track and use to gauge progress. 


These KPIs might include organic traffic growth, keyword rankings, conversion rates, or brand mentions.


Look out for agencies that define success solely on achieving top search engine rankings for a handful of keywords. True SEO success goes beyond rankings and focuses on driving qualified traffic, user engagement, and ultimately, conversions or revenue growth for your business.


Can You Please Provide Some References & Results of Previous Clients?


Client references and case studies offer valuable insights into the agency's past performance and their ability to deliver results.

case study example


Try to request case studies that showcase success stories in industries similar to yours.  This will give you a better understanding of the agency's experience and expertise in your specific field.


Don't be afraid to reach out to previous clients for references. Speaking directly with references enables you to validate the agency's claims, understand their approach to collaboration, and assess their ability to meet expectations.


What Happens When I Terminate Our Contract?


While entering into an SEO partnership requires optimism and a focus on long-term success, unforeseen circumstances can arise that may require you to terminate the contract and break ties with the agency.


A reputable SEO agency will have a clear and fair termination clause outlined in their contract.  Knowing the terms upfront ensures transparency and avoids any confusion or potential disputes should you decide to end the partnership early.


The termination clause should clarify who owns the rights to completed SEO work (e.g., content, reports) and any data collected during the campaign. This ensures you retain ownership of valuable assets you can leverage even after the partnership concludes.


The contract should outline any fees or outstanding payments due in the event of termination.


But, Can't I do SEO Myself?


The answer is yes, absolutely! There are numerous resources available online to teach you SEO best practices and strategies.


However, keep in mind that SEO is a complex and ever-evolving field. Staying up-to-date on the latest algorithms and industry trends requires some time and dedication.


Here's where SEOptimer can be incredibly valuable.  SEOptimer is a comprehensive SEO audit and reporting tool used by thousands of digital marketing agencies worldwide. 

seoptimer homepage


Why not leverage the same powerful tools that the pros use?


SEOptimer offers a suite of features designed to simplify and streamline your SEO efforts, including:


  • SEO Auditing: Uncover technical SEO issues and identify areas for improvement on your website.
  • Keyword Tracking: Monitor your website's ranking for relevant keywords and track your progress over time.
  • Keyword Research: Discover new keyword opportunities to target and expand your organic reach.
  • Backlink Research: Analyze your backlink profile and identify opportunities to build high-quality links.
  • Backlink Monitoring: Stay on top of your backlink profile and track any changes or potential issues.

backlink research




Choosing the right SEO agency is crucial for achieving long-term online success. By asking an SEO agency the right questions before you hire them, you can gain valuable insights into an agency's experience, approach, and communication style.