B2B marketing is often highly complex, with long buyer cycles and high-risk decision making. B2B marketers need to be highly tactical in order to meet business goals. Successful B2B marketing requires a deep understanding of the business’ products and/or services, target audience, and their customers’ journey.
To keep and exceed pace with competitors, B2B marketers often need to partner with a qualified SEO company. This means the SEO company not only has a deep understanding of search marketing, but also demonstrates alignment with your business. In order for you to execute on complex marketing campaigns, you need to be confident in your SEO company’s ability to understand your business’ trajectory.
What are the key credentials you should look for to determine that this SEO company is a “best fit” for your business? What questions should you ask to help you determine if they have the industry experience, talent, and technology needed to grow your business?
In your next interview to qualify an SEO company, include these five questions:
Question 1: How long has your SEO company been in business?
Working with a startup has its risks. You can’t be sure that company will still be around next year or next month, or won’t get acquired by a misaligned holding company. The right SEO company will be able to demonstrate a strong track record of success.
If this information is readily available on the SEO company’s website or LinkedIn profile, you may consider gaining deeper insights into the following:
- Have they worked with web design/development teams?
- Have they developed long-term, successful digital marketing strategies?
- Are they experienced with SEO, PPC management and social media marketing?
- Can they provide samples of high-quality content they’ve produces that converts visitors into sales?
- Do they understand how to leverage social media to boost search rankings?
Question 2: Can you show me case studies of real B2B clients?
Ask the SEO company to share real-life performance results they’ve achieved for businesses similar to yours. If all their case studies are predominantly healthcare and you run a software business, they may not be a good match for you.
Once you review their case studies, verify the results and stats. Google page #1 rankings are a great start, but also look for increases in site traffic, leads, and quality conversions.
More than just a star-rating, you should also be able to read feedback from actual clients, whether found on the company’s website, on Google, or through other verified agency review sites. Or, better yet, request contact information of actual clients to interview yourself.
Question 3: How do you approach SEO for B2B clients differently than other industries?
The answer to this question is critical to understanding how the SEO company will strategize around your business goals. The SEO company should be able to provide examples of how they have helped other B2B clients achieve success at 3-6-9-12 months of an SEO campaign.
In their response, look for evidence that the company understands complex buyer journeys and how to reach your target audience at each stage of the sales funnel. They should use this to guide keyword research and present you with the best options for targeting when you begin your partnership.
Question 4: Can I meet your team?
In addition to the salesperson, it’s helpful to meet members of the team who will be working on your account. From technical SEO, to content development, to link-building, to performance analysis and reporting, getting SEO right requires a multitude of skill sets. Get to know their experts’ professional backgrounds. See how long they’ve been with the company. Are they certified in Google Analytics? If you’re using PPC, are they certified in Google Ads?
You may also request a general outline of the day-to-day activities of the team working on your account. What is each person’s role? Do they specialize in one thing, or do they work on multiple areas at the same time? Ideally, each person will be a specialist in one particular area.
Question 5: How long will it take for our SEO strategy to produce results?
Achieving top organic search engine rankings for highly competitive keywords takes time, technical experience, cutting-edge tools, hard work, and often out-of-the box creative thinking.
To avoid disappointment, the smart move is to work with an SEO company that’s willing to perform an up-front technical analysis of your website along with competitive keyword research. Then provide you an honest assessment with reasonable goals and a clear action plan.
Beware of any SEO company that guarantees page #1 Google rankings.
Google clearly states that no company can guarantee a #1 ranking on their search engine. Any company that makes such a promise is either intentionally trying to mislead you or is simply incompetent. Either way, they’re setting themselves (and you) up to fail.
Get an honest assessment about the competitive nature of your target keywords and the amount of time and work required to achieve top organic search engine rankings.
The RIGHT SEO company for you…
If the SEO company cannot answer all of these questions without hesitation and to your satisfaction, keep looking.
Remember, you’re looking for an SEO company that will work as an extension to your team and a true partner to your business. Consider asking these questions when it’s time to hire your SEO company, you will increase your odds of meeting your business goals.