4-minute read

Search engine optimization has become one of the biggest jobs and determinants for content creation in blogs and websites. But before you hire an SEO expert, you must research the potential advantages and disadvantages that so-called SEO “expert” can do to your site. Learn the ten questions every company should ask before they hire an SEO specialist, along with the ten biggest red flags to be aware of. A local SEO agency provides Chicago businesses with services ranging from:

  • Reviewing & maintaining your site content and structure
  • Providing technical advice on web development
  • Rolling out a content strategy and timeline
  • Managing your online business development campaigns
  • Researching useful keywords
  • Tracking results, setting up goals, and reporting on progress
  • Educating your staff on SEO best practices


Your SEO Agency Should Understand How Search Engines Actually Work

SEO experts understand that organic search results will provide more quality traffic than paid advertisements such as Google Adwords. Also, better quality leads at a cheaper cost, which in return will lower your overall cost-per-acquisition. Google and Bing do not accept money to rank sites in their own search engines, and organic search results help lower the risk of being marked as spam and completely removed from the rankings. SEO is a long-term goal that keeps building momentum over time, whereas Adwords pay-per-click (PPC) is a short-term strategy that stops producing results once the money dries up. To understand more about search algorithms and how they find websites, check out our recent blog post, “How Google Search Works”.


The Right Questions to Ask When Hiring Your Chicago SEO Expert

It is never too early to hire an SEO expert. The best time is to hire one is when you are considering redesigning your website or planning to launch a brand new site. Even if you are past that stage, an experienced SEO agency can improve an existing site’s exposure.


10 questions to consider when hiring an SEO agency in Chicago:

  1. Do you have live examples or case studies of previous clients?
  2. Do you understand Google’s SEO and quality guidelines?
  3. How do search engines actually find, categorize, and rank pages?
  4. Do search engines rank websites or web pages? (Answer = web pages).
  5. Do you offer online marketing services to complement your organic search strategy?
  6. What type of results do you expect to see for our website, and how long do you plan for it to take? What are your key performance indicators so we know?
  7. What is your experience in our specific industry and our geographical region (country or city)?
  8. What are the most important SEO techniques in your opinion?
  9. How many years have you been in business?
  10. What is your main form of communication? How often will you update us on changes to the website, and will you provide real-time recommendations for us if the SEO strategy needs to change?

PRO TIP: Even though a strategy was developed in advance, no one can know for sure what’s going to happen with Bing & Google’s search algorithms in the future. If there are certain aspects not performing or you were hit with a penalty, your SEO expert needs to make adjustments on the fly (this takes a little time). Some agencies will refuse to adjust because they rather just go down a checklist to save time and maximize profits.


Watch Out for SEO Scams, Deceiving Tactics, & False Guarantees

Although many SEO agencies provide high-quality services to their Chicago businesses, some SEO experts have been known to create unethical processes to manipulate search engine results. Plus, switch up the types of data they report to you to mask bad performance, such as bounce rate and audience location (example: if you’re an appliance repair company in Chicago, traffic from China or California won’t help you much).

Please note that these bad behaviors can raise the risk of Google & Bing considering your website as spam and removing your web pages from search results altogether.

If you believe that the SEO expert you hired is deceiving you in any way, you may report them to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States by visiting http://www.ftc.gov/ and filing a complaint online, or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.


10 red flags that a legit SEO agency would never do:

  1. Guaranteed #1 ranking scam (NO ONE CAN).
  2. Sends you an email, out of the blue, to offer their services.
  3. Does not clearly tell you what their SEO intentions are for your website.
  4. Makes you send payments to a PO Box or a different company name.
  5. Owns shadow domains – domains that funnel users to a site by using deceptive redirects. The SEO experts themselves usually own these domains and claim to be working on them for another client.
  6. Puts links to other clients on doorway pages – these pages are rarely relevant to your company’s keywords, and they usually contain hidden links to irrelevant sources, which drain away the link popularity of your site.
  7. Offers to sell keywords or buy links.
  8. Operates under multiple aliases (check out their domain registrant here at WHOIS.com).
  9. Doesn’t offer online marketing services to weave into their SEO services.
  10. Refuses to work closely with your sales team. Marketing and sales need to work together to maintain lead quality and get you the best return on your investment.

For more information on the best practices that will increase your search rankings organically with quality SEO strategies, check out our FREE eBook below. If you’re interested in finding the right online marketing partner for your company, see what Tag Marketing Chicago has to offer. You can also view other top Chicago SEO companies here.



eBook About Getting Found Online Through SEO