How to Choose the Right SEO Agency

Are you looking to outsource your SEO needs, but not sure how to choose the right SEO agency? It’s understandable. SEO should be one of the most important aspects of your business’ marketing strategy, but building an SEO strategy takes time and expertise that you may not have in-house. By understanding your SEO needs and asking the right questions of your SEO agency, you can be sure to make the right selection at the right time.


SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of getting traffic organically (as opposed to paid ads) through search results on search engines. 92% of all adults use search engines to find information online and an overwhelming 75% of users never scroll past the first page. Failure to adequately optimize your site, means that you are missing out on hundreds of customers daily who are searching for terms related to your business.


Developing competency in search engine optimization is no small task. There are many factors to consider including site structure, on-site page optimization, link building, and more. Depending on your stage of growth and business priorities, it may make more sense to outsource your SEO. Unlike some other marketing tactics, SEO is a long-tail strategy. You build credibility and rank within the search engines over time, so it’s better to get started ASAP on building a solid foundation and improving your SEO strategy.


Choosing the wrong SEO agency can have devastating consequences that can impact your business long after you’ve gotten rid of them. This is why it is of the utmost importance to ask the right questions when considering any SEO agency. We can help you identify the best firm for your needs, budget, and growth goals.

Here are some considerations to take into account when vetting any SEO agency:

Qualifying Questions:

  • What is your SEO Process? All reputable firms will stick to white hat tactics and be up to date with the newest changes in the SEO industry. Be wary of SEO firms who say they can improve your rankings overnight.
  • How do you go about identifying and pursuing back linking opportunities? Closely related to the question above- avoid any black hat tactics.
  • How will you communicate and/or track any changes that need to be made to our site? You will need to provide website access to the firm and you should maintain full visibility into any changes they plan to make. If an agency says they track changes internally, be very wary.
  • Can you provide examples of past clients that you have worked with? Are you comfortable with me reaching out for a reference?
  • What are your contract terms & conditions of service?
  • What services and reporting are covered under this agreement?
  • Do you charge for basic advice?
  • What do you charge for an SEO audit and additional services?

Questions the SEO Agency May Ask You:

  • What is your current strategy? What’s working well and what isn’t?
  • What are your main goals?
  • What is your timeframe for results?
  • Do you have an idea of what keywords you are looking to rank for?
  • Who do you see as your major competitors?
  • How do you currently produce and edit content?
  • With what frequency do you produce content?
  • Can you provide access to your web stats or Google Analytics account? 
  • What do your other marketing strategies look like?


This largely varies depending on the scope of what you are looking for. Moz ran a survey in 2011 and asked over 600+ SEO consultants, agencies, and firms across a variety of countries about their pricing model. They found that by-the-project pricing was more popular than hourly and ranged from $1,000-$7,500. For Hourly rates, they seem to vary between $76-$200/hour. Most SEO agencies also offer monthly retainers.

Contract Terms:

As mentioned above this largely varies based on pricing model and expectations. Determine what your business goals are, what role SEO plays, and what your budget specifications are to determine which pricing model and contract terms make the most sense for you.


Ask to speak with businesses in similar industries, of similar size, and with similar SEO needs. If possible, try to find a client that they may not list as a reference to evaluate their work.