Many companies claim to be in the SEO business, or SEO consultants, but their level of expertise varies. Picking the wrong one can result in wasted time or money and can result in problems as extreme as search engines deindexing your site. Deindexing means that your site can’t even be found using search engines. Questions to Ask Before you consider hiring any company, prepare a list of questions to ask. First, get clear on the scope of services being offered. Will the service include an analysis of the sites of your competitors? Understanding the competition allows you to have better ranking than they have for critical keywords. Also, find out if their work includes a review of your site’s on-page optimization. On-page optimization includes an analysis of such site attributes as design and internal links. Ask who will be writing the content for your site. Are you expected to do that or will the SEO firm do that for you? If they will, are full time employees do the writing or will it be outsourced? Ask to see writing samples of work done for other clients. What specific activities will the SEO company perform for you? For example, will they be using social media to promote your company? Will the company list you in important directories? For example, if you are a local company, will they list you in important local directories in your area? Ask for examples you can reference about the specific results the SEO firm has obtained for other clients. Obtain at least five SEO firm client references you can call to get feedback on the quality and effectiveness of the services provided. Independent Research to Conduct Check with third party sources about the company. First, search for the company on the internet and through social media. Verify with the Better Business Bureau whether any complaints against the company have been put on record. Confirm how long the company has been in business. Points to Consider in Your Agreement with an SEO Firm Before signing any agreement, clearly define the goals of an SEO project and how progress will be measured. When you finally select an SEO firm, make sure the agreement is clear on the scope of the work to be performed. Are the services to be provided clearly specified and is there a defined term for the agreement? Make sure delivery dates and milestones for the firm’s work are clearly specified. When it comes to hiring a firm to do SEO work for you, evaluate more than one company and make sure you fully investigate those companies.