Before selecting a white label SEO company, you need to do your homework and have some valid questions prepared and on hand! Watch this Daily Brown Bag where we break down what to look for when you're in the process of selecting a white label SEO company. You'll learn the ten basic and very beneficial questions that you should ask to help you find an SEO reseller company that is best for you!

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Hello and welcome to The Daily Brown Bag. Today we're going to be talking about questions that you should ask your white label SEO firm. I'm Chad Hill and I'm joined by Adam Stetzer.

Yeah. Good morning, Chad. Welcome to the Brown Bag. You're out shopping for an outsource partner. We want to give you this quick hit list, it's going to be really really helpful for you as you try to pick a white label SEO reseller that's going to really help you grow, meet your revenue objectives and maintain your customers. So Chad, let's get right into this. We're going to go back and forth, rapid fire.

Basic Questions to Ask A White Label SEO Firm:

1. What is your approach to improving rankings & increasing brand awareness?

And here's a few tips for what you should look for in the answer. You should be hearing things like SEO is a long-term game. It's not something that's going to happen real quick. If you're hearing them say, "Yeah, 30 days I can get you results," you should run away from that firm. You should hearing things like content marketing, which we're going to talk about in a second, making an investment and setting appropriate customer expectations, all telling you that the firm understands that this is not something you can do in 30 or 60 days.

2. Do you offer an SEO guarantee?

And this is one that you absolutely, well, you should ask the question and then see what the answer is. Generally speaking, there is really no way to guarantee SEO. You're talking about how to help a client rank in Google. Google's a third party, their algorithms are always changing, so be very wary of someone who says that they're guaranteeing ranking or anything within 60 or 90 days.

Historically, those types of guarantees have always been on keywords that really have no traffic and no volume. And so if someone's guaranteeing to get you rankings on something that really doesn't bring traffic to your client, of course that's a bad way to start things. So be very wary and there's definitely lots of help and here is a link to read more about why SEO guarantees are bad.

Awesome. Okay. So you're feeling pretty good about this white label SEO firm, you want to dig a little deeper.

3. How do you handle content marketing, is it a part of your strategies?

Sort of building on question one. So if you get an answer like, "Well, content marketing, we don't do that." Okay, that's a bad sign. In 2015 headed into 2016, content marketing, SEO, PR, they're all merging very rapidly, social media, they're all starting to mix together in very real ways. There's a lot of debate. You can watch things from Rand and Moz and Whiteboard Friday about what actually brings the links in the search engines, but the right way to do SEO is high-quality content. That's definitely going to be part of a good white label SEO company. You want to hear a lot about that when you're interviewing them.

4. How does your company respond to Google changes?

It's a great one because there are a lot of changes happening constantly in Google. I think sometimes the industry wants to hype it up a little bit more than the reality, but there are changes. And I think the bottom line is you want to always make sure that your company is researching, is running tests and beta programs to understand how different tactics can lead to better results.

I think the other thing you want to do is always look for a company that's thinking about building and handling a diversified online marketing program, whether that be across the different disciplines like paid search, SEO, social media, and then more specifically within SEO, that they're not really doing too much of any one thing because again at some point in the future, a tactic that works today stops working, you don't want to have all of your eggs in that one basket. You want to have a more diversified plan.

5. How do you measure progress and results?

Seems easy, right? You're talking to a white label SEO company, they should say rankings. Well, it's not really that easy. Some firms are really focused on seo rankings. Other firms are focused on bringing you business in leads and that may be attractive to you or may not depending on the types of leads you get, some leads are really junk.

Other firms are into third camp entirely, where they're just focused on the work activity where they're very a la carte and you might give them $50 and they give you two spammy blog comments and say we did exactly what we said we were going to do. So the definition of progress and results is going to be different by firm.

We tend to favor a more consultative approach where someone is available, in your time zone, speaks your language, and they're going to talk you through picking keywords and consulting with clients and growing your sales. But that may not be what you're looking for, maybe more expensive than the a la carte just buying a crappy link, which of course we would never recommend. Again, ask the question, how do you measure progress and results?

6. How will I or my clients track campaigns?

It's a great question. There are a lot of different approaches to this. In our case, we a lot of software that is very transparent to what's actually happening from a rankings and traffic standpoint as well as the deliverables. But you'll find a wide range of different approaches.

Some people are very focused on just reporting on the deliverables, not very focused on giving you the results of those deliverables in terms of are they moving the rankings and the traffic. Other firms are maybe just giving you rankings and not really telling you a whole lot about what they're actually doing. You're concerned with that because you want to know what's actually happening. You're on the hook for your client and what the deliverables are. So again, ask the question, how you're going to get information and reports back because you'll see a wide range of answers.

7. How will your firm communicate with my team?

Really, really important again because if you're shopping just on price, you might find, well, they're offshore and they're not available on my time zone. If you need someone to really jump on the phone and actually get a human to help you, that's going to put you in a different ballpark in terms of what white label SEO firms you should be talking to versus if you're just purely shopping on price. Nothing wrong with that, just know that going in.

Some will have very well developed software and say, well, you just put in a ticket. Well then, that's fine if that's what you're looking for, but ask questions. What's your average turnaround time? Is there an SLA on that ticket? Will I hear back within 30 minutes, within one hour? Start to get to know how you will communicate so your expectations are appropriate going in. You'll be happier when you make that selection.

8. What training and resources do you offer?

So this again you're going to see a wide range of answers here. We take very much, an approach of we want to educate our resellers on not only the latest trends in online marketing but teaching them some of the fundamentals because the more people understand about the services -- SEO, paid search, social media -- the better they're going to be able to get out and be a trusted digital media adviser and that's going to allow them to improve their close rate. But you want to ask questions.

  • What kinds of things do you offer?

  • Do you have webinars where you're doing training?

  • Is there any upfront training on both maybe your software as well as the methodologies and proposals you're putting together?

Then, look for other assets that you might be able to use to educate your client. So things like eBooks that might be coming out, one-pagers, anything else, proposals that they might be providing that's going to help you be more effective at being a pro at SEO and then ultimately passing that information along to your client.

9. What is your customer service process and what is your availability?

I've just done this a little bit at number seven. Dig a little deeper. How do you raise a trouble ticket? What are the hours of your firm? Will I have a dedicated account manager or will I be dealing with the customer service pool or is this a small firm and it's just the owners could be responding to all the questions? That may be okay, but what happens when they go on vacation or get sick?

So again, you want to ask these questions when you're in the interview process upfront before you make your selection so you know what to expect.

10. What is the payment schedule and is there a contract?

Again, these are really important to know upfront going in. How are you going to do business with your partner. So again, there's a lot of different approaches here. You want to understand the cost when payments are due, what the initial term is, what's the process for putting in a termination notice. Because really the most important thing is, in most cases you can work around coming up with a partnership that's going to work, but you need to make sure that you turn around and enforce the same contract that you have with your outsourced partner with your client.

So again, ask the questions, read the fine print on the master services agreement or the individual SOWs, so you really have a good understanding. And then you build in the protections on your side so that you are also, again, you're going to have those protections with your end client.

Tips & Takeaways: Find the Best White label SEO Firm

Excellent. Well, those are our 10 questions. And as you're selecting an SEO outsourcing partner to find the white label SEO firm that's going to really be awesome for your business, help you grow, have good customer retention, I think you'll need at least an hour to go through these with them. I recommend you talk to at least three firms, and use the same scripted list of questions and then really make good notes and compare the answers you get. I think you'll be very happy with the selection you make and your business will be off to a booming start.

So that's our brown bag for the day. We really appreciate you joining us. As always we ask you to hit the subscribe button. We'll see you back here real soon.