Often larger firms want to float an RFP out to select vendors for the SEO of their firm. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Mostly because each SEO firm has their own strengths and weaknesses.
We felt that it would be helpful to put out a template, along with some of the proper questions to ask for the RFP ( request for proposal ) so that it makes sense to both the SEO firm and the company that is requesting it.
Template Questions or variations of questions:
Q: How long have you been in business?
A: Typically 10 years would be a good starting point, anything less than that and you are looking at a risk.
Q: What clients do you have or had in XXXX industry?
A: Look for clients that have some experience with competitors or related firms.
Q: Do you have experience with companies of XXXX size?
A: Look for firms that have experience working with a firm your size.
Q: Have you worked with fortune 500 firms?
A: Fortune 500 firms typically outsource whatever costs too much to build internally, Considering they have massive resources if the SEO firm had/has fortune 500 firms as clients, it typically means that they have a skillset that a large firm cannot match internally despite their large resources. This is generally viewed as a good thing.
Q: Do you guarantee results? (if the answer is yes, don’t go forward, these people lie).
A: Unless they own Google, a firm cannot promise that a third party can deliver results.
Q: What is the typical time from start of work to start seeing results.
A: From a person that has 20+ years of experience, 6 months is a good starting number.
Q: Do your SEO firm offer month to month contracts?
A: Any SEO firm worth its salt can offer month to month contracts. Tying a client into a long term agreement only means that the SEO firm is unsure of their capabilities. Insist on a month to month contract. Make that SEO firm earn it’s pay each month. We at Yooter InterActive only offer month to month contracts, and we have had clients since 2004 on a month to month contract.
Q: What are your rates?
A: Companies only charge what they believe they are worth. If a company is charging less than $100/hour it means that the labor is unskilled. This should raise red flags galore if they are offering to optimize your website for pennies. There is no such thing as a “discount rate” when you are paying for skilled labor.