National SEO Agency: 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring One

Choosing the right national SEO agency is vital for the success of your business online. This guide equips you with the essential questions you must ask yourself and prospective agencies before making a final decision.

Any worthwhile agency will receive these hard-hitting questions well and will make you feel empowered along the way. Let’s dive in!

4 National SEO Questions You Need to Answer Before Hiring an Agency

Set yourself up for a successful relationship with your chosen organic SEO company by answering the following questions first:


1. What Do You Want to Achieve with National SEO?

Businesses must establish their goals and objectives before diving into a national SEO campaign. These could include:

  • Revenue goals
  • Increasing website traffic
  • Improving keyword rankings for specific search terms
  • Overseeing a website migration
  • Building website authority through link building
  • Cleaning up toxic backlinks
  • And many other objectives!


By determining these objectives, a company can then seek out a national SEO agency specializing in those areas. This approach ensures that the agency clearly understands what the business hopes to achieve and can tailor their national SEO services accordingly.

Without first determining objectives, an SEO campaign can be directionless and effective, wasting valuable time and resources.


2. How Quickly Do You Want to Achieve Your Goals?

The second thing to establish is the timeline to achieve your SEO goals. While no one can guarantee timelines with SEO (and if they do, that’s a red flag), it’s good to discuss some timeframe.

This will open the discussion for the SEO relationship you want to sign up for — a monthly retainer, an annual contract, or a one-time project.

An SEO audit must first be conducted to get a true sense of where your website stands and how much work needs to be done. Those details, along with bandwidth and budget, will determine realistic timelines.


3. What Do You Expect from the National SEO Agency?

You’ve established tentative business goals and timelines, and now it’s time to figure out what you expect from the national SEO agency.

  • What does a successful SEO campaign look like to you?
  • What role and responsibilities do you put on the agency?
  • What role will you play in this relationship?


Agencies will require input and approval from the business owner or designated point of contact (POC). Prepare yourself now to allocate time to approve deliverables and play an active role in your SEO campaign.

Engaged clients result in highly engaged SEO agencies working together to achieve a common goal.


4. How Much Money Will You Dedicate to Your SEO Budget?

A clear budget acts as a beacon, attracting agencies whose expertise and pricing align with your financial reality. It fosters transparency, building trust and avoiding future friction. You know your limits, they know your needs and a win-win partnership forms.

Think of it as shaking hands before the race, aligning on goals and expectations. Ultimately, your budget empowers you to negotiate, leading to a tailored strategy to achieve your goals.


National SEO Agency: 10 Interview Questions to Ask Prospects


1. What Are Their Thoughts About Your Goals and Expectations?

Ensuring that any agency you work with understands and aligns with your goals and expectations is vital. One crucial question to ask any potential agency is their thoughts and concerns about your business goals and expectations.

This question opens the door to an open and honest discussion about realistic goals and timelines that match yours as best as possible. By ensuring that the agency is fully aware of your goals and expectations, you can work together to develop a plan that will help your business succeed.



2. What is Their Philosophy and Approach to National SEO?

While an SEO agency can’t divulge all their business’s operational and strategic details, they can tell you their approach to a national SEO campaign.

Are they focused on quick fixes that could harm your website long-term? Or do they prioritize ethical, long-term strategies that are aligned with best practices and prioritize user experience?

Of course, no agency will blatantly disclose possible spammy tactics. Instead, pay attention to what strategies or tactics they discuss, like buying backlinks and making promises about achieving specific results by a certain date.

That should alert you of possible unethical practices associated with your campaign, which can hurt it in the long run.

Ideally, you want to work with an agency committed to sustainable methods that align with search engine guidelines. Ethical SEO practices protect your website and online presence and ensure your audience’s trust and loyalty.

Note: It’s not unethical to identify low-hanging fruit SEO opportunities. This is a strategic move to capture faster wins while playing a long-term game.



3. Do They Offer Custom National SEO Strategies?

One-size-fits-all solutions rarely work in the world of SEO. Each business is unique, and this approach rarely hits the mark in achieving SEO goals.

Ask how they will customize their approach to your industry, target audience, and unique business goals.



4. Have They Worked with Businesses Like Yours Before?

In today’s competitive SEO landscape, simply claiming expertise isn’t enough. Business owners want proof, and that’s where strong case studies and industry-specific experience come in. Ask prospective SEO agencies for case studies to prove their past successes with other businesses in your industry.

You should have some insight into how they’ve tackled challenges similar to yours. Their ability to demonstrate experience with your industry instills confidence and trust. Focusing on industry specialization can indicate a deeper understanding of your target audience, competitor landscape, and specific nuances.



5. What is Their Pricing Structure Like?

Discussing pricing structures is acceptable and common within onboarding meetings. Before you get too far into the discussion, ask them what they price their national SEO services. Some agencies may price their services too high for what you’re comfortable with spending.

That doesn’t mean it’s a bad agency if their prices don’t align with your budgetary expectations. It just means they’re not the right fit for you.

It’s also not a bad practice for the agency to not disclose pricing information immediately if they must first research your website and business. Sometimes, a delayed answer is better because it allows the agency to understand what’s required and what it would cost to deliver your goals.



6. How Does the National SEO Agency Define SEO Success?

When partnering with a national SEO agency, it’s important to understand how they define SEO success. Key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics are essential in measuring the performance of a campaign. It’s necessary to know what metrics the agency uses to report on the campaign’s success.

Do their KPIs match up with your goals?

However, SEO campaigns don’t always perform as expected, and knowing how the agency handles this is essential. A good agency will communicate the reality of the situation to its clients rather than sugarcoating the results.

A trusted agency will provide clear explanations and offer corrective actions to get the campaign back on track. Open and honest communication can build a solid agency-client relationship to help achieve SEO success.



7. How Often Will You Receive Progress Reports?

Reports are essential to developing trust between business owners, managers, and the SEO agency. By receiving regular updates on the progress of your SEO efforts, you’ll see the value the agency provides.

The reports will highlight the work being done and help you understand the impact on your website traffic and business goals. Clarify with the team how often you can expect to receive reports and whether the SEO team will walk you through it or if you are left to analyze it on your own.



8. What Does the Communication Cadence Look Like?

Open and regular communication is vital for a successful agency/client relationship. Establish clear communication channels and determine their preferred methods (e.g., email, video, phone, or in-person meetings).

How often can you expect to be in communication, and with whom? Most agencies will have a team supporting your website, so there may be multiple POCs to speak with. Determine if you prefer a single POC or if connecting with several team members is acceptable.

Another essential thing to consider is whether you can contact them outside of scheduled meetings for questions, concerns, updates, or ideas. Remember to be considerate of their time.
Constant communication can distract the team from completing pressing deliverables and deadlines, so it’s best to be as planned with your communication and agenda items.



9. Will They Create an SEO Roadmap and Share it With You?

An SEO roadmap is vital as it provides clear organization and understanding of the SEO game plan. Not only does it allow businesses to prepare their input and approval, but it also helps build trust with the agency. Clients will feel assured that there is a set plan for how the SEO campaign will grow.

However, it is essential to note that SEO roadmaps are subject to change based on data and campaign performance. Depending on how the website performs, the agency may pivot the strategy if it’s what’s best for the campaign.



10. What is Their Onboarding Process Like?

Every agency handles the onboarding process differently. Some don’t even have one in place. Organized and established agencies have a straightforward onboarding process and a list of things they will need from the client, such as:

  • Access to the website
  • Team contact information
  • Necessary logins and permissions
  • A list of direct competitors


The onboarding process is a good time to discuss what deliverables you expect to receive in the first 1-2 months since that’s typically a research and discovery phase. Use this opportunity to get a clear answer on when to expect them to begin working on your website.

Time is of the essence with SEO. The last thing you want is to wait three months before any optimizations are made on your website.


Schedule a Free Consultation with Summit Scout’s National SEO Agency

At Summit Scout, we won’t squirm when you hold our feet to the fire with these direct questions. Schedule a free SEO consultation with our reputable and trusted SEO experts!

There are no strings attached or commitment required on your part. Our mission is to understand your business goals fully and explain our game plan for achieving them. Get connected with us today for more details about our organic SEO services!

Maja Teagle

Maja is the SEO Manager for the marketing team at Summit Scout. After graduating from the University of Utah with a degree in Marketing, her focus has been on expanding her knowledge and skill set in SEO. Prior to joining the corporate marketing team at Summit Scout, Maja gained experience working at several digital marketing agencies in Salt Lake City, focusing on SEO strategy development and fulfillment, as well as client account management. Working closely with clients ranging from small businesses to enterprise organizations, she has managed and executed SEO strategies for over 20 different company websites. Outside of work, Maja loves to go on hikes with her husband and dog, play volleyball, bake and cook, and try new restaurants throughout the city (she considers herself a fry-connoisseur).