The other day we got an email from a business owner called Pete who asked us a range of questions to ascertain whether we”re a reputable and effective SEO company. As his questions are indicative of the types of questions virtually ever SEO-seeking business person would want answered, we”ve decided to answer them in general terms here.

How long has your company been in business?

We started publishing online magazines in 1999, many of which are still in existence today and rank at the top of Google in an extremely wide range of fields. This is despite, being media enterprises, having had stiff competition from all the large media corporations in Australia. The fact that we could not only outrank these media behemoths on Google and all search engines, but could hold onto #1 rankings on Google against them for over a decade, proved to us that SEO is an activity that can help small companies be giant-killers. So this is what we”ve been doing for our SEO clients ever since.

Do you have long-standing clients?

Not only do we have long-standing clients, but the long-standing clients are the happiest clients we have because every year we achieve ever-higher rankings – and we spread their reach every year by significantly expanding the range of relevant terms that they outsmart their competitors with.

Can you provide some case studies and/or references?

We provide over 30 case studies and testimonials from our clients. All statements are provable with evident Google rankings.

Do you have any previous experience in my industry?

Having previous experience in any given industry is not a pre-requisite to achieving ultimate SEO results. In fact, based on the loyalty that exists between our clients and ourselves, if we had any previous experience in your industry, we wouldn”t be able to work with you because our client retention rate is 95% – so chances are we”d still be working with your competitor. Our policy is strictly to work with only one client per industry – so that we can deliver absolute results – and give them the full benefits of our Offsite SEO and quality inbound links.

What is the duration of the contract?

We”re extremely serious about SEO – and therefore we”re only interested in having clients who are equally serious about the importance of SEO to their business. So we”re only interested in taking on clients who have a minimum 12 months vision for their business around SEO.

Can I cancel the contract at any time?

Having said the above, we still wouldn”t stop a client cancelling a contract if that”s truly what they need to do. However our Inbound Links, being the highest-quality links from our high-traffic websites, are the equivalent of Google Adwords in impact and ongoing revenue. So if a client is cancelling simply because they lack the ethics around mutual prosperity, cancelling on a “I”ve got the rankings I want, adios amigos” basis, then our policy is very clear. We remove all links from our high-traffic websites to theirs. After all, Google don”t keep serving your Adwords once you stop paying them. Also of course we require 30 day”s notice of cancellation.

How often do I pay?

Fees are monthly, payable by credit card in advance of the month”s SEO program on the first of each month.

Is there an up-front fee?

The up-front fee is simply for each month as outlined above, however we usually recommend a client”s first 1-2 months, as a “ramp-up phase”, involve twice the SEO work of subsequent months.

Does this contract have a guarantee?

Google”s directors such as Matt Cutts love to announce loudly that any SEO company who provides a guarantee is a company of charlatans. So we”re damned if we do and damned if we don”t. We just say: look at our proven results.

When will my project start?

When you want it to start.

What type of SEO work happens in the first month?

Onsite SEO in conjunction with Offsite SEO. And in the 2nd month, 3rd and so on.

What type of work do you do every month to improve my rankings (link building, Article writing, navigation set-up, code optimisation etc.)?

All of the above.

How many hours a month will be spent on SEO for my website?

Depends how much you”re paying.

How long should it take to see improvement in rankings?

Depends on what industry you”re in, how much competition you have, what keywords and keyphrases you”re targeting, and what type of website you already have. With some websites we can achieve results within hours – with most it takes 2-4 weeks, but if you”re in real estate, which is saturated, and you”re looking to target the shortest-string phrases possible, then it could be a 6-12 month journey to start to penetrate the higher realms of Google. The more competitive the field, the more lucrative the ROI once you get there. That”s a key imperative of “Corporate SEO”. The most satisfying relationships we have are with business owners who, like us, have no intention of giving up.

Do your methods adhere to the search engine’s rules and guidelines?

What do you reckon?

Do you expect anything from our end to contribute to the SEO work?

The smaller your investment in SEO, the more “homework” you will inevitably be given. If there”s no budget there for article creation, then you and your staff will have to provide content. Also, while we have many happy clients who leave the entire SEO programs to us, preferring to focus their energies on running their newly profitable businesses, nevertheless we recommend clients do participate at whatever level they feel comfortable in the SEO programs, so we can ask questions around keywords and encourage our clients to seek out with their customers the words they used to find them on Google.

Will I get reports? And how often?

Our reports are monthly, sometimes they”re long and other times they”re shorter. Our view is this: we”re the David Beckham of SEO. You don”t pay David Beckham to write reports about how to kick goals. You pay him to kick the goals. Providing reports helps validate our fees to our clients. However spending too much time on reports, when it would be best spent adding essential fuel to your website”s relationship with Google”s algorithms, would be the wrong thing to do.

Will there be email and phone support?

Within reason there is certainly phone and email support. However we anticipate our clients are as professional about this relationship as we are. We”re not into having clients who want to treat us like an IT Support company. We don”t help you fix your email problems. Our focus is SEO. It”s where it belongs. Clients know not to dilute our focus & commitment.

How many people will be working on my project?

We do not believe in spreading the work thinly. In fact you can expect the majority of your SEO campaign to be performed by one person. This SEO professional will have some assistance depending on what is required – e.g. an SEO professional is not required to sit around writing Offsite Articles all week long – but ultimately any such work passed to writers or developers is managed to completion as part of the SEO management role.

Who will be my project manager?

That”s something we work out together.