There are hundreds of blog posts, sites, and articles about questions to ask an SEO vendor:
- Choosing an SEO Company
- The top 10 things to ask…
- Forum post about Questions to ask
- Things to ask an SEO Consultant
I’ve even taken a stab at the top 10 questions to ask an SEO Consultant
There are far fewer lists about paid search; arguably, a much more complex opportunity and certainly, one with greater risk as you are paying for placement as well as support.
Let’s give it a shot:
- What is your knowledge of and experience with our brand, website, products and services, and marketing campaigns?
- How long has your company been managing search? How many programs and total $ value do you support?
- What measurement criteria or metrics does your company have in place to track performance?
- How do you provide online real time reporting and tracking? What tools do you use? Are any of these tools proprietary?
- How would you measure and track ROI for campaigns?
- How do you think that search industry is going to evolve in the next 12/24 months?
- Characterize the purpose of search engine marketing; how do you define its role in an integrated marketing plan? What benefits does search provide beyond supporting a brand and driving awareness and business?
- How do other online marketing or website opportunities and considerations (i.e. affiliates, landing page design, natural search, datafeeds, advertising) play a role or contribute to paid search management?
- How is the company organized to support advanced search strategies and development? How many permanent search experts are there in your company?
- What is your company’s Account Management level annual attrition rate, as a percentage?
- Describe skill sets, related experiences, and project roles of the staffing you would provide to perform these services.
- Do you subcontract or outsource any of these services that cannot be accomplished in house?
- Is your company a leader in the search industry? How so?
- How do you stay ahead of the competition (e.g., in technology, tools, training, processes, etc.)?
- What are your strategic relationships or partnerships (search engine, technology, or tracking)? How will they help us?
- List the search engines your toolset automatically links to for the purpose of automated bidding, campaign management and reporting.
- What type of bid management system do you have for keyword buys?
- What are your company’s top 5 core competencies? List in priority order and describe them.
- What are your expectations of the advertiser? What do you need from us?
- What is your typical turnaround for new programs and how do you ensure programs are delivered on the agreed time line?
- How do you work and coordinate with other agencies?
- How do you track/manage agreed upon budgets for projects?
- How and when do you report changes in budgets?
- Over the last year, how many times did you exceed the approved or revised, agreed budget on a project?
- What is your total fee / commission for services?