Questions to Ask When Choosing a Search Engine Marketing Company

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Business owners often want to know why and how there can be such a vast range of prices charged from one search marketing agency to the next. What is it that makes one agency better than the next and how can you tell that you have made the right decision? Choosing a search engine marketing (SEM) company begins with asking the right questions and knowing what kind of answers you should be looking out for. Money isn’t everything here, but choosing a SEM company that doesn’t know what they are doing could cost a business thousands!

SEM Company Employee Related Questions

Any marketing firm can tell you they have 100 employees or 200 or 300 or more. But what does this figure mean in regards to your particular SEM campaign and the price that you will pay for the services that you are seeking? In most cases, very little!

Search engine marketing companies most often specialize in a range of services not just search engine marketing but also offline marketing, web development, web design, and possibly a range of other services as well. So, the fact that a company has 100 employees doesn’t mean much to your particular search engine marketing campaign unless all of those 100 employees will be involved directly and working directly on your campaign—which is not likely the case.

When choosing a search engine marketing company, consider asking the following questions to determine just how the size of the company will impact your search engine marketing campaign:

  • Of the employees at the company, how many of them specialize in search engine marketing?
  • How many of the specialized employees will be directly working on my campaign?
  • What type of qualifications or training do the SEM specialists have in your company?

SEM Company Guarantees

There are no guarantees in search engine marketing or search engine optimization. This is because the market is ever changing, the search engine algorithms are ever changing and products are ever changing. If a SEM company offers you guaranteed placement in the top of the search engines for a particular keyword you should ask the following questions:

  • Will the guarantee be in my contract?
  • How can you make a guarantee when the market changes constantly?
  • Can you tell me exactly how long it will take to reach the first page of SERPs?

The last question cannot be answered as nobody can plan an exact time that it will take for the search engines to rank a page number 1 and if your search engine marketing company gives you a definitive answer regarding this you can be assured that they are not a viable SEM company.

Search Engine Marketing Company Costs

SEM companies will often have a list of costs associated with setting up and with starting a campaign. If you find that the company you are working with has fees for setting up a campaign or starting a campaign you should be prepared to ask questions about those fees to determine how setup and starting fees can later affect your campaign costs. This is because search engine marketing campaigns will often change which means that setup is never really completed and new campaigns can start all the time. If you have to pay a fee every time a SEM campaign changes it can bury you. Here’s a few questions to ask your SEM company to determine how setup fees might affect you later on:

  • What is included in the setup fee that you charge?
  • Will there be additional fees if the campaign is changed such as additional setup fees?
  • How often will my campaigns be changed?
  • Are there management fees associated with the SEM campaign?
  • What will the total of the setup fees for a campaign be and how much will I be charged monthly?

Addressing these cost issues will assure that you are not left with a search engine marketing campaign that drowns you in setup and starting fees. If the SEM company that you choose charges setup fees and other related fees, you must have a clear understanding of these fees so that you can budget accordingly and get the most out of your search engine marketing campaign.

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