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Hi Sara,
You raise a very common problem in an area that is frought with many incompetent services.

I’d start with asking every prospective SEO supplier these question:

  • Who are they?
  • Where are they?
  • What experience do they have in your type of business category (e-commerce)?
  • What results have they achieved for similar clients?
  • What SE education (if any) do they include for you?
  • What is their background education? (Eg Web programming, web design, content writing, marketing, nothing specific.) Each can bring different perspectives and skill levels.
  • Look up their LinkedIn profile.
  • What SEO performance parameters do they recommend?
  • What is their SEO service agreement?

Some quick service elimination points:

1. A Sydney SEO Service
I gather you are based in Sydney. Select from Sydney-based services. G will be favouring your site towards Sydney-based searchers. You will want a lot of initial contact and perhaps a bunch of SEO education.

A Sydney-based SEO is not only more convenient, they are likely to have more experience targeting Sydney-based searchers.

2. Experience and Results with E-commerce Clients
E-commerce markets come with their own set of special SEO factors. These can include:

  • The site publishing platform and its limitations
  • Quite specific search competition requirements
  • Very specific types of online competition
  • A need for different SEO programs based on new vs. repeat customers
  • A more in-depth integration with social media promotional programs
  • And much more…

3. Run the Service’s Performance Terms Past us on FS
I’ve seen some absolute horrors of SEO performance agreements accepted over the years.

NEVER, EVER, EVER sign up for any SEO services without a performance agreement!

Why not run a prospective agreement past the SEO folk on FS?

Hope this helps.