Search engine optimization is only the beginning of your company’s overall web marketing strategy and it is not "one size fits all." It needs to be tailored to your specific industry and needs. It is important to understand that just because your site is optimized for search engines, it doesn’t mean it will attract visitors. Once visitors can make it to your site, it doesn’t mean you will get conversions (sales or leads).
Here are some questions you should ask a web marketing company you are engaging for SEO services to make sure you get the best ROI.
Research is an important element to SEO success. If they don't have a research program, your project likely will not be successful. You need to understand how they plan and if it is reasonable.
A good SEO firm will be able to provide you with recommendations on improving other areas of your website that either affect search engine placement or the site visitor's user experience. Site coding, content, and incoming/outgoing links all affect your search engine optimization.
If there is no competitive analysis, then how will they know how to target your competitors online? A website should be part of your overall business strategy. If your SEO company doesn't understand the difference between your online and offline competitors, then they probably won’t understand how to target them.
If the firm does not have someone who specializes in SEO copywriting, look elsewhere.
This should be a given. If they do not have a link strategy, then they won’t be any good. They also need to learn how to employ optimization techniques that won't get you de-indexed by Google.
The reality is they can’t know this until they have done the proper analysis. If they have a detailed plan before they have strategized with you and conducted their research, then there is a reasonable likelihood they won’t target the right things. The most appropriate answer to this question is that this plan is built after the initial strategy session.