So, you’ve been tasked with finding an SEO company. Or perhaps you’re a business owner yourself, and you’ve been convinced of the benefits of hiring a search engine optimization service.
Great! Good on you; you’re on the road to pushing your company into the forefront of your local market. However – without meaning to be discouraging – being on the road is still a good distance away from getting there.
Choosing an SEO company can be a bit of a bumpy journey for first-timers, especially without a general set of rules kept in consideration. Like any service, SEO companies can do a great job, but they can also do a terrible job.
Identifying the difference before the first signature is put on paper, or before the first payment is made, is the art of being a diligent customer. Thankfully, if you know what to look for (and what to avoid) hiring an SEO company isn’t very difficult. In fact, you can boil it down to five simple, yet important rules.
5 Tips for Choosing Your Next SEO Company
A Good SEO Company Has Something to Show For
Right off the bat, a good SEO service has been around for a while.
That’s not to say that SEO companies that have recently started up should not be considered, but if you have the budget to avoid newcomers and stick to a block of concrete, proven service, then that’s exactly what you want to demand: concrete, proven record of duty.
SEO experts aren’t born overnight; they’re crafted under years of failure and success, and they’ll have these achievements highlighted and proudly exhibited.
Ask a prospective company for their previous clientele and see what they come up with – if they’re unwilling to divulge who their clients were, that’s a bad sign.
An Honest Evaluation — Not Wishful Thinking
If you go up to an SEO company and ask them via email if they can ensure you’ll be on the front page of Google under a very particular, traditional keyword, their answer should give away exactly how honest they are.
No company – unless it’s Google itself – can say “yes” and mean it. SEO may have been simpler in the past, but nowadays, it’s become a fickle industry where success is never guaranteed, but always worked towards – usually with amazing results, and your service is excellent.
If your prospective service shamelessly tells you you’ll be the king of your search results within a month, turn them down. You don’t want to work with a company that lies to its customers.
A Comprehensive Understanding of Online Marketing
SEO is a huge part of what it means to run a successful marketing campaign online, but there is so much more to work with. SEO alone encompasses several fields – you need to regulate on-page content and ensure it’s written and presented in a way that attracts both customers and search engines, and you’ll need off-page content leading back to your website to give your company credibility.
SEO services should also focus on providing organic “white hat” methods, which means following the rules Google and co. Created, instead of looking for exploits to artificially inflate your page rank only to be punished later on.
It’s also becoming a more profitable method, as 70 percent of links clicked on by users are from organic content, rather than paid advertising or other purposes, reports imFORZA.
Online marketing also requires a social media and online reputation management plan, a paid advertising plan, an email marketing plan, a customer retention plan – and so on and so forth.
While you don’t need an SEO firm to specialize in all of these things, it’s recommended that you look for a company that acknowledges their importance and works within the bigger picture.
A Knack for Education and Quality Communication
A good SEO company will get paid, do the work, and keep it at that.
A great SEO company will answer all of your questions and exhibit a real passion for explaining the value, technique, and importance of SEO.
It isn’t just about being results-oriented – unless your chosen service is passionate about what they’re doing, how do you know that you’ve gotten the best bang for your buck?
Take a look at the company’s blog – are they mindlessly recycling old information, or are they looking for new ways to innovate SEO, ways to explain the technicality of Google’s latest crawler update, and an on-the-pulse attitude about the industry?
Communication is also important. If you can’t properly speak to someone with authority within an SEO company, then you’re better off finding a service that puts more care and effort into talking to its customer base.
Customer service is huge in today’s shrinking online world, and any service that doesn’t put it near the top of its priority list is still stuck in an old mentality. You don’t want to work with people trapped in an old mentality in an industry that changes on a monthly basis.
Size Isn’t Everything
You may be tempted to look for the biggest, most reputable, and most expensive SEO service, but a reputation built around large corporations and a price tag made around said reputation may not be what you want, especially as a small or medium enterprise owner.
An affordable SEO Firm – may not be able to boast about having done SEO for Chipotle blogs and Citibank, but it’ll be small enough to offer in-depth communications, and truly tailor-made SEO approaches.
Without having to sacrifice service quality because, ultimately, you’re not a big brand name and won’t matter as much to the company’s bottom line in the long run.
A final tip to follow is to ask for accurate monthly reports on web page statistics – especially viewership and conversion rates. Utilizing an SEO agency to put some sizzle into your web page may be great, but unless you actually see results, you may as well be wasting your time and money.
It’s also a great test to see how transparent an SEO company is being with you – great SEO companies will openly tell you how they’re going to operate around your business, and they’ll be confident in doing so because they’ve got a clear-cut plan, and the experience to execute it well.