How To Choose An SEO Company
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is just the start of the whole online marketing strategy of a company. SEO plays a critical part in a holistic Digital Marketing system that is designed to meet your online business goals. Learning how to choose an SEO Company can save you time, energy and a ton of money. This is what you need to know, what questions to ask and what to avoid.
Organic Search Engine Optimization has to be well planned and executed according to the business needs and the industry. While there are a lot of SEO vendors in the market, not all of them can truly optimize your website and bring it to page 1 of search engines. Many of them are simply scams you should avoid. Anyone that promises you a guaranteed placement on page one of Google should be ignored.
Common Mistakes When Choosing an SEO Company
Choosing an SEO vendor that promises first-page placement or no.1 position for the your website.
Choosing “quick fix” SEO firms.
Choosing a company who develops your site in frames.
Choosing a company who is developing site entirely in Flash.
Any SEO firm that use of hidden links and text.
Any SEO Company willing to work with a site that is not mobile friendly.
A company that participating in suspicious linking schemes with sites from unrelated business or industry.
A firm who is buying numerous paid links from unknown sites.
Any SEO company making unrealistic promises and setting unrealistic expectations.
A company that will let you change the content on an optimized page without consulting the SEO firm.
A Bad SEO Company
Hiring an SEO company can improve your site’s ranking in search engines such as Google while saving you a lot of time. However, choosing a bad SEO company can also harm and cause damages to your site that can take years and tons of money to correct. These bad SEO companies follow unethical practices that violate search engine guidelines in manipulating results. In some circles, this type of SEO is called Black Hat SEO.
Some of these unethical practices in SEO are:
“Shadow” domains – the use of misleading redirects to channel users to a site.
“Doorway” pages – a page filled with keywords that are automatically created within the site.
Attempting to hide keywords on a page (this technique has been defunct since the inception of Google).
Working with fake WHOIS information or using a variety of aliases.
Obtaining traffic from a counterfeit search engines as well as scumware or spyware.
The result of bad SEO practices can be very damaging to your website. Either it will drag your site’s ranking down to the bottom or worse, remove your site from the search engines all together. That is called being de-indexed. For that reason, you have to be very careful in choosing the right SEO Company to work with.
Finding the Good SEO Company
Finding a good, quality SEO person or company that makes honest predictions and delivers results can be a challenge. Developing a good Search Engine Optimization strategy is not an easy task and should not be underestimated. There are many misconceptions in choosing an SEO vendor. Some of the most common misconceptions are:
The best ones are the highest ranking SEO companies.
To rank to the top of search engines, you only need SEO consulting.
Results can be guaranteed.
Any good SEO will do.
All SEO prices are the same.
SEO should cost the same regardless of your business vertical and keyword needs.
Make sure that you don’t fall into any of these traps and you will save yourself countless hours frustration and a lot of money. Do more than just following the crowd. It is best that you will educate yourself a little bit on how SEO works to get better understanding of the processes and strategies used by the companies. Here is an article on The To SEO Techniques To Drive Traffic which will give you some basic understanding. Then, do your own background check and interviews.
In choosing an SEO company to work on your site, you should ask at least the following:
Samples results of successful optimization done in Google, Bing or Yahoo
Years of business and type on Internet Marketing experience
Number of pages to optimize for the quoted amount
Site monitoring, backup and maintenance.
Social Media strategy
Strategies for traffic generation and conversion rate optimization
What reports can be delivered
What Supporting Digital Marketing Services do they provide
According to Google… in their page ‘Do You Need An SEO’ which you can see by clicking here, you should also ask the following questions to the SEO company before making a decision whether to hire them or not:
Can you show me examples of your previous work and share some success stories?
Do you follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines?
Do you offer any online marketing services or advice to complement your organic search business?
What kind of results do you expect to see, and in what time-frame? How do you measure your success?
What’s your experience in my industry?
What’s your experience in my country/city?
Is Local SEO or Traditional SEO what I need?
What are your most important SEO techniques?
How long have you been in business?
How can I expect to communicate with you? Will you share with me all the changes you make to my site, and provide detailed information about your recommendations and the reasoning behind them?
Some SEO vendors provide site content and structure reviews, website development advice (e.g. redirects, hosting, error pages), content development, online business development campaigns management, keyword research, SEO training, social media marketing, social media management, e-mail campaigns, local SEO and specific market and geography expertise. Make use of them. —continued below—
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So what is a good SEO company?
It is the one that:
Optimizes huge websites effectively.
Improves Search Engine Positioning and website Domain SEO Metrics.
Do en-depth keyword research and make optimization strategies.
Performs advance linking structure analysis and offer improvements.
Offers good customer service.
Works professionally with less to no guidance.
Asks for a reasonable price.
Follows good communication practices.
Has supporting services to assist in SEO
Delivers detailed performance reports.
Although there are so many SEOs in the market, finding a good SEO company can be very challenging. To find a good candidate you may:
Look to your favorite social networking platform
Ask for advice from your trusted SEO-savvy friends
Look for success stories from the past of every SEO company you encounter
Search Google for terms an SEO Company would like to rank for and include the city they do business in.
Once you find good candidates, the selection process will follow. Check the company’s ability to rank a website, to target the right keywords, to measure success based on goals, and then assess the quality of SEO work and strategy.
- To check its ability to rank a website, check whether or not its own website appears in the first page organic result of the search engines when you search for keywords containing “SEO” and the city that they work in.
- To check whether or not they can rank a website in the long term, ask for the company’s samples of client results for a period of at least 6 months and whether they have a traffic graph with an overtime upward trend. In some instances, Black Hat SEO firms will rank a site quickly only to fall like a brick.
- To check its ability to target keywords, ask for keyword samples used ranking first page in Google, or other search engines, with search volumes. Ensure that keywords used are right for the business and have enough search volumes.
- To measure its success based on goals, ask the metrics used in tracking campaigns e.g. rankings, traffic, goals, conversions, revenue.
Then, familiarize yourself with Google algorithm and penalties, as well as with Yahoo and Bing, to check the quality of SEO procedures and strategies.
Other concerns you need to consider are:
SEO outsourcing – if the company uses SEO outsourcing, it can lead to issues on quality control.
Primary link building strategy – Ask whether the company uses the natural way or Black or Grey Hat SEO.
Concept of their ideal link – the company’s concept must be quality links on relevant, high quality websites. What is their link building strategy?
What is their opinion of Link Building vs On Site SEO? Ddo they stick with one method or use a combination of both?
Can they produce original blog content?
The next step is to assess whether the good SEO company you find is really good for you and your business.
4 Things to Consider Whether the SEO is Right For You
- Are they a task based service provider or long term partner
- What is their plan and frequency of communication
- Ask how the company measures success and how the Return of Investment will be bench-marked and forecast. The answer can tell whether the company you choose will stay with you for a long term or not.
- Ask for a communication plan that states the component, frequency and extent of contact. This must align to how frequent and detailed the delivery of updates you want to be.
- Ask about their Project Management skills. Ask how the project will be managed and what are your role and access to the timelines, resources, duties, and objectives. This has to be interwoven to the communication plan for your satisfaction.
- What is the quality of their reporting and anyalitcs? Is it branded to them?
Google Analytics and Google Search Console are bare minimums for and SEO company to provide data that will help you in the decision making for your online marketing strategies. Your current and future decisions should be based off of facts and credible statistics, not “I think we should try this”. Ask how the company will use analytics to optimize your site. Any professional company will be able to explain it well enough to implement any recommendations made. What other tools do they use for analytical and reporting purposes?
It is very important that you not only get the right SEO quality from the company you choose but that you also feel comfortable working with them. They should be a long term business partner that shares in your success. The best SEO companies in the world have the best return on investment and can act as a resource for all Digital Marketing.
Also, we’ve discussed above that there are many fraudulent SEO companies everywhere that would want to work with you. You have to be always in the lookout so as not to be abused by those scammers. Ask to meet face to face. How do they sound on the phone. Can you call them within regular business hours and get a hold of the same person?
Keep in mind that nothing and nobody can give you the guarantee of getting your site into the #1 rank on Google results. Be careful of those SEO companies that send random emails, and those that do not give clear explanation of how they will optimize your site. Choose wisely.