With the SEO industry growing every day, more and more businesses are ready to start reaping the benefits of quality SEO for their website. If you’re among the many businesses looking for an SEO company to trust with your marketing efforts, you may be overwhelmed by the choices available.
You’ll be investing a significant amount of time and money into your website’s SEO efforts. If performed correctly, an SEO campaign can provide amazing benefits for your business. If neglected or mishandled, however, you may find your website rankings lower than when you started. Be sure to thoroughly investigate any SEO company before agreeing to trust your business to their services. Here are some tips that will help you determine if an SEO company you’re considering is the real deal or just smoke and mirrors.
- How long has the SEO company been in business?
Do they have enough experience to truly know the ins and outs of the industry? Although some newer companies may still provide great results, be wary when a company has less than 5 years of SEO experience.
- What type of accolades do they have?
Many neutral sources can provide accolades that attest to a company’s quality of work. Awards from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), certified status as a Google Partner, or memberships in associations like the local Chamber of Commerce are all good indications that you’re dealing with a trustworthy company.
- Does the company offer an SEO friendly hosting environment?
Hosting your website on a server that is both fast and reliable will allow you to benefit from quicker loading times and avoid downtime to keep you from missing potential customers. Specifically, servers with installed Pagespeed Module, coupled with experienced server staff, can increase mobile traffic and conversions, increasing sales by up to 14.6%.
- Does the company have SEO case studies they can show you?
Companies that have produced great results for their clients should be able to show your case studies. These examples of their work should include objective reports and statistics that reflect real SEO benefits.
- Does the company have clients they can refer you?
Ask for referrals that can attest to the company’s performance, and give them a call to verify. Speaking to other customers can give you a true look at how a company operates.
- How many employees do they have?
A very small staff may have difficulty spending the time needed to give your account the personal attention necessary to achieve quality results.
- What type of employees do they have?
In addition to the number of employees, ask what their roles are. If the company dedicates the majority of its time to sales work rather than technical work on your campaign, they’re probably not going to give your website adequate attention.
- Do they have a QUALIFIED STAFF to perform SEO? **VERY IMPORTANT**
This is probably the most critical aspect of an SEO company. The company’s staff should encompass the many areas needed for quality SEO efforts, including designers, coders, writers, software engineers, and mathematicians for analytics. If the company does not have at least 1 employee in each discipline, then the likelihood of getting quality SEO will be minimal at best.
- Do they adhere to “white hat” search engine guidelines?
Spammy SEO techniques such as server manipulations and hidden links are examples to as Black Hat techniques. These can destroy your rankings and could even get your website banned on Google, so stay far away from any SEO company that mentions using these. Ensure that the company will only be using approved, “white hat” techniques to avoid these penalties. Blackhat techniques can negatively effect your SEO for many years into the future and can even get you blacklisted by search engines.
- How will the company improve your search engine rankings?
Ask exactly what the company will do for you. There are many techniques, such as creating new content, improving social media presence, increasing brand awareness, extending your backlink profile, expanding your global SEO footprint, rebuilding the informational architecture of your website, improving your interlinking, and targeting long-tail keyphrases by adding landing pages, that will have a huge positive impact.
- Does the company provide original content?
Is the company copying content from other sources or providing original content for your website and blog? Duplicate content can be very detrimental to your SEO.
- Does the company “guarantee you rankings”?
If an SEO company guarantees you rankings, avoid them at all costs. This is the first sign that you are dealing with an unethical company. No one can perfectly predict or guarantee SEO results, NOT EVEN GOOGLE. This is because your site, with its unlimited amount of variables, is run through the search engine’s mathematical algorithms and no one knows what the results will produce. While some SEO problems can be obvious immediately, only over time and with analytical research can a good SEO company begin to view reasons for poor rankings and make adjustments.
- Will the company let you know of changes it makes to your website?
You should always be informed of changes to your website and be able to approve the changes before they are made. Your company’s reputation is on the line and you should be in full control of how it’s presented.
- How often will the company communicate with you?
The company should communicate with you at least once a month to discuss progress or declines in rankings / conversions and brainstorm ideas for constant improvements.
- Can you talk with the SEO team directly?
Do you always have to go through a salesperson, or will you be able to speak to the programmers, writers, and other staff members who will be working on your SEO?
- Does the company provide reports of progress?
Your SEO company should keep you regularly updated with reports on your targeted keywords and a custom analytics report, updating you on the progress of your campaign.
- Does the SEO company have an agreement with details of services?
An agreement should include what you as a client and the company will be responsible for. Be sure to thoroughly read the agreement and ask questions before signing anything.
- What services do they offer in their SEO campaign?
Will your SEO package include local listings, social media marketing, email newsletters, content marketing or other efforts? Make sure that your company will be receiving benefits from multiple sources, not just blog posts.
- What is the contract length?
Discuss what increments are available. Options typically include 6 months or 1 year.
- What happens if I decide to cancel services with your company?
Ask about what will happen if you choose to cancel your SEO services. Will you retain your domain name, files for your content, log-in information, and other details?
With questions like these in your arsenal, you’ll be able to determine which SEO companies truly have your best interest at heart and which ones are only looking for a paycheck. Your business’s online rankings are one of your most important assets, so don’t underestimate the importance of choosing the right SEO company.
Have you ever had a bad experience with an SEO company? Leave a reply to let us know about SEO companies you’ve worked with and what you liked or didn’t like about them.