SEO is vital for businesses of all sizes, shapes, and niches to thrive in today’s digital world. Yet, many still fail at it because they’ve been burned by supposed SEO experts. The truth is that picking the best SEO companies is no different than picking an “expert” plumber or an “expert” architect. It takes some due diligence to get the right fit and skills at the right price point. Let’s look at some tips to ensure only the strong survive the cut.
Choosing The Right SEO Company
Tip 1: Seek A Referral
Whether it’s a colleague or a competitor, look at who counterparts are using and whether they’ve been satisfied. It’s a fantastic way to gain insight on an SEO company’s strengths and weaknesses.
Do remember, however, that the best SEO companies rocking a particular niche doesn’t mean they’ll excel in other niches. Some SEO companies thrive within a specific vein because they’re experts at the niche as much so as the SEO. Ensure that the SEO company specializes in the applicable niche, industry, needs, and SEO pain points.
Tip 2: Look At Company Knowledge And Processes
In line with the above, be sure to examine if the SEO company has good working knowledge and processes. What does customer service and company culture look like? What’s the company load to employee ratio, meaning do they have the time and manpower to handle another client? Are they local, and, if not, what’s the accessibility? What’s the reporting and transparency processes?
Tip 3: Peruse Performance Indicators
Past performance is an indicator of future performance. So, check out case studies, website portfolio, publications, testimonials, industry accolades, reviews, and references to see what insiders have to say. Any experienced SEO company should have performance indicators via detailed, proven, and verifiable results they’ve brought to existing clients. If that can’t be provided, then move on to a different prospect.
Tip 4: Get Specific When Vetting References
Don’t just ask if a reference likes the SEO company. Get specific with open-ended questions. Ask about customer service and reporting timeliness. Ask if they always work with a specific agent or get passed along to the first available. How does the company strategize campaigns and future pivot decisions? Basically, use the references against a checklist of desirable features.
Tip 5: Interview The SEO company
This relationship is akin to any other outsourced employee, and an interview is key to ensuring a good fit. Whether it’s a face-to-face or virtual consultation, meet the SEO company and ask performance, ethics, leadership, best practices, results, and experience. Ask for details. Ask for examples of industry-related, result-proven strategies. Ask for prices and ROI. Ask about timelines, contract caveats, website ownership, canceling procedures, account access, and performance guarantees.
By the way, don’t be afraid of virtual communication with companies out of the area. The efficiency and regularity by which the SEO provider communicates with its clients is often a more valuable asset than it being a local company with physical proximity.
Tip 6: Don’t Make Cost The Deciding Factor
Most everyone has a budget, and it’s important to define that budget before getting invested in an unaffordable service, but it’s a huge mistake to go with the cheapest SEO provider.
With few exceptions, ultra-low rates are there for a reason – cheap price equals cheap service. It’s better to look for an agency with customizable packaging and pricing than one-size-fits-all low or high pricing.
Tip 7: Understand Reasonable Expectations
Black-hat agencies promise the world in record time, but the reality is that ethical and effective SEO takes time, which is usually three to six months before a ROI is seen. Implementing unethical strategies promising to instantly gain ranking and leads, double traffic, and so forth may actually deliver, but it’s all temporary and can result in a Google penalty or blacklisting.
Don’t fall for secret sauce presentations, either. There isn’t a secret sauce to SEO. Two plus two will always be four; SEO follows certain established rules just as math does. The only difference between great SEO and inferior SEO is the knowledge, understanding, commitment, and experience of the person behind it, not the sauce’s ingredients.
With these seven tips, a company doesn’t just find a great SEO company. They’re empowered to find the ideal SEO provider for their specific needs, wants, and budget.