A reputable SEO firm can increase your Search Engine rankings, drive traffic to your website and boost your online sales but appointing an unethical SEO company that uses black hat SEO techniques to artificially boost your SEO rankings may result in your website dropping its Search Engine ranking and may even be banned from the indexes.
With so many factors riding on Search Engine visibility, while the end price tag is important, the SEO return on investment should be the deciding factor in what SEO firm to choose. Here are the seven things you should consider when choosing an SEO company.
The best SEO company can easily be judged on their own performance and where their own company is ranked in Search Engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. Check where your SEO company ranks for SEO or Search Engine Optimisation keywords phrases such as:
- SEO company
- SEO firm
- SEO expert
- SEO consultants
- SEO services
- SEO website
- Google SEO
- Organic SEO
- SEO Melbourne (or which every city or locality you are in)
- and other SEO related terms
A reputable SEO company will be happy to show you these results or display these results proudly on their website.
Do a search for the domain name and the owners/directors name. Check through the first three or four pages to see if anything comes up. You could find evidence of foul play but you could also find some good testimonials this way.
Ideally, you want to work with an SEO company whose director has an established reputation as an SEO expert and writes for industry blogs, articles and may have been asked to present at conferences in the industry. All this should easily be found in a Google search if they have a high profile in the SEO industry.
Examples of their work
Don’t rely on the glowing testimonials and case studies on the website, ask the SEO company for current examples of their work and rankings achieved. You want to see what client websites are ranking for short competitive keyword phrases such as “plumbing supplies” rather than “plumbing supplies for left handed plumbers”.
You can also ask to speak directly to their clients. Ask the following questions:
- whether they are happy with the SEO results they have achieved
- whether they are happy with the level of service and feedback that provided and
- whether they achieved the online return on investment they wanted.
Customer service level
Customer service is a very important factor to consider when choosing an SEO company. Ask the following questions:
- who will be assigned to my case
- what is their level of experience and seniority
- will I have one-to-one or direct contact
- what are the number of cases they work on at any given time
- what are the hours they will be dedicating to the SEO of your website
- how will they provide support (phone/email), and is there a limit (time/number of emails).
If your business is targeting a niche local market, it is preferable to have a locally-based SEO provider with a local presence and knowledge, and proven performance history so ask the business analyst how long they have worked in the region you are targeting and ask them to show you the results they have received for local businesses such as yours.
Contracts and Reporting
This is essential as the work done on optimizing your website may take three months or more to be reflected in Search Engine results. Search Engine Optimization contracts are usually signed over a period of months and SEO results are not usually guaranteed because they change continuously depending on what activity you are doing on your website and your competitors. An easy way to pick out a bad SEO company is one that will guarantee you a number one position on page one of Search Engines. Ask the following questions:
- what is the minimum contract and what does it include
- do you require a minimum contract and if so, how much?
- what maintenance do you provide, and what is the monthly cost?
- what reports do you provide and how often?
Level of experience
It is important to research the company’s level of experience and how long they have been trading for. This is important as the more experience the company has, the better and you do not want to be in the hands of a shady SEO company who keeps on popping up under a new name and IP address.
Confirm what they have told you on the Whois Database – this gives you free info on the domain name of a website (www.seoworks.com.au example) and shows the age of the company and who the registrar is.
Unique point of difference
Lastly, a reputable SEO company will able to easily tell you in an ‘elevator pitch’ why you should use their service instead of Company X, Y or Z and explain why in terms of their service levels, their success rate, their level of experience and so forth and they are different from their competitors. You’ll be surprised at the number of SEO Business Analysts or SEO Account Managers who cannot easily answer this question.
Armed with your own research and all these points and questions answered, you will be better equipped to make that final decision and find a reputable SEO company who will be able to increase your Search Engine visibility, drive quality traffic to your website, increase online sales and provide you with a strong SEO return on investment.