Choosing an SEO Company can be a daunting task. There are a lot of factors to consider. However, taking the steps to invest in SEO means you are on the path to growing your business.
Search Engine Optimization is not a “cure all” approach to marketing, but rather a piece of the overall puzzle. It needs to be specific to your needs and industry, which is why choosing the right company to perform your search optimization is imperative. Just because a site is “optimized” does not mean leads will start pouring in. The company you choose needs to invest time and energy into understanding your market, the flow that customers take to, and much more to be successful.
Below is a list of things you will want to consider when making your choice, as well as questions to ask potential SEO companies to see if they are really worth your money…
What is Their First Step When Taking on New Customers?
This is an important question to have all potential SEO agencies answer because it will separate the professional agencies from the people selling snake oil.
The professional SEO’s will tell you that they conduct an analysis of your industry, business, and competitors. This ensures that they have a well rounded, thorough understanding of how your business operates, how you currently receive leads, who your target market is, and more. This also makes the decision making process much easier down the road, when it comes to overall strategy.
What is Their Link Building Process?
Link building is one of the most important aspects to any SEO campaign. Not only is the process important but the relevance and trust of each individual link plays a huge role in how search engines judge your site.
Since link building is a tedious (yet rewarding) task, many agencies outsource or build untrustworthy links. These practices are very risky and are considered to be “spam” in the eyes of all search engines. Some of these tactics work, but only for a short while and can even get your website deindexed (completely removed) from search engines.
Ask all potential SEO agencies how they build links and if their link building strategies are deemed ethical in regards to the Google Webmaster Guidelines.
Ask For Case Studies
Professional agencies are always more than happy to brag about their accomplishments when it comes to SEO. If possible, ask for real world examples of keywords that they ranked clients for and what strategies they took to get there. This works two fold. First, it will help you understand SEO better. Second, it will prove if they actually ranked the client or it was a past SEO or happened naturally.
How Do They Track Their Success?
When it comes to tracking search rankings, some SEO companies play with the numbers when their rankings go down or don’t see any improvement.
On the flip side, it is important to note that organic rankings are always subject to change. This is due to the ever-changing algorithms that search engines use and continually improve upon. Do not be discouraged if you see static rankings for a month or so. Do start questioning your SEO agency if they do not show improvement over two to three months.
What Do They Charge?
Many companies, especially small businesses, are looking for the best price when it comes to choosing an SEO or digital marketing agency. This is understandable but it is important to understand that you truly do get what you pay for when choosing an SEO company.
Why? The market for agencies has recently seen an influx of overseas agencies charging insanely low prices. The reason they can do this is because they are “churning and burning” clients. That means they bring on a client, spam their site, get them to page #1 for a month, get paid, and then the site gets taken down by search engines for going against the rules.
A professional agency needs to be able to cover search software expenses, employees, content creation (i.e. blog posts, infographics), and more. The starting rate for a large-scale, national SEO campaign is $3,000 per month. If you are a local business, you can look at paying anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 per month for a Local SEO campaign. These numbers are rough estimates, much of a campaigns price depends on the scope of the project and competition in the industry.
Common Mistake: Looking For a “Quick Fix”
As mentioned above, optimizing your site for search engines is not a quick fix method to gaining more sales. It takes time and effort, even if there is little to no competition.
What many companies do is hire an agency to come in and “optimize” their site, thinking that is all they need to have any success in the search engines. While on-page optimization is important, it is only the start to a full SEO campaign.