So, you have finally noticed that today’s consumers spend more time staring at the screens on their smart phones, tablets and laptops then they do gazing at roadside billboards, television sets or searching through the local yellow pages to find the products and services that they need.
After a bit of research (online of course) they have decided that your company should have at least a website if not a Facebook and Twitter feed to reach those potential customers. You have also learned that if you want your company found SEO or search engine optimization is a necessity rather than a luxury.
The fact is there are hundreds of thousands of SEO companies out there and if you choose the wrong one your website and online advertisement campaign will fail, miserably, taking most if not all of your advertizing budget with it. So, how do you qualify an SEO company? Ask them a few questions.
1) How did the firm get in touch with you?
Sound like a dumb question? Think about it for a moment. Good SEO experts do not spend their time looking through the want ads, cold calling or emailing, they don’t have the time, but there are plenty of fly by night internet marketers out there who would love to take your money.
2) Ask for references.
References are nice but can easily be faked. Remember your first resume? Make sure that any references you are given include the business name, web address and contact person. Google actually has tools you can use to check the ranking of these reference websites and whether or not they actually exist somewhere on Earth.
3) Do you need access to my website and if so what kind of work are you planning to do?
Of course an SEO company will need access to your website. If they say they don’t the run, don’t walk to the nearest exit.
A good SEO company will need to go over your business website with a fine toothed comb to check it for technical issues and make recommendations based on your existing content and title tags as well as what is needed to start a new content strategy.
4) What kind of reporting can I expect from you?
If they answer rankings then beat a hasty retreat. A solid SEO company will track ranking as a diagnostic tool but will also use site traffic from organic search, health metrics, and conversions from organic search, keyword diversity and site visit quality.
5) Can you guarantee results
If the company rep tells you that they can guarantee you results they should trip the high mark on your B.S meter. The truth is there is no way to guarantee results. Search engine algorithms change from one moment to the next and a good SEO company knows it is impossible to make hard guarantees.
6) How do you measure success?
If the SEO company answers that they measure the success of their campaigns based on rankings alone quietly hang up the phone and call the next company on your list. Although an SEO campaign aims to increase your company website’s rank on the search engines it is no use if the rank does not translate into site increased site traffic and sales.
To conclude, choosing an SEO company is no easy task. Find a company that will work with your needs and wants. If you remember one thing after reading this, remember that rankings don’t always necessarily mean money in the bank or an ROI on your spend.
You must identify your most profitable keywords before you start any SEO campaign. This step is the most important step in choosing an SEO company and that is their ability to choose which keywords are best for your business. I would highly suggest going to Google Keyword Suggest Tool and try it out for yourself.
This will give you a broad idea of what direction you should go in. Present this list to your SEO company, have them expand on your initial list and give their suggestions on what your budget can accomplish. One phrase key terms are much harder to rank than 2 or 3 phrase key terms. This sometimes takes years to accomplish.