This is a question that website owners face almost every day and they are really not sure how to go about it. Practically, it is never possible for a person to keep a check on his daily on-goings and also keep a track of best SEO practices that your business can benefit from. Not everyone who claims to be an SEO expert has full-time and long-term commitment to proper learning and understanding of what works and what doesn’t. In fact, SEO, like any other profession, takes in a lot of hard-work to master.
So ultimately, forced by circumstances and tied by state of affairs, you will decide to hire an SEO company. The most natural step will be to go on Google and search for the topmost companies that provides you SEO service; ending up with almost 300 results for your particular geographical area. You start with the ones on top of the list followed by the chorological others. Towards the end of the list you find that almost all these 300 phone calls generated the same answers, forcing you to assume that every SEO Company is a con. Truth to be told, the solutions to this riddle is just like the answer sheets to school essays. While some can deliver the best, others will just try to achieve what is meant to be.
Before we delve into the questions to ask an SEO firm, it is important to understand the basics of your SEO help.
- Individual SEO Consultants: Freelancers who offer SEO services in return of money.
- SEO Companies/Agencies: These are companies that have teams of SEO people and standardized SEO processes. They, however, only deal with clients that can afford a monthly budget of a few thousand dollars.
- In-House SEO: If yours is a rapidly growing business, or you already are a very large organization, it often makes sense to have an in-house team. Initially hire one SEO consultant to put things in place and generate an initial strategy. Later, your in-house team can work on the strategy and develop it further with time.
When looking for SEO firms there is one golden rule, never hire a firm that charges you way too less than the market. Good SEO never comes with low price. Price can never be a guarantee of quality. This holds true for SEO as well.
Let this question intervene your thought process. Will you hire an accountant just because she has produced an impressive resume? Certainly, your answer is no. You will go on to check her skills and what exactly she can do. As you check with the traits of an accountant before hiring one, likewise you will have to check on the traits of your SEO provider too. How? Here is how:-
- Decide your need – What is it exactly that you need this firm to do? Is it link removal, one time SEO Audit, reputation management, link building, ongoing SEO, retargeting, PPC management, content marketing or any of the other 25 services that any SEO firm has got to offer? Complex is it? Then start figuring this out. Do you want to grow your sales by 20% over the next 12 months, or leads by 50% over the next 6 months? Are you looking for increased rankings on the Search Engine result pages or just wanting to let your boss know that you have done this task and get over with it from your checklist? Set your goal in mind and with this in the center measure the success of your engagement with the SEO firm whenever you communicate with them. If you are unable to measure your success based on these parameters, you are less than likely to be successful with them.
- Get multiple consultations – Now that you have figured out what you want, sit down with your shortlisted SEO firms and see how they are willing to sort your page ranking issues. Most SEO firms are qualified to do this and will be really glad to help you out. This is their trick to winning the way to the business. This will be followed by a consultation incorporating through research about your website and industry. At the end of the process they will furnish you with a proposal incorporating the price and services. Now go on and do this with the next firms on your list, and maintain a log for comparison. One thing to by-heart, however, is not to propagate your consultations. It will lead to lesser efficient drafts and not-so-good consultations arriving from the firms. This is especially true for SEO firms who have businesses fighting for them.
- Ask for references and case studies – This is the first question you need to ask all your short-listed SEO service providers. Are they willing to get your job done? If yes, what is their strategy? To go climbing in the Himalayas one needs an experienced Sherpa. Without looking into the future, the best way for an SEO firm to prove this is by showing you that they have done the same job for others. If they have history in generating results for companies of your sector previously, then it is a sign of trust for you. However if you have a unique company, then you might just have to go with any generalist SEO company, get references from clients they have worked with. Check for clients who had similar business models and almost similar requirements as yours.
- Verify from business owners – Tactically; this is how a good SEO firm deals with clients. A great SEO firm also believes in telling good stories to people. These stories give you a better version of what the firm really stands to be. Look into their previous records. These case studies will help you map their experience, background, successes and failures. Ask the business owners who had trusted them with the optimization of their websites. If you do not get good feedbacks then stop there. You can change your mind just a few steps away from finalizing the firm; even in the last minute.
SEO, if fairly and logically done, can take your company’s reputation to a high level. But wrong hands may bring down your website from the pages of Search Engines forever. A lot of small businesses have put in their trust in a faulty SEO Company, only to have their business ruined forever. Online startups have spent thousands of dollars on an inefficient SEO Company only to find out later that their investment has been swindled.
With this article we wish to make you more aware of the intricacies involved in hiring an SEO company. The loss in monetary terms can be regained but if you lose your ranking, it will be more than difficult to get it back. So, whenever you decide to get your business ranked online, do not go for those who quote the least. Go for those who follow the best practices. Lastly, ensure you give SEO its due importance and follow the above tips. Hire a trusted SEO service provider and the rest will fall in place.