Choosing the right SEO company can be a daunting process, especially when your shortlisted options all have great websites and similar services. Finding the right agency and vetting candidates should be taken very seriously, as the wrong choice in this area can be detrimental to your company and bottom line. Search engine optimization is an investment in your business’s future, and if you pick a great team, their efforts will show long after the work is done.
In today’s competitive business world, you can’t afford to skip out on SEO. Even if you’ve got a great social media strategy going, or you’ve done well for yourself with word-of-mouth referrals, you need a long-term method of bringing in online traffic to sustain your website. Never underestimate the power of ranking high on search engines. To help you choose the right company, here are three important tips:
Ask The Right Questions
To get the answers you need, you’ll have to ask the right questions. One of the biggest issues site owners have with finding the right SEO company is that they don’t understand what exactly they should be looking for. One of the first, and main questions you should ask is, “How are you going to help achieve our goals?”
Every agency you contact should answer that question with a proposal. The proposal outlines how the team intends to achieve your goals and what processes they’ll be using to do so. There are several key components to an SEO proposal, including keyword identification and prioritization, costs, and forecasting. By looking at the proposal, you should be able to cross off many of the questions you have on your list.
You’ll also want to ask them about their reporting and communication process. How an agency communicates with you helps not only determine the success of the project, but also how you’ll enjoy working with them. Some agencies prefer to be left to their own devices, while others send updates throughout the day. Work with someone that matches your communication style and correspondence preferences. Lastly, you can test their understanding of SEO by asking them to explain exactly what SEO is and how Google ranks websites.
Consider Going Local
Going local is good. Consumers appreciate locally sourced food, businesses enjoy working with local suppliers, and everyone is happy supporting local businesses. While working with a remote team in a different city, state, or even country is perfectly fine, sometimes you just want the option to have a face to face meeting or the comfort of knowing you have a handful of people building up your site ranking just a few miles away.
If you own a business with a goal to rank locally, this is also an added benefit, as a local SEO company would be more familiar with local directories, local news outlets, local blogs, and other local businesses. For example, C1 Partners, a Denver search engine optimization company, prides itself in adding local clients to their roster and being able to discuss optimization strategies over a cup of coffee. Many local SEO agencies feel the same way, and would rather keep their business at a reasonable size. Of course, this hands-on approach isn’t for everyone, but if you want more security and prefer to be more involved, choosing a local SEO company might be the golden choice for you.
Ask For References and Examples
A great sales pitch doesn’t make a great agency. No matter how wonderful an agency seems, they’re only as good as the results they achieved for other clients. You should be able to verify the work they did for website owners in their portfolio. One of the first signs of a reliable agency is one that readily provides references and examples. This demonstrates both their professionalism and confidence in their work.
When you check references for an SEO company, be sure to ask both process and relationship-related questions. You’ll want to know how transparent the company was in working with the site owner and discussing results, as well as whether the client felt like a priority and was happy with communication. When discussing the work process, ask about the specific activities the SEO company used to execute the campaign, and how they tracked progress.
Speaking with previous clients will help you gauge how they treat the people they work with, and how hard they work to achieve results. You may find that results were great, but the working relationship wasn’t as enjoyable, or vice versa. How you perceive the referral’s feedback depends on what you expect from the SEO company.