By Ryan Boog
Choosing an SEO company is a tricky task.
Why? Because there are a ton of SEO firms to choose from. Each of them will guarantee that they will be able to help you. Paying an SEO company hundreds (or thousands) of dollars to optimize your online presence is risky and the consequences of the wrong decision can be devastating to your website and business. Choosing a poor SEO agency can result in Google penalties and wasting your money on false promises. Here are some tips to help you choose the best SEO company.
Ultimately, you can hire a freelancer, hire someone in-house, or hire an SEO company. And of those options, typically a freelancer will be cheapest - but you're hiring a one-person show. An in-house SEO manager will be expensive, although it's always nice to keep things in-house. Of the three, an SEO agency will probably be most reasonably priced and leave you with the most time to do what you do well -- run your business.
But how to choose? As mentioned above, SEO companies are a dime a dozen. To make matters worse, many SEO agencies prey on vulnerable marketing departments by making big, fat claims like: "Increase traffic immediately!" or "We'll have you ranking in two hours tops or your money back!" But can they really deliver on these claims? That's what you need to find out.
When it comes to choosing a company to do SEO for you, here's how you can make a decision you can feel really good about:
You want to find a company that prides themselves on being a cut above the rest. There's definitely a line in the sand from companies that conduct SEO the right way and companies who stick to promising impossible ranking results. You want to make sure they're on the good side, doing work with integrity. And a good way to get to the bottom of this is to see what they say in response to "How does your agency stand out from other SEO agencies?"
Make sure the business has a legit location. SEO agencies can have fake business fronts and hide behind a website. You don't want that.
You should be able to talk directly with the SEO expert that will be working with you. This way you can connect with the SEO expert and decide if you like them, not just the company. Some SEO agencies will talk with you and then assign you an SEO expert later...after you've signed their contract. Make sure you know who they are before signing!
SEO is complicated. If you can find a company who explains SEO to you in relatively simple, straightforward terms, you can be pretty sure that they'll be good to work with. Two things to request of them: regular reports (monthly, quarterly, whatever), and phone time to ask questions or just check in. If they're handling your SEO, you want to be able to talk to them about it.
Your SEO company should have an extensive report for you every month. These reports should cover more than keywords. It should cover everything that is important to your business succeeding (analytics, website performance, key performance indicators, paid media, etc.). At Hoist, we provide a custom reporting app that is unique to each of our clients.
I'd be wary of anyone who hands you a list of 50 keywords and says, "I've got these nailed! Piece of cake!" A great SEO agency will be upfront with you about potential challenges, but also positive and excited about the potential they do see for success.
Any company that promises results should be able to show you case studies to prove they've actually achieved the results they promise. Need proof from Hoist, you better check these case studies out!
Sorry, but this is a load of baloney. As an SEO expert, I would never say that to any clients. With Google's paid ads and diminished exposure of organic traffic, it is harder than ever to make a site #1 on Google. We make sure clients have realistic expectations and focus on conversions. Any honest SEO company will educate you on what to expect.
You deserve to see an SEO audit of your site and see where your site is strong, and where it could use some help, before you sign anything. It is easy for someone to pick keywords and stick them into a site. What matters is the thought process behind why these keywords were picked. Do they properly represent your products/services? An SEO audit will get you and your SEO company on the same page. Interested in an audit, give us a shout.
We never make a client sign for a set amount of months. You should stay with an SEO company for at least 4-6 months, just because it takes a while to see SEO results. But, we would never make a company stay with us if things aren't working.