When you are searching for SEO companies to assist you in achieving better rankings for your Web site, make sure you do your due diligence as far as comparison shopping. It is wise to interview around three to five companies before you make your decision.
As SEO campaigns are often costly, don’t be rushed with your final choice; get all your questions answered in full and choose wisely. Remember, selecting the right SEO firm goes far beyond just comparing prices. The wrong SEO provider can lead you to a dead end with no refunds while the right SEO companies could possibly charge more, but offer more quality services and rankings that last for the long haul.
Consider the hierarchy of SEO companies to be like the hierarchy of cars – you can choose from a Honda, Lexus or Bentley. Just like cars, you can expect better quality and a smoother ride from a higher-end SEO. For example, less ‘black-hat’ SEO tactics and more quality links and content. Don’t be fooled by a company that promises you the world in 30 days. Good SEO that lasts takes time and a lot of patience.
You may already have the appropriate IT and writing team to get the job done and all you need is some SEO consulting. Think of this as if you were bringing in your car for a quarterly tune-up: make sure everything is working ok, find out what needs improvement and maybe have your tires rotated while you’re stopping by.
In SEO terms, make sure your overall site architecture and targeted keywords are correct; find out if you need to change anything through on-page optimization; and focus on building quality back links from relevant sources.
When you are comparison shopping for SEO companies, here are some great factors to consider/ask about:
What services do you offer?
- Some companies only offer consulting while others only offer SEO services. Then there are companies that offer the whole kit and caboodle – everything from ignition to driving and steering. This is the first thing to ask a company so you don’t waste your time interviewing one that doesn’t even offer what you are looking for.
What is the average price of an all-inclusive SEO campaign?
Since every campaign is different, it is not fair to ask the cost of an average SEO campaign. Some clients may just need their windows washed while others may require their entire car to be totally detailed, waxed and buffed. That is why it is a good idea to ask for the average price (on a monthly basis) of an all-services-included SEO campaign.
What kind of checks and balances are in place?
- If you are ordering an all-inclusive SEO campaign, you are essentially saying, “Here is my site. Here is my money. Let me know when I’m ranking.” But, do you really want to hand over the keys to your car in such a cavalier manner? Certainly not. Ask the company what services are in place that allow you to check on the progress of your campaign? Perhaps a weekly telephone call, cyber meeting or documented report? Whatever it is, you want to be sure that your SEO company has plans to keep you in the loop on the progress of your campaign.
Where do your links come from?
- If you order link building services, you want to be sure that those links are quality and not just quantity. Your incoming links should be from relevant Web sites with good Page Rank that were obtained in a legal manner.
- You should also ask the company, “What happens to those links after my services are expired?” The company shouldn’t be touching those links once they are yours but, unfortunately, some companies find it profitable to pull those links down once a campaign package has ended.
Where does the content come from?
- If content is part of the SEO strategy, then you will want to know where they are getting the content from? Unfortunately, some SEO companies find it best practice to outsource content needs to foreign countries. Although this is a cheap solution, quality control can be difficult to enforce.
- Search engines assign a grade to the sophistication level of the content that is crawled and, generally, articles stuffed with keywords and redundant cliches pass little gas, so to speak. You may not want your Web site associated with such tactics, and you certainly don’t want any of your visitors to accidentally stumble over such poor quality writing.
Do you have any references?
- Many SEO providers are cautious to give out any references because, generally, engaging in SEO services is not something that clients want to publicly flaunt. Think of it as if you had bought a really nice car from a friend, but you want to tell everyone that you got it straight from the dealer. Although SEO strategies and services are perfectly legal, and, in fact, encouraged by search engines, SEO companies are extremely competitive. Providing references to the wrong person may jeopardize security.
- Another reason is that many clients will not give permission to be cited as a reference because they would rather keep their services confidential. However, a company seriously worth considering for hire will have at least a couple of well-established clients in their repertoire whose rankings will not be threatened if their names were shared with a prospective client. So never take “NO” as an answer.
How/when are you accessible?
- I’m sure you would hate to buy a car from a dealership and have to bring it in the next day only to find that no one is there! When you are interviewing an SEO company, be sure to get all the necessary information down upfront: Who are they? Where are they located? What’s their phone number, fax, email, pager, Facebook profile, etc? How do they prefer to be contacted when you have questions? How often are they in the office?
- After you get all the information, it is always a great idea to check the Better Business Bureau’s Web site to see if they are registered and, if so, what other people are saying about them. Some people feel ‘safer’ by hiring companies that are local, but you may be limiting yourself. I would say that any well-established company that is ranking well for their own targeted keywords, like “SEO”, is a safe bet.