Deciding that you want to hire an SEO company is not tough. Google gives you access to 1.17 billion people on the web, and getting a decent ranking in the search engine’s results means a lot to your business.
However, the real challenge lies in selecting the right SEO service provider.
There are no official stats but seeing how the concept of Search Engine Optimization is popular these days, we can say there are tens of thousands of SEO agencies in the world. You can only partner with one of them, so you must choose the right one.
Here are some tips which will help you choose the right SEO company for your business.
Choose a Company Making Realistic Claims
Before anything else, you should see how realistic the company’s claims are.
You wouldn’t want to work with someone who claims to give you the number one Google position in a week. That’s next to impossible.
Adding on that, you can’t trust someone who listens to what you say, nods its head, tells you about your potential ranking and asks for your payment so that they can start the work.
Here is how a systematic SEO process works- first, you approach a company. You tell them your goals. Then, they will do a thorough site audit- after analyzing your website, its performance, and your competitors, they will give you real facts. They will tell you the best you can do with your available budget and time. After that, if you do plan to move forward with them, they give you results. ‘
You Don’t Need Ranking; You Need Revenue
It might be true that SEO is for ranking your website on the top of Google Search Results. However, the objective isn’t exactly that.
You don’t pay someone to help rank your site on the top of the Google search position because it looks good. You do it because you want more customers. Not a lot of SEO companies focus on this part- many only obsess on the ranking.
Making money with your website means adding YMYL content, creating high-value backlinks, increasing creditability and such. Doing this takes a lot of skill, effort and time. On the other hand, if you only want rank, stacking keywords and using other Blackhat SEO techniques will work.
Look for Positive (and Genuine) Review
Noone in this day and age needs to tell you to look at the reviews before hiring a service provider. Anyway, you will need to be careful.
Companies hire people to write reviews for them. In fact, according to a report, 75% of consumers in Google read fake reviews in 2018.
The only way for you to be secure is by doing some research. Read a review of the company and check who did it. After that, contact that party. If you don’t seem to find them, then the SEO company has been wrongly praising itself.
A lot of anonymous reviews is also a red flag. You could ask the agency itself about who did it. If they are vague about their answer, you are better off searching for another one- companies don’t want to hide their portfolio.
Ask their Previous Clients
Companies are going to brag you about their past associations. They will tell you how good they were, how they helped take an internet business from zero to millions, etc. Hearing stuff like that is fun, but you must verify their assertions.
Once they share with you their clientele, contact companies that the agency supposedly helped. Ask them about their good and bad sides, and you will find your answer there. Try your best not to let the company know about your move- working secretly will give you better results.
Asking for referrals could be a good idea, but that is only until the agency can show service contracts. Some agencies have a history of misleading people by hitting them up with fake clients, so keep an eye on it.
Look for Reasonable Price
You must realize these two things:
Cheap and Reasonable are Not the Same Thing
You know what ‘worth it’ means, right?
Don’t be wowed because an agency offered you a goldmine willing to accept peanuts. At the same time, don’t panic when someone tells you a price that is more than what you stipulate
Remember that Search Engine Optimization is an investment rather than spending money. Instead of calculating how much you spend, you should be focusing on the ROI that comes with the proposing skillset.
Expensive Rate Doesn’t Automatically Make it an Extraordinary Service
You are not looking for a high price. Rather, you are seeking capability. Of course, we said that SEO is an investment. However, the more the money you put, the more the risk you are at. So, you should be on a fine line between what you must assure and what your limits are.
Work with a Reliable Team Who Can Provide You Priority
It might seem fancy to choose an already established multimillion SEO company, but this might not be the best option for you while starting out.
SEO companies don’t have only one client. Thus, you should partner with an agency for whom you will be as important as their other customers. If the company that you pay to do SEO for your SME is already working for the biggest enterprises, you might only be a side hustle for them.
As we are talking about reliability, you must know about the team members. Assure that the people that the company is going to assign to look after your site will be there until your contract terminates.
Don’t Get Confused with the Establishment Date and the Experience of the Employees
Here is the thing. The world of SEO is very competitive. New companies are being established every day. Many experts work in an agency, know the trick of the trade and later, establish their own corporation.
What we mean to say here is that you should ask about the experience of the individual company members rather than inquiring about how old the company is. A new agency might have professionals with incredible results while an ‘experienced agency’ might be lacking decent employees at the moment.
Even if you don’t want to know much about SEO, you must have this basic. One of Google’s most important ranking factor is backlink.
Backlinks are the links on other websites that point towards your site. When good sites have links to your website, Google thinks that you are good as well.
On the other hand, if your SEO agency creates links on spam sites, it will put you on trouble. First, you might get good search rankings depending on the count of those links. Anyway, later on, the search engine will penalize you when it realizes that all that mattered to you was the number of backlinks and not the quality.
Thus, you should ask the agency about the sites where they create backlinks.
What Services Does the SEO Company Offer?
With Google having more than 200 ranking factors, SEO companies have been forced to expand their services to as many things as possible. While some companies limit themselves to backlink building and keyword research, other solutions provide a wide range of services such as videos, infographics, social media marketing, e-mail marketing, content curation/ creation and many more.
Remember- even if a company might not be the best in every service it offers, you will at least be able to know its willingness. After all, an SEO agency has to pay its employees. If it has hired people from various fields, you will get an idea that it is serious about business.
Work With a Company that is Transparent about Their Service
You can take this point as a tip to work with an SEO agency as well. It might be true that many companies don’t have time to keep up with what has been happening with their site, so they need to hire other parties. However, to become a responsible client, you should be willing to know what work is going on.
While you choose an SEO company, don’t have the mindset that you are looking for someone you are going to give the job and call after a month to know the results. You should rather ask them to keep you updated about their analysis, tactics, difficulties and other essential parameters that define how successful your campaign can be.
Doing so, you will motivate your SEO company to do its best. At the same time, a regular two-party communication will help you address any shortcoming from your side, maximizing the results of the campaign.
How Often Does the Company Send Reports?
This one connects with the previous point of transparency. You must look for a service which produces frequent reports.
Different agencies have different methods of evaluating ‘success.’ Some may consider good ranking as their goals, while others focus on a better conversion rate or high traffic. Whatever it is, ask for a demo of the report they send to their clients. Depending on the information published there you can know if their beliefs are relevant to you.
Hire a Lawyer While Signing the SLA
Companies might add terms you don’t know about- for example, hidden charges and contract discontinuation penalties. You should be careful about it. At the same time, you also deserve to have a say on the agreement. Of course, results can’t be guaranteed, but you should point out consequences if they don’t put the effort they promised the first time they met you.
Well, we don’t really need to discuss it in detail. All you need to do is hire a lawyer and take an hour of their time.
Bonus Tips: Things You Should Avoid Telling an SEO Company Before Hiring
You are Cheap/ Expensive
After asking the company for their price, you should analyze it for yourself. Do it in silence and make your decision. Never make comments about their pricing, especially if you decide to work with them.
Telling a company they are cheap increases the risk of them decreasing their work quality or increasing demands in the future. At the same time, being an SEO company ourselves, we will have to say that we would feel somehow demotivated if someone told us our services are expensive. Well, it hasn’t happened till now but it sounds as if someone is devaluating our worth.
I Have Worked with a Lot of SEO Companies Before
This one will give mixed signals. Well, it might be true that you have discontinued the previous services because they didn’t deliver, but think the other way around. What if a good SEO service provider concludes that you are a difficult client to work with, and doesn’t move forward with the work?
I Don’t Know Anything About the Work, so I Leave it Up to You
We repeat, never say this. Never give the SEO company an idea that they can do anything they wish to with your site. Many Search Engine Optimization Solutions try to do as less as they can on the maximum price. Telling them that they are on the driving seat will only open doors for them to give minimum contributions.
Your selection of the SEO company plays a huge role to define how successful your business can be on the internet. Thus, you should take the idea seriously. Take a look at as much as qualities as you can including attitude, realism, transparency, pricing, and understanding before you make your decision.