The Internet is a hell of an invention. The world is a lot more interconnected these days thanks to it, in every possible sense. It’s a tool, and a very powerful one. All the glories and all the horrors of the world can break out in mere hours once they find the right platform.
This is where SEO companies come in. It’s 2018, the technology has matured, and companies exist who can look after your websites and the content on them to make sure that they’re properly optimized. Of course, as with all things, there are good companies and bad companies, and here are the basics on how you can tell which is which and get the best SEO services for your buck.
Get A Track Record
The best way to see if a company does good work is to look for that work and evidence of it.
Look up reviews for the companies you’re examining, and observe what they say. There are also lists of trustworthy SEO providers, and in this digital age, your SEO company doesn’t have to be local to provide you what you need; you can be in Huntsville, AL, while they’re in Raleigh, NC and still get effective results.
From the company itself, ask them for case studies of the work they’ve done, and for some clients they’ve worked for before that you can ask about.
Get testimonials from the people they’ve worked for; this is where your network of industry friends and insiders comes in handy. Referrals have worked to bring quality business since time immemorial, and that hasn’t changed here. Ask them what they liked and disliked about the company, and see if those match up with your needs.
Have A Concrete Goal
So this is on you instead of them, but working with your SEO company is a two-way street. SEO is, basically, a marketing concern, and to that end, you have to determine what it is you want of them. And this has to be concrete because SEO isn’t just something you do, it’s a means to an end. Traffic and rankings for their own sake mean nothing. If people visit your site but then do nothing further, what good is your site then?
Traffic must serve a specific goal. If you’ve confirmed that the traffic on your website translates to increased revenue, then increasing traffic becomes a good goal. Or if you’ve identified a target market, and thus set a goal of attracting more traffic from that market, that’s also good.
Basically, figure out what you want, and the company can more easily tell you what needs to happen.
Consider Communication Styles
Communication is vital in any relationship. Platonic, romantic, business, whatever; all connections are founded on effective communication. It’s a matter of meetings, and of just speaking to each other in general.
Do you prefer something more freewheeling, or would you instead have daily updates, weekly updates, monthly?
What kind of information do you want to get?
Do you perhaps want separate reports, like a summary for your boss and a more detailed report for your marketing department?
Go through all this with your company, and find out what works best for you. See if you can come to a reasonable compromise with the company you’re working with.
Determine Your Resources
Is there anything in this world that doesn’t cost money? SEO certainly does. Don’t think you can just drop in five dollars and have your website looking all beautiful at the top of the search results.
Don’t hesitate to ask the company you’re after, as they’ll have a contract structure for you to peruse. Define your budget, and check it against what you’re hearing, and the conversation afterwards becomes much easier.
And by resources, we don’t just mean money. The company may need to work with your people, like developers or content writers, to properly optimise, so ask them what they need and consider how much time you’re willing to commit to them.
Also consider how free a hand you’re giving the company. You may want to have someone to sign off on what they’re doing, to maintain control and build up trust, but this will cut into their time. Or you could give up oversight and let them do what they wish without anyone having to approve, but that has its own downsides.
What To Watch Out For
Just as you have ways to find the good, there are ways to root out the bad. Here are a few red flags to watch out for:
Lack of Transparency
Don’t be afraid to ask exactly what it is they’re going to do for you. A good company will be upfront and transparent about their methods and techniques. If anyone responds with ‘trade secret’, or even worse, says it’s a secret but promises guaranteed results, drop them.
SEO is an open field, the technology is mature, its techniques are well understood, and by its very nature can’t really be hidden. This isn’t like cuisine, where a unique taste defines the establishment. Anyone with any kind of ‘secret sauce’ is talking out of their ass.
Related to the above, if an SEO company promises to get you to the top of the results page in a given timeframe, they’re again lying through their teeth. Though the methods are known, the results are impossible to guarantee. You should especially be careful of a company that says this before they do any research into your company or your current SEO profile.
SEO is a competitive field, with its ways sometimes odd to the untrained observer. Fortunately, as with almost every other trade, it has its experts. The points we’ve discussed are things to consider when you’re shopping around for the best SEO services. Hopefully, you’ll a find a good company that’ll do right by you.