A website needs to be visible to let people know that it exists. There has been a popular process of applying technical and creative practices aimed to increase visibility of websites. This process is called search engine optimization (SEO).
People usually use search engines to search for the information they need from the internet. Websites appearing on the first page of search engine results page (SERP) have higher chances to drive more traffic than those that don’t. The goal of SEO is to help your website land on the top spots of SERPs by optimizing your website to earn high rankings from search engines.
SEO is a complex process; it takes in-depth understanding and innovative practices to get the best out of it. If you are new to SEO, acquiring basic knowledge about its concepts and fundamentals will be your first step. But if you lack the time and technical expertise, it is always wise to hire the service of SEO professionals to do the job for you.
The demand for SEO has led to the increase in the number of SEO companies, SEO agencies, and SEO consultants. If you opt to hire an SEO company, the outcome of your SEO relies on the effectiveness of the company’s approach to increase your site’s visibility and traffic. It is therefore important to choose the most reliable SEO professionals to put in charge of your SEO campaign.
In looking for a good SEO company, probably the first idea that may pop out of you is to use Google to search for the best SEO company in your city. This idea would only make a lot of sense. For an SEO company that promises to increase your rankings in SERPs, it is only fitting to see it on top of the first page of SERPs. However, this simple logic may not work all the time.
The thing is, best SEO companies may not have the time to optimize their own websites because they are too busy working for heaps of clients generated through referrals from other satisfied customers. SEO takes time and meticulous focus. The SEO company that made it to the top spot of SERPs probably doesn’t have much clients or work to do because it has all the time to focus on its own SEO. I believe you already get the logic here. So that’s that, do not rely on Google in choosing the best SEO company. Referrals and recommendations are still the most effective ways to find a good and reputable SEO company.
It is also important to get your hands on SEO even if you have hired an SEO company to do the job for you. As a client, you need to know and understand their SEO strategies and how you can assist them to implement such campaign. If the SEO consultant refuses to disclose to you the strategies, then it’s time to have second thoughts. Trustworthy SEO companies do not hold secrets from their clients. They will discuss the entire process with you and await your approval before they can implement any SEO strategies. Your SEO should be made transparent to you and there should be no secrets between you and the company you hired.
Here’s what to look for in an SEO company:
- Client list and history
Your best source of information in knowing the best SEO company is testimonials from clients who can share their own SEO experiences with that company. Ask the company for the list of its current and past clients. If the company refuses to provide you its client list, it may be hiding something. A reliable SEO company will take pride in showing you its client list together with their contact details. Take time to talk with previous clients as they can help you determine the effectiveness of your SEO candidate.
- SEO proposal
A good SEO company will present to you a proposal of strategies to optimize your site. This proposal should include every encompassing element that can help you achieve high rankings. After an initial technical review of your website, the company must be able to identify the problems such as error pages and broken links. The company then explains to you how they can fix any existing problems; every detail of the strategies should be disclosed to you. If a candidate refuses to reveal its proposal, it is best to reject its offer and look for another company that can provide you a comprehensive SEO proposal.
- Adherence to webmaster guidelines
There are some illegal SEO tricks being used to intentionally manipulate rankings without the knowledge of users. These tricks include using hidden texts, unseen links and spammy content. Major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing have posted webmaster guidelines that prohibit the use of these illegitimate practices. The presence of such tricks can result to lower rankings. Or worse, you can be banned from any search results.
It is therefore important to look for an SEO company that adheres to search engine’s webmaster guidelines and stay away from those that don’t.
- Realistic goals
A good SEO company is honest towards its clients and never gives false hopes. If a candidate tells you that it can make your website rank number one in a day or two, consider that as an empty promise. Also consider staying away from candidates claiming to have an insider relationship with Google or Yahoo that can guarantee you high rankings. Ranking doesn’t work that way. Search engines are using engines, not humans, to perform the ranking.
Choose an SEO company that sets a realistic outcome by providing you a detailed explanation on how to achieve that goal in a systematic way.
- Local SEO expertise
Local SEO is valuable for brick-and-mortar businesses in growing visibility within their specific geographical location. This is to attract local customers to visit their shops. Choose an SEO company that offers local SEO to help you get your website appear on search engines’ local listings so that nearby customers can easily find you.
- Analytics tools
A good SEO company should show you the current status and progress of your SEO. With the help of analytics tools like Google Analytics, you are able to view your traffic density and traffic sources. These tools can also help you look for keywords that are driving more traffic to give you an idea of what keywords to use. Make sure that the SEO company you hired is sharing these analytics with you.
- Payment terms and fees
Your obligation as a client is to make clear about payment terms and other fees. Ask the candidate about how much you’ll be charged in case you avail its services. Most SEO companies are charging their clients based on the complexity and size of their sites. You also need to clarify if the company or consultant gets paid hourly or daily. You should also know when invoice payments are due and if there is an interest charge for late payments.
- Contract expiration and termination terms
Make sure that the contract is made clear and concise. It must be stated in the contract that when it expires or when terminated early, you should retain ownership of all the outputs being provided by the company or consultant. You need to see to it that the contract clearly states that nothing should be removed or changed after services have been fully rendered.
Can you reach your SEO supplier and get answers fast? How available is the company proposing you SEO services? So crucial to get to know this particular details as once a service is done you’ll naturally see a decline in personal contact and overall communications from the SEO supplier – especially if there are only one time fees. Testing the availability and response timing by just sending a simple email would be ideal when hiring services that aren’t closely vetted or monitored. If you click a link directly from Google free organic search results, prepare yourself for testing your supplier as Google won’t monitor their efficiency – that’s your responsibility as a cautious buyer.
- Overall Verifiable Credibility and Proof
Are some of the SEO claims to far off, sound iffy or better yet – unsound? Get to know these facts by doing research on the offering claims. Directly asking for proof of what’s being stated if it sounds too good to be true would be wise. An example would be any income guarantees or traffic guarantees. There shouldn’t be any of these claims in any experience SEO offering in my respective opinion, but if you believe your SEO supplier is great, validate these facts by asking proof of claims.
There are numerous SEO linking opportunities that are fantastic to work with in a constant basis and then there are those that you shouldn’t try even if they paid you. Carefully read everything, validate and be as smart as an external auditor would do when running his own auditing service, but for your own well being.