Finding The Right Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Company
Over 90 percent of all web surfers use search engines to find what they are looking for. If visitors are not finding your site, you may need search engine optimization (SEO) – whether you hire a company or do it yourself.
Keeping a website at the top of the search engines has become a science. The best search engines frequently modify the way their databases list websites, and constantly change the search criteria used to find and present web pages.
You may have already been approached by SEO companies promising #1 rankings and instant success. How do you know which company to believe and which are not being upfront? Below are some things to consider when looking for the right SEO for your business.
Search engine optimization work is very expensive, and with most things, you get what you pay for. If you find an SEO company that’s inexpensive and their website resembles a used car lot, you may not get quality work.
How much should you be pay? It depends on what you would like them to do. Here are a few factors to consider:
2. Understand what you’re paying for
Most SEO companies offer various packages that include certain services, and you can choose to add on additional services. Make sure you get all the services you actually need and are not paying for those extra's you don't need. Some things that might be included in your package:
Make sure you are clear on your goals and communicate them to the SEO. You may want to increase traffic to your site, create “instant” traffic for a brand new site, expand your mailing list subscriber base or increase online sales over a determined period of time. Your goals will influence the services you require.
If the SEO you’re considering has a guarantee, understand it completely. If they’re guaranteeing to increase the traffic to your site or increase your rankings, great! If they’re guaranteeing that you’ll get a top 10 ranking, consider this guarantee carefully. There are so many factors that come into play when optimizing a website. For example, how established is the site, or is it brand new? How competitive is in the industry? Ask how they are going to achieve the promised results. Some firms require you to sign a form stating that there are no guarantees for top ten rankings which will reduce misunderstandings later on.
4. Competing Clients
Some SEO companies will only work for one client in a given industry. For example, they will only work for one vitamin company, one masseuse, reiki practitioner, and so forth. They don’t want their clients competing against each other for the same keywords. Other SEO's set themselves up to be experts in a particular industry, such skin care or health clinics. Still other firms will take on more than one client in a given industry, but only if each client has a different set of targeted keywords.
5. Track Record
Check out the company and learn how knowledgeable and experienced they are in this industry. Ask for a list of references/clients from them and contact them. Take a good look at their websites. Check for quality of content and keywords. View the source and see how well the meta tags are structured and how well they apply to the content given. Go to the major search engines and find where these clients land on the search terms they are targeting. If their clients rank well then the SEO has created a successful marketing campaign for them.
Ask how long the SEO has been in business. If they are focusing on your industry, how long have they had that focus? Ask the company if they would show you a few reports the company completed for their clients.
6. Access to Your Server
How will the SEO work on your site? Are you going to give them access to your server where they would upload pages and making changes? If they go through your webmaster, then the process will be slower.
Some SEO companies like to set up gateway pages on their own server and route traffic to your site. Other SEO's like to set up separate websites on their own server as a means of building link popularity and routing traffic. If the SEO does this then make sure you negotiate ownership of the gateway page or site in the beginning. If the SEO company owns the pages or sites and you take your SEO work elsewhere, that firm can simply re-route traffic to another client’s site.
7. Website Quality
In order for your website to be successful, the additional traffic to your site has to be converted into sales. If your site is not designed in such a way to promote the actual sale (i.e. visitors don’t know where to order your products/sales, no call to action, poor navigation) then it doesn't how much extra traffic you have to your site.
Some SEO’s will say that they are not responsible for actually increasing sales unless they take on the responsibility of redesigning some areas of the site to make them more “sales friendly.”
8. Finding a Trustworthy SEO
To help you determine how trustworthy they may be, consider the following questions:
9. Type of Proposal
Many SEO’s will create a proposal for your company before you actually hire them. Creating proposals can be very time consuming: spending time on your site, researching your industry and competition and generating reports from that research. Some companies may charge for the proposal, others may not. Still others will charge only if you decide not to use their services. Many SEO’s are hesitant to give away too much information in the initial proposal, so they won’t do detailed reports or offer focused suggestions until an official agreement has been reached.
10. Follow up
Ask the SEO what you should expect in terms of follow up:
These reports should not only show where your site is ranked on each
of the major search engines for each of the major terms you target, but
also show you how you have improved from the previous month and where
your competitors stand. They may even provide suggestions on changes to
your website and content. The SEO firm should be able to help with key
phrase research, copy writing, return on investment analysis (pay-per-click)
and traffic analysis to help you understand visitor's behaviours on your