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HOW TO CHOOSE AN SEO COMPANY (AND FEEL GREAT ABOUT IT)
There is a lot of information floating around about search engine optimization (SEO) and how to know if you are getting the services and results you really need. It can be a confusing and overwhelming at times, but there are some simple things you can do to choose an SEO company and feel confident about your choice.
Make no mistake, this is a pretty big decision – but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start the process with some simple questions and you’ll soon have the foundation you need to make your decision an informed one.
What Questions Should You Ask an SEO Company?
As you go through the discovery process and start to learn more about your potential SEO provider, there are some questions that really need to be answered before you make any final decisions. Start with the following:
Do you have any case studies or specific references that you can share?
What special client wins can you share that required special actions or a unique approach to an SEO campaign?
What are your current SEO tactics and how they differ from the tactics you used 2 years ago?
Do you strictly follow search engine guidelines or do you think it’s okay to push those lines (or jump clear past them)?
In what time frame do you expect to see results? (While you should be very suspicious of anyone who promises results in days or weeks, you can expect a reasonable timeframe based on their past results.)
Do you have any experience working in my industry?
Do you specialize in a specific facet of SEO or online marketing? Why or how has that type of focus provided better results?
How long have you been in business?
What communications and reports I can expect during the campaign?
Do I Need to Know Something about SEO before Starting the Conversation?
Many people are hesitant to begin seeking out an SEO company because they don’t feel they have enough base knowledge on the subject. They have a legitimate concern that their lack of information and experience will leave them with services or contracts they don’t actually need.
It’s important to have some basic understanding of SEO before you begin talking to different companies, but you don’t have to be a master of the subject.
There are several good sources for this kind of information, and your friends, family, and former employees do not fall into that category. Instead, go to the source: Google offers some basics on the subject and there are some good blogs that can act as a good primer. Do a little reading, but you don’t need to know everything before you contact an agency.
Have a Specific Goal in Mind
You should set some specific goals before you start looking at SEO companies. When you can express these goals clearly, it will be easier to know if the agency is the right fit for you.
Ask yourself what you really need and want to accomplish with an SEO campaign. Goals that are too general, like “get more traffic” or “get better rankings,” won’t be very effective. More specific goals might include:
Starting a new website on the right foot
Expanding your reach through paid search or social media
Getting out of a Google penalty
Cleaning up an older website and getting it in line with modern best practices
Grow sales by a specific amount
These types of goals will help you be clear with your SEO agency so you can work together more effectively.
Set your goals, know your success metrics, and you can get a lot more out of your talks with SEO companies.
When Do You Need an SEO Company?
According to Google: “If you’re thinking about hiring an SEO, the earlier the better. A great time to hire is when you’re considering a site redesign, or planning to launch a new site. That way, you and your SEO can ensure that your site is designed to be search engine-friendly from the bottom up.”
While you may see immediate value from an SEO company during those suggested times, that doesn’t mean your long-established website is out of luck. It just means that the SEO company will have to change their tactics a little bit.
You may also want to seek help when you experience a sudden and detrimental drop in website traffic. This is most often due to Google’s regular algorithm changes, and when it happens, you’ll need to refocus your strategy to restore your traffic levels.
Getting and Understanding an SEO Proposal
Unless you have an entire legal department on standby to read over proposals and contracts, there’s a good chance that these types of documents are not exactly your idea of a relaxing, weekend read. Still, it’s important to make sure you understand what the proposal is saying so nothing slips by you.
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