Need to increase website traffic? Thinking about working with a SEO company? Choosing a good SEO company may be difficult to do if you don’t know much about digital marketing and search engine optimization. With big implications on your marketing budget, and your business’ search engine ranking, knowing how to choose between a good reputable SEO company and a bad SEO agency is imperative.
Before you go inking a new contract, let’s dive into 5 tips on how to choose a good SEO company to help you thrive and grow your audience.
1. There’s no shortcuts or magic, SEO is driven by algorithms
Search engine optimization, the techniques used to drive organic traffic and increase a website’s ranking on search engines can be challenging. And thus, often misunderstood. This means that people and agencies might tell you about quick ‘get rich’ schemes and services. However, avoid these at all costs.
SEO is a scientific process that is driven by a complex algorithm that Google changes thousands of times a year more than 500 times per year. Therefore, if a SEO company tries to tell you they have insight into the algorithm, or can tell you all the inner workings of it, they are sadly lying. There is no secret group to inform these agencies about the hidden magic around beating the system and ranking #1. On the contrary, the process requires logical thinking, attention to detail and constant work to stay on tip of the constant fluctuations in algorithms and competition.
These SEO ‘magic’ tricks might include what are known as Black Hat tactics. These are techniques that intentionally violate Google search engine’s guidelines and rules. These techniques may be able to outsmart Google in the short time, resulting in traffic gains. However, in the long-term, Google as well as other search engines will blacklist your site from appearing in search results.
Therefore, when having discussions with a SEO agency, make sure to ask what kind of SEO techniques they use. And if you hear anything too good to be true, it should raise a red flag. Monitor for Black Hat practices, and do a little research yourself to make sure what they are doing wont get your website penalized or black listed!
Always, always, always use White Hat SEO techniques, these are by far the best SEO techniques, and the safest for your website and business!
2. Define your business’ goals and choose a company that can accomplish them
Don’t sign a contract with a company that allows your SEO goal to be ‘increasing organic traffic.’ Organic traffic can mean many different things. Increased organic traffic doesn’t always translate to higher conversion rates. In order to optimize conversion rates, you will need to rank for relevant keywords that match a search query intent to buy something. For example if you are a healthcare service provider, and your digital marketing agency gets you ranked for ‘mobile repair’, it will do zero for your overall goal of driving business and sales.
Therefore, you should work with your team to pinpoint and outline your goals of the partnership. For example, do you need to reduce your bounce rate? Or maybe increase your conversion rate? Or it could even be to rank for a certain list of keywords that will drive high quality and motivated traffic back to your website. No matter what goal you decide to accomplish with search engine optimization, it should be a SMART goal.
A good SEO company will make sure that your goals are well defined and that everyone knows exactly what they are. When choosing a SEO agency to optimize your site, make sure they are looking for this kind of information and asking that go deeper into your overall goals.
3. Choose between best SEO companies and word of mouth agencies
Searching for ‘the best SEO companies in [X] city’ may not always be the best way to go. These SEO lists can provide you with a starting point for finding an agency to work with. Remember, these lists are hardly ever impartial, and if they are semi good at their jobs, can probably use optimization techniques to rank.
Usually, SEO companies are too busy looking after their clients’ websites to worry too much about their own. SEO companies will typically get a lot of referral traffic from their previous clients. These clients will provide individuals in their professional circles to check out the SEO company they are working with.
Therefore, ask around your networks and professional circles to see if any of your connections are already working with someone. This will be a great source to find high-quality, good SEO companies in your area.
Once you do get a recommendation, you can cross check on Google to see their reviews as well as see if they have landed on any of these ‘Top SEO Companies’.
Ask around and try to get recommendations for a good SEO company before you choose one from the internet. We are not saying that you shouldn’t use ‘top lists’ or ‘best lists’ just be weary when you do. Just as when you are looking for a pizza joint in Portland, every single one will claim to be the best!
There are also B2B marketplaces that aggregate information from different agencies providing content marketing services. These tools can be useful to find reviews about a company and to see how they perform.
When choosing a company to work with, take your time and ask around. No need to rush into an agreement with the wrong agency.
4. SEO agency that can deliver
Now that you have well defined SMART goals, and you have shortlisted agencies to work with, it’s time to locate a company that can deliver on the metrics you choose. Key performance indicators (KPIs) should be defined and used to drive the overall success of the partnership.
First, go to the agency’s websites and see if they have any case studies on previous clients available. Browse through the studies and find one that is like yours. Check for the metrics and KPIs that were driving their strategy. Are they metrics that you would like to incorporate? Or do they match the type of strategy you are thinking of? If yes, the particular SEO company may be a good one to choose as they have experience in exactly what you are looking for.
Once you believe you have chosen the right SEO company, have a meeting with them and discuss their old case study. Talk about the metrics and various KPIs they were using to track the progress of that contract. It is important to see how well the agency knew what specific metrics they were tracking and how they could make decisions to alter the situation to improve them.
With so much data available from multiple sources, it is easy to get lost in the data or even track the wrong KPIs. If the company can describe the various search engine optimization metrics they were tracking and why they were; it is a good sign that they are more than capable to take on your business and deliver.
If you are not sure on which KPIs to track, you can take at your Google Analytics and see where your company may be lagging. If, you don’t have analytics here are a couple of KPIs to investigate and ask about during your introduction meeting:
- Organic traffic
- Conversion rate
- Keyword rankings
- Technical SEO issues and indexing problems
- Page load time
5. We probably don’t have to tell you but communication is key!
Choosing the right SEO company that can get you to rank on the first page of search results can transform your business! This has never been more true than now, as 90 percent of users only look at results on Google’s first page.
We have now outlined four things that should be considered when you are trying to choose a good SEO company. The final tip is to find an agency that communicates well, and tells the truth! Digital marketing just like any other industry is highly competitive, and companies may over promise.
So when you open up communication for the first time check how the company responds. Are they doing so quickly and in a professional manner? If so, that is a big positive! Another thing to check is if every time you try to communicate with the SEO agency, you have to talk to someone new. Good agencies will assign a dedicated project manager to you and you will only speak to them.
Now that you have sent a few emails back and forth, and spoken on the phone, it’s time to meet in person! During the initial contact, come prepared with some questions. You will want to gauge how well they can communicate issues, potential solutions and the overall steps to accomplish your goals. By doing this, not only will you be able to gauge their knowledge, you will also be able to judge how they respond, how much they value clients, and how professional they are.
Key Takeaways: How to choose a good SEO Company
We have discussed 5 tips that can help you feel a little more confident when choosing who to work with. We at Clear Door SEO understand that choosing the right SEO company can make or break your business and brand depending on if it is done right or wrong.
Therefore, we recommend taking your time and being thorough with your decision process. If you have some extra time, or someone on your team that has SEO knowledge, do a little research yourself. Look into what you are currently missing and need to change. Look into your various data and try to think of potential solutions yourself. It doesn’t matter if you are going to do it in-house or with a third party. You should always have relevant information so you can make an informed decision.
If you are looking for additional information, or considering doing search engine optimization in house, here are a few blogs that can help with the process: