SEO is difficult. You can learn to teach yourself but it would probably take a long time. And let’s be honest, you will never be as good as an SEO professional. It is their job to be better at SEO then you. Just like if you were a florist, you would be better at selling flowers than an SEO professional.
This is why many businesses are looking towards SEO companies for assistance. A good SEO company will have the time and knowledge that you simply don’t. By leaving your SEO efforts to a professional, you can focus on more important components of your business.
The problem that business owners face is that there are a lot of SEO companies out there with makes it difficult to choose the one that is most suitable for your business. Every SEO company offers slightly different packages and does things a bit differently.
Before settling on an SEO company there is a checklist you should go through to ensure your business and the SEO company are a suitable fit. Don’t settle for the first company you find. This process should take you some time.
Remember the SEO company you choose needs to be suitable for your individual business. You need to be comfortable and happy with your choice because you need to trust that they can and will do a good job to help boost your website in the rankings.
Before I go any further and explain how to find the most suitable SEO company for your business, I would like to address some common misconceptions about SEO firms. Once I clear up the confusion you will be in a better position to understand how you can find a great SEO firm.
1. Ranking number 1 for SEO in local area doesn’t necessarily mean they know what they are doing.
When a company appears in Google’s converted number one position it doesn’t always mean they are THE best. It means that they are ONE of the best. Never disregard other SEO companies on the first page. I’m not saying choose a business from the 15932th page. But don’t have tunnel vision and be solely influenced by the fact that a business is number one on Google.
2. Big SEO companies aren’t always the best.
If an SEO company has hundreds of employees and they are making a tonne of money, they are obviously doing something right. But this may have not a lot to do with SEO. They may know how to make the right business decisions but this skill may not convert into success for their clients. If you are a small business, a big SEO company may not be the best decision; you have a greater chance of essentially becoming lost in the system.
Just remember that bigger isn’t always better.
3. Fancy website doesn’t mean they are a match for you.
A good SEO friendly website from an SEO company is important because it showcases to you, the client, what they can do. However, remember that web design and SEO are two different things. If you are looking for a company to design your website then this is more important. But, if you are only looking for SEO, then a fancy website shouldn’t be a big determining factor.
Alright, now we have that out of the way, let’s take a look at how you can find the most suitable SEO company for your business!
Think about why you need an SEO company
The first thing you will need to do is understand what your business needs. As I said before, every SEO company offers different things. By having a solid understanding of what you need and what you are looking for in an SEO company it will help you on your way.
Here are some examples of when you probably need the assistance of an SEO company:
- You don’t have a website or just starting your business and need guidance
- You have a website however you aren’t seeing any traffic
- You have a website and seeing traffic but not getting any conversions
- Your website isn’t optimised properly
- You want to increase your visibility and internet presence
- You are looking to expand your customer base
There are obviously other reasons, but these are the main ones. SEO is becoming very popular these days and I find that lots of businesses are jumping on the bandwagon just for the sake of it and not actually thinking about why they need an SEO company.
Think about your goals and what you are looking to achieve by enlisting the assistance of an SEO company. Can this company help you get there?
Talk to more than one SEO company
If you were taking out a home loan, you wouldn't go with the first option you saw right? The same applies for SEO. You should be looking to get multiple consultations with different firms. Most SEO companies will offer free consultation because they want to be in with a chance to gain your business.
By having multiple consultations you have a better understand of what each SEO company have to offer.
You will also establish what do you and don’t want in an SEO firm. One of the most important things when talking to SEO companies is to see if you actually get along with the team.
You will probably be speaking to these people once a week and if you don’t like them then this could cause problems in the future. No matter how good you think they are at their job. If you don’t get along, it may cause trouble.
The more SEO companies you talk to, the more options you have and you can leverage it.
After the consultation you should receive a proposal listing in detail what their business can do for you as well as the price. Take your time to fully understand what each firm is offering you.
It’s a good idea to go with your gut. If something feels off or doesn’t look quite right, then it probably is. The SEO firm you choose should completely satisfy you and be able to properly answer any questions you have. Trust your intuition, if you’re left not feeling 100%, then it is probably best to just walk away.
Look at reviews and case studies
It is important to always take a look at the SEO company’s previous work and reviews. If they don’t have any online reviews or case studies on their website and aren’t willing to offer any if you ask, then have a think about why that is.
It is understandable that some clients want their details to be kept private, but most of the time SEO clients are happy to have their review and/ or details on the SEO firm’s website. This is because it is free publicity! That’s another link back to their website and more people are going to see their business.
Don’t just look at the clients they have. Make sure the clients actually have good things to say about the firm. Obviously, an SEO company isn’t going to feature negative reviews on their website. If you are looking for a true mix of reviews, then you should go to independent review website. A good place to start would be Google Reviews. The SEO firm has little control over what is said about thier business on independent review websites.
By understanding previous examples you have a better idea of how the firm operates.
A good SEO firm will even try to find a previous client that is in an industry similar to yours. Each industry is slightly different and there are varying SEO methods that work to ensure success. If an SEO firm has shown success with a similar business, you would probably have more confidence in their ability to help you.
Packages on offer
A major influencing factor for SEO is the price. I’m going to be blunt; many people think SEO is expensive. Well, think about it. Quality SEO takes a hell of a lot of work. It takes constant monitoring, reports, analysis etc. Do you really think someone would be willing to do all that work for a cheap price?
With SEO, low price usually means low quality.
SEO is also something you don’t want to skimp on. Cheap SEO companies will tend to lock you into 12 month contracts and give you quick fixes, usually using black hat methods, to push you up in the rankings quickly. Then they don’t do any more work. But because you have a locked in contact there isn’t much more you can do.
You should always choose a SEO firm that offers no lock in contacts. This means that the firm has to continually preform and give you results for you to continue to use their service. Also, you should try to steer clear of companies that standardise their packages.
A good SEO firm understands that every business is different. Therefore there is no cookie cutter solution.
They will take the time to get to know you and your business and work with you to develop and package and SEO plan that is suitable for your individual needs. This is why on most quality SEO firm’s websites you won’t see prices or specific packages. You may see general information but nothing too specific.
Think about whether the SEO company actually cares about your business and seeing it success, or if you are just $$$ to them. An SEO company that is genuinely interested will not rush you to make a decision. They will ask the right questions to have a better understanding of your business and what you want to get out of SEO. They will want to get a solid understanding of your customer base, as well as where you stand with SEO now and if you have ever done SEO before.
An SEO firm should answer all questions you have and explain what they are going to do in a way that you would understand. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions. A good SEO firm will encourage questions and support your decision on the level of your involvement in the SEO process.
You have to remember that SEO companies can never guarantee anything. Unless you work for Google, you don’t have complete understanding of the algorithm and therefore cannot guarantee things like getting you to the first page of Google or the first position.
It is important to choose a company that cares because you know you can trust them with your business. It may take a bit longer for SEO firms when they truly care because they are trying to understand your business fully so they can provide you with the most tailor made service possible.
SEO can be a difficult concept to grasp and it certainly takes a lot of time and effort. If you feel as though you don’t have the skills or time necessary to dedicate towards SEO, then it is a good idea to enlist the assistance of a professional.
Hiring an SEO company isn’t actually as easy as you may think. The SEO firm must be a good strategic fit for your business. They need to take the time to understand your business properly. There are so many SEO firms out there which make this whole process even harder!
Don’t settle for the first firm that you see, take your time to shop around.
Each SEO company has a different way of going about their business. So by going to numerous consultations you can get a better feel of what you like and what you don’t.
It is important to review previous case studies and reviews of an SEO firm. Make sure you also look to independent review websites and not just on their own website. Look for firms that will take the time to customise and SEO package for you. With SEO, cookie cutter packages very rarely are effective.
Sarah is the head of guest posts outreach and an SEO expert. Her interests are search engine optimisation, social media and brand management.