It is the fear that keeps small business owners up at night. It is the nagging pit in their stomach. Despite all of their efforts, their excellent service and their in demand products aren’t selling as they hoped. Where are your customers? Why aren’t they finding you? The answer can be as simple as three little letters, SEO.
As it becomes more challenging each day to be noticed online, SEO services are becoming more appealing to small businesses. But finding the right SEO company is not as simple as a quick Google search. The difference between a good SEO company and a shady one can be summed up in a few questions.
7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an SEO Firm or Agency
1.How long have they been in business? What is their philosophy for working with their clients?
Fly-by-night companies are an unfortunate reality in the field of SEO. Many of these use spammy tricks to boost SEO for a little bit, but ultimately trash the overall ranking of a site before packing up and moving on. These companies are in it for a quick profit and not much more.
In contrast, the more reputable SEO companies take a well-rounded approach to boosting their client’s rankings, and it should show in their overall philosophy. These companies are more focused on relationship building and often will have a list of case studies and customer testimonials to showcase their abilities.
2. What metrics do they focus on?
It is easy to get lost in the jargon when talking about SEO. Words like rankings, keywords and backlinks get bandied about regularly. While the vocabulary is important, a good SEO company should be able to translate this jargon into plain English for their customers.
They will ask questions and discuss options and opportunities as they determine the best practices for your company. Using organic, pay-per-click and social media options a legit SEO company can create a plan that will help your company meet its goals. Do you want to boost awareness or drive people in the door? If what you want are conversions the right firm will focus primarily on those for their clients. While rankings and traffic are important, at the end of the day, sales and action matter the most.
3. Do they promise lighting fast results?
If an agency promises you100% perfect results, right away….be cautions. An honest agency will be able to give you results within 4-6 months and substantial results within 6-12. In order to get the conversions you want, results take a bit of time. Any agency that says it will only take a few weeks will probably rely on shady practices to get those results with link buying and spam. This will give you a quick boost but overall can lead to big penalties with Google and other search engines which can get you blacklisted and tank your rankings in the long term.
4.What is their content and link building philosophy?
The answer should always emphasize quality over quantity. Good links come from high-quality sources and a certain number cannot be predicted. So, if a firm promises a certain high number, they deserve some more questions. “Black-hat” SEO is never the answer, and this includes link buying in any way.
Search engine optimization, really good SEO, relies on relationship building with your customers, with your stakeholders and with the World Wide Web.
5. What is their keyword strategy?
More than ever before, searches use “natural language”, long-tail keywords and full sentences, rather than just a keyword or two. If the firm suggests many short keywords and keyword plugging as their strategy to get you noticed, be wary. Keyword strategy has changed to focus on more on long-tail results rather than just “golden keywords” that many clients think will bring them high traffic.
6. What is their reporting process?
If an SEO company starts to get evasive at this question, run away quickly! Statistics are easy to come by in the digital world, but it is the “how” and the “why” that deliver the most ROI. Sure your traffic may be up, but can your SEO company tell you where it is coming from or why? The ideal firm promises monthly reports that can give you a snapshot of your overall digital health and offer well-reasoned plans for growth. When you talk to references and check case studies this is something to look for.
7.Are they integrated?
You will always benefit from a firm that does more than just SEO. Other digital-marketing services such as web development, social media, content marketing, or conversion-rate optimization will help your SEO goals overall. Working with a company that is too specialized can effectively act as blinders for your business. A social media strategy that doesn’t integrate with your website or a development plan that doesn’t build in room for SEO is like trying to steer a boat while everyone paddles in different directions. Try to find a firm that takes a holistic approach to your digital marketing goals and get the most bang for your buck.
Don’t be afraid to ask these questions when looking for an SEO company. In fact, ask any question that comes to mind. A quality SEO company should be able to answer with clarity and offer examples to back up their points. High quality SEO is an investment and not just monetarily. SEO companies act as ambassadors for your brand and influence your reputation online. So take the time to find one that will help your business grow and will act as an extension of your company.
Of course, all of these aspects fall under the Seafoam philosophy. At Seafoam Media we take pride in both the science and the creativity that we bring to the table, crafting a plan that will not only drive business but also enhance your online reputation. We take a holistic approach to generating quality traffic for your company. Curious about our approach? Call us today! We are happy to explain exactly why we are different.