how to choose a good seo company

By Christina

Jul 27, 2017

How to choose a good SEO company for your business or website

We are going to talk about how to choose a good SEO company, consultant or agency.  You may find you'll be better off working with an independent person, a large organisation or bringing SEO in house and employing someone to do the job.  An SEO consultant is going to have a huge impact on your business, and many companies go down the wrong mythical path to choosing an SEO consultant to work with.

Here are some of the most popular mistake in finding an SEO consultant

1.  Using Google as your filter

OK so we all want to rank number one for the most popular keyword, so an SEO company that is in this position should be the perfect company to work with - right?

Not necessarily, unfortunately, the reality is the best companies who are high in demand and are consistently doing great work, don't worry or waste time ranking in the search engines.  They get all their work through referrals and don't rely on Google to bring them new jobs.  These companies tend to have a high retention of clients because their customers are satisfied with the job they do, they're making plenty of money, they are so incredibly busy with client work they don't spend any time optimising their own website to get new clients.

As a result you can end up with the worst possible SEO consultants who go all out to rank well for best SEO plus their city name or region plus a particular speciality - they are not the best.  These people simply do not have enough clients to keep them busy. 

However, that being said, someone who is great could be in the top rankings, they just haven't built up a great client list yet, giving them enough spare time to work on their own website.

Just be aware this isn't a great filter to use to find the very best SEO for you.

2.  Trusting 'Top SEO' Lists

Often a company will work hard to get listed for Best SEO, or best SEO consultant etc, once they make it to the top they will then contact SEO companies and get them to pay to be listed on their website.  There is no trust here, these are not SEO consultants the website owner has worked with and knows for sure the SEO is the best, the website owner just wants the SEO consultants money, they don't care if they are the best option for you.

Again, yet another filter that may not serve you well when trying to find an SEO consultant that will fit with your business.

You would be better off spending some time in Twitter and Facebook learning who the marketing leaders are, you can then go to their websites to see if they have a recommended SEO list.  These lists comprise of companies that have been tried and tested and have not paid to be on the recommendation list.  Don't be afraid to connect with the leaders and ask for a recommendation.

3.  Secret sauce and a little bit of hocus pocus

I designed a website for a client, who then employed an SEO consultant who had done the hard sale over the phone, and they signed up just to shut him up. 

The SEO, who shall not be named, requested FTP access, which is something we don't give, but asked him to forward any changes to us and we would carry out the work (at no extra charge to our client or the SEO consultant).  He refused, claiming what he did was a secret, and he didn't want us pinching his ideas.

SEO is not a secret, there is no secret sauce that you add to the mixture of hocus pocus, it is a very open community and no person working within the SEO industry should have a problem talking their client through the work they plan to carry out and why they chose those options.

If any SEO consultant claims it's a secret (not in jest of course) or they can guarantee you number one position for a keyword, or they can't answer you when you ask 'how'd ya do that'? then run - run away as fast as you can.

Unfortunately, people love being let into a secret, or feeling like they've got one over on the establishment, in this case Google, they'll buy into this crap and then end up claiming that SEO doesn't work.  SEO does work, you've simple been had by a good con man.

SEO is not secret, there is no secret sauce......

The very best way to find an SEO consultant

You can find SEO companies through recommendations.  Friends, personal and professional networks are always good places to start.  Similar non-competitive companies will probably share information about who they work with.  And of course industry insiders, you can find some great SEO's on Twitter who will also talk about other great SEO's and share their material and/or advice.

Even an SEO who doesn't fit well with your business may be able to suggest someone who would.

Things you can do to work out if an SEO is worth hiring

Set Good Goals
How can an SEO consultant know what to do for you if you don't know what it is you want to achieve.

Before you even start looking for an SEO, sit down with your team and discuss what it is you want your website to achieve, once you have this you can then set goals, then work out how you would like those goals to be measured.  It also shows any SEO that you are a competent business person and they can't mess with you.

If you really have no idea what you're doing because you are new to business, or just the internet, then it will be worth your time chatting to a Business Consultant who will hold your hand through the process and keep you on track.

Good Goals and Bad Goals

The Good:

  • I've got this great article that will help people researching pimple popping, so you want traffic from these specific groups.
  • I need more revenue and would like to achieve this through new sales.
  • I want to get more people downloading my ebook
  • I want to get more people signing up for a free trial of my product
  • I really need to boost peoples opinion of my brand

The Bad:

  • I want more traffic - why? Once you know why it becomes a revenue thing which is a good goal.
  • I only care about my rankings - pure vanity.
  • I want to rank above my competitor for every keyword or phrases they use - bad idea, it doesn't lead directly to making revenue.
  • Vanity metrics, such as domain or page authority or Google PageRank (which died many years ago)

Set a budget you can afford, and how much time you can allocate towards the SEO campaign, because your consultant will need to spend some time talking to you, and you may have to collect certain data for them.

Now you are ready to start interviewing
It's time to bring in three to five companies, consultants or agencies.

What to say to an SEO

Tell them want you want to achieve, your budget, the time you can spend with them answering questions or collecting data.  Ask them how they would go about achieving the goals you have set and why they use that method, and the type of reporting they provide and how they will communicate with you. 

Finally ask them what do they do if things aren't working.

Compare them against each other.

Ways of choosing the right company

  1. Do you trust them?
  2. Check their referrals
  3. You like the way they communicate with you
  4. You like the price and the contract structure - many have a month to month contract with upfront fees, some SEO's may have creative pricing plans, or will create a plan that is appropriate for your business needs.

Should you bring SEO in house

If SEO is a core requirement of your business to succeed, you will be better off employing a junior member of staff who can be trained by a great SEO company.  An in house person will be able to have far more conversations with the teams around your business and understanding your products and customers, then any SEO company, consultant or agency will be able to.

SEO is not for everyone, it's very competitive and if you don't have the budget and commitment to get your website seen at least within the top five listings in Google, which could take a couple of years, then it may not be economically viable for you right now.

Further Reading.

How to improve your SEO ranking and attract more customers
Can SEO help you grow your small business?
The complete guide to a landing page
What is a meta description and how you can create your own
6 steps to rank your website higher on Google
How to troubleshoot and fix a drop in website traffic
Why does your business need SEO?
10 common reasons your website traffic is dropping
How you can increase traffic to your website
What is SEO and how does it help your online business
Why is great seo expensive
Why basic SEO strategies will fail
How revamping your website can negatively impact search engine rankings

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