You’ve been tasked to hire a search engine optimization (SEO) company to improve your own company’s search engine placement. However, you’ve now generated a list of 20 SEO firms and are not sure what exactly it is that you are looking for in terms of finding the best one for your requirements.
You begin to get in touch with each company in turn, but they seem to be saying pretty much the same thing over and over. Nevertheless, the fact is that some of them can and will deliver, while others will fall by the wayside.
So, how do you figure out which is the cream of the crop? Which firm will solve your primary concerns without costing you the earth in return?
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First, it’s wise to clear up some popular misconceptions about SEO companies in general.
The company has a nice website so they must be good.
For obvious reasons, a nice looking website doesn’t necessarily dictate a good SEO firm. Sure, if you’re intent on hiring a website design specialist, then this company may fit the bill.
The company ranks well for a number of SEO related terms in your geographic area.
If it’s an old domain the company are using and the company have done a half-decent job on SEO, that’s likely enough to gain some decent search rankings. But it’s not enough to prove that this firm is any better than another one.
The company hires plenty of employees and appears to be making millions.
It’s true that the company must be good at something but it may not be SEO. Further, bigger needn’t necessarily be better. The solo guy working in his basement may be a better fit for your requirements.
The main pointer to take from this is that you should look well beyond the superficial facets when hiring an SEO company, just as you would when hiring any company. That said, here’s how to go about it.
Decide what you require.
Do you need reputation management; an SEO audit; link building; content marketing; ongoing SEO; PPC management? The key point here is to have a particular goal in mind. After which, make this goal the main reason for communicating with your chosen SEO firm.
Don’t rely on a single consultation.
Most SEO firms offer a free initial consultation. Once the consultation is complete, and it may take a few days as the firm will likely have to carry out some research on your industry and your company, you’ll receive a proposal outlining your desired services and a pricing schedule.
Get references and case studies.
The main question you want an answer to is this: “Will you help me to achieve what I need to achieve?” And the best way that an SEO firm can provide an answer to that is by demonstrating to you that they’ve achieved a similar job with previous clients.
As by way of example. If you work for a banking firm and the SEO firm has successfully conducted business with other banking firms, it serves as a pretty good predication that this firm is a good fit for your needs.
Check out the prospective company prior to hiring them.
You can check out LinkedIn profiles and company websites, but you need more than that. You also need to learn about their background, their experience, their successes as well as their failures.
By all means ask about the firm’s background – how they began in business. Ask about their best and worst client experience, how they dealt with it, and how they’ve managed to improve since then. The more you learn about the company, the more things will piece together thereby offering you a good sense as to whether this is the right company for you to work with or otherwise.
The bottom line is that you set clear goals for your requirements, you obtain a number of bids, you take time to examine future predictors as to performance, and you listen to what the company has to tell you about themselves and their experiences.
Don’t rely on any particular aspect, however. Placing too much emphasis on one over the other is unwise. Instead, formulate an entire picture and by doing so you’ll be in a strong position to successful choose the right SEO firm for your needs.