Nearly 70% of online experiences start with a search engine. Having an eye-catching and user-friendly website design is great and all, but won’t mean a thing without visitors to appreciate it. Getting people to visit your website is tricky, but not impossible. Working with a top search engine optimization company can drive traffic to your website, and ultimately help you grow your business and generate sustainable revenue. But with the multitude of SEO companies out there, how do you even begin searching for the right one, and what are the red flags to consider? Read on to find out.
Important Things to Look for in SEO Agencies
If you’re in the market for the best search engine optimization company, too many self-proclaimed gurus out there will promise you incredible results with their secret, fail-proof system for pennies. It may seem daunting to weed out these fakes from the reputable firms, but that’s where we come in. With the information provided in this article, you’ll be able to quickly recognize credible and experienced search engine optimization firms and start the process with as few hiccups as possible.
The company’s experience is an important aspect to consider when choosing an SEO service agency. Experience doesn’t only indicate proficiency in implementing specific techniques but also allows for an efficient long-term approach based on understanding the nature of Google’s ever-changing criteria. The last thing you want is to spend money on strategies that might be redundant in a few months.
Having the processes laid out transparently is crucial. The best SEO firms know that modern SEO strategies require an integrated execution and will be straightforward about the steps they plan to take. A lack of transparency signals that the SEO service agency is likely after a quick buck and doesn’t care about providing results.
The way a company pursues backlinks is one of the things that can give you a clear insight into the type of approach it has overall. Backlinks have been a crucial ranking factor since Google rolled out the PageRank algorithm, and they aren’t going anywhere.
As with most things SEO, quality trumps quantity any day of the week. One quality backlink is worth more than a bunch of low-quality ones. SEO firms that know what they’re doing will never chase cheap backlinks. The bad ones won’t necessarily be transparent about it. It’s on you to get all the information you need on the company’s link-building approaches and choose the one that is upfront about its strategies.
Any outfit claiming to be the best SEO company should be happy to show you case studies derived from working with other clients. By going over their portfolio, it’s easier to figure out whether they will offer the best SEO services for your needs. If the company you are thinking of hiring doesn’t have a portfolio published on their website, consider sending them an email with a request to go over it. This will allow you to accurately gauge if you can expect value for your investment.
Even though you don’t have to understand the SEO process completely, you should be aware of the metrics that determine the success of an SEO campaign. There are many metrics that one can opt to track; however, the best SEO agencies will typically include these three main things: traffic, rankings, and conversions.
A traffic report will provide insight into the search traffic on your website within a specific time frame compared to another, while tracking rankings tells you how your keywords are performing on Google. However, even if your traffic increases, if your conversions haven’t followed suit, you are losing money. Conversions are what a good SEO partner will focus on, as they know that this is where the revenue lies.
Top SEO companies will have something tangible to provide after a few weeks or months of working on your website. It will likely come in the form of deliverables, which will prove that they are putting your money to good use.
Some of the deliverables a search engine optimization agency might give you include: a website SEO audit, link profile analysis, content optimization procedures, a list of articles with links pointing to your site, etc.
While these are the essentials, the list can be extended further. In any case, make sure they show you some deliverables.
Information and Access Gathering
The top SEO agencies will ask your help to be able to help you in return. Be wary of those that do not ask questions or access to your tools. Here are some of the things they might need from you:
- Access to your content management system
- Access to analytics tools
- Access to social media accounts
- A list of keywords you want to rank for
- Previous content audits
Keep in mind that if they do not ask you for any of the listed things, you might be dealing with a scammer.
Instructions and Recommendations
One of the most efficient ways for SEO service companies to help you is to directly tell you what to do with your site moving forward. They will make sure to give you straightforward instructions.
Take note of the typical things a good agency will have you do:
- Create a social media presence on multiple channels
- Integrate your site’s homepage with your socials
- Create an easy-to-follow content marketing plan
- Start writing a blog
- Optimize your content and include internal linking
- Install plugins to improve your SEO
- Remove spam links
You or your in-house marketing team can request some of these initiatives yourselves. The SEO company you’re working with might offer them also, even though it’s not within their typical services.
Look for Big Brand Names
Having big brands as clients is a clear sign that an SEO company is able to provide top quality services. Larger brands typically have no-nonsense policies when enlisting any type of work. If you’ve noticed that the company you are contemplating to hire has collaborated with top global brands, you have probably found what you’re looking for: the best SEO services company.
However, this doesn’t mean that firms that don’t have big brands in their portfolio should automatically be discarded. Many top SEO companies specialize in working with small businesses. You can recognize them by taking a look at their specialties in terms of business size and industry.
Research Company Values
This may be one of the most overlooked yet important variables to consider when deciding to hire a company to help with your SEO. If the team doesn’t understand or value your vision and ethical standards, it is unlikely they will deliver the results you are looking for. Peruse the company’s About section and even individual profiles of their employees.
Note that different SEO agencies will have different internal structures. This means that some firms might assign a whole team to work with you, while others will limit your contact to one person to avoid complications. Think about your preferences in this respect and choose accordingly.
Things to Avoid When Choosing SEO Service Providers
Now that we’ve covered the main characteristics of a quality SEO company let’s see some of the things that raise a red flag and indicate you should run the other way.
Choosing the Lowest Price
Price is a huge factor. Most of the time, it correlates with the quality of service. This may prove to be problematic for you if your budget doesn’t allow for much, and you might feel pressured to choose a low-cost SEO firm.
However, watch out for pricing policies that are drastically different from the industry standard in either direction, as they are a huge red flag that something is amiss. The best SEO companies do not undersell nor oversell their services.
Regardless of the size of your budget, don’t let the price be the only thing determining your choice, as it will most likely lead you in the wrong direction. Trust us; this ends up costing way more.
Run and don’t look back if you ever come across search engine optimization agencies that guarantee results. No matter how clever their call to actions sound, don’t get sucked into that black hole. SEO experts know that there is no such thing as promises or guarantees in SEO because it’s always changing.
No one can predict what Google algorithms will do next, which further highlights the importance of a firm’s experience in keeping up with the latest SEO trends.
Fixed SEO Packages
You might want to avoid SEO packages that are fixed. Every website and business is different in their needs and wants, and even the best SEO companies won’t have the perfect fix for it outright. This means that such offers will rarely be a good fit. If you are currently communicating with a company, ensure that they understand what your business is about and can create customized strategies that will benefit you.
How to Pick Among the Best SEO Agencies
From everything you’ve read so far, one thing is clear: selecting the best SEO agency for your needs is hardly an easy task. Finding someone that you can trust with your web presence requires a thoughtful process that, if done correctly, will pay off ten-fold.
Define Your Goals
Before coming to a final decision on a potential hire, you will need to have clear goals in mind. Not setting specific goals for your website will make it that much harder for you to see if the company in question has the skills and experience you require.
Regardless if you’re looking for the best SEO companies for small business owners, or you have a larger enterprise, write down the most important goals you want to achieve. Do this before assessing a company and see if they can help you reach them. Remember, the best goals are always measurable.
Follow Them on Social Media
There is no better way to get a feel for a company’s tone than reading their social media posts and blog articles. Check out their Facebook following and review their activity on LinkedIn. Subscribing to their newsletter is also a great idea. This is typically the best way to see if their claims of being one of the top search engine optimization companies are true.
Taking the time to familiarize yourself with a prospective company’s social media content allows you to assess the less formal side of things. You can also get a sense of their expertise and professional priorities.
Compare Different Pricing Arrangements
Even the top SEO firms will have different price structures and contract lengths. Be direct and ask what exactly you can expect for a specified fee if the information isn’t already readily available on their site. Even better, compare the fees of multiple outfits to make sure you are choosing the ideal offer for your business and your budget.
The best SEO firm will give you the tailored experience you need without overcharging you or locking you down with an unnecessarily long contract.
Define Communications and Support
Finally, take note of one unfairly overlooked aspect of working with SEO companies. Clear and frequent communication with the agency in charge of your SEO can make all the difference in your satisfaction levels. Ask your potential hire what their typical reporting process is, and what type of support you can expect during your contract.