Just like every other marketing trend, SEO changes quickly. Brands invest heavily in search engine optimization and will continue to invest in the future. The only question is, how can your business take advantage of that and make the best choice when it comes to choosing the right SEO company partner and tactics?
If you lack marketing and search optimization skills in your company, you need to think about outsourcing SEO to a company that can become your long-term marketing partner.
But, picking the best SEO company for small businesses is not an easy task due to one reason – there are too many SEO companies and service providers. So, with that being said, how can you make the right choice for your brand?
- Smart Ways to Effectively Conduct SEO Campaigns: Preparation (Part 1)
- Smart Ways to Effectively Conduct SEO Campaigns: 12 Tactics (Part 2)
Warning Signs of Bad SEO Companies
Picking a bad SEO company can do more harm to your business than not doing any SEO at all. Before we proceed, let’s discuss what some of the warning signs are when it comes to choosing a search engine optimization service provider.
The One Who’s Promising the Moon and the Stars
You hire an SEO company because you want to be visible online. It can be really enticing when someone tells you “We can triple your traffic in two months!”
SEO is a long-term and organic process and if someone guarantees that they can take your website from zero to hero in no time, that is a big warning sign.
Also, a lot of SEO providers will promise you that you’ll be on the first Google page within a month. That’s not a real guarantee because Google’s algorithms are too complex to achieve that result in such a short period of time.
Yes, eventually you can get to the top of the first SERP (Search Engine Results Page) but, nobody can guarantee that you’ll stay there.
The One Who’s Not Interested in Your Business Goals
If companies don’t bother to understand what your business goals are and how the SEO tactics will align with them, you shouldn’t trust them at all. In most cases, these companies promise a lot of traffic without even knowing whether this promised traffic is relevant or not.
The best way to know if an SEO company can help you reach your SEO goals is by communicating with them. Clearly lay out what you have in mind and how you are planning on going about these strategies. They should present a realistic timeline and course of action to make these plans come to fruition.
The One Who Has a Weak Content Strategy
If you’re going to trust someone to optimize your website, you must be impressed by their website and their own content first. If the provider’s website is filled with outdated content and it’s hard to navigate, it’s more than clear that they don’t understand SEO at all.
Another thing that you can do is to inspect the provider’s blog. A good SEO strategy includes constantly updating your blog. If they haven’t posted fresh content in a while, it’s a sure sign that they’re not interested in improving at all.
The One Who Communicates Poorly
SEO should be the provider’s entire business model. It should not be a side hustle for a couple of freelance marketers that want to earn an extra buck.
So, before you decide to hire an SEO company, send them a few emails and schedule a call to feel them out and see if they’re a legitimate company or not. If there’s no significant organization and they exhibit poor communication skills, get out of there as quickly as you can.
Choosing the Right SEO Company
Before you decide which SEO provider to choose, you need to sit down with your team and discuss your content and marketing goals:
- Developing Compelling Content Goals – One of your main goals should be to drive relevant traffic to your website. Your target customers search phrases online that include the keywords that you use. Your goal should be to bring them to your content which is, hopefully, relevant to their needs.
- More Revenue – You need to boost your sales, and SEO can be a sales driving channel that brings the right people to your website.
- More Product Trials and Sign-ups – Of course, you want to bring your target customers to your landing pages and convince them to sign up for your newsletter or download your lead magnet. People that sign up want to test your product, learn more about what you offer and eventually become valuable customers.
Be careful when you research an SEO company website online because there are lots of companies with almost the same business models and similar webpages. The worst of all is that they all promise a brand new approach and instant results. In most cases, that’s all talk and no action.
If you’ve defined your goals as previously discussed, choosing an SEO partner should be much easier. You should pick the companies that best suit your goals, and this way, you’ll be able to communicate better with them in the process.
Now, on the flip side of doing research, the best SEO companies might not be on the first SERP after all. Yes, the companies that appear on the first page showcase their SEO skills perfectly. But, the best SEO providers usually give those efforts to their clients.
This is why you need to focus on your best-ranked competitors and learn all that you can about their SEO strategies, content tactics, and their best keywords. To find the best-ranked competitors for your desired keywords, you can use BuzzSumo or Ubersuggest, two of the best marketing tools that are focused on domains, content, and keyword research.
Analyze Your Pain Points
Hiring an SEO company is not a one-size-fits-all. Companies have different needs when it comes to SEO, and you should make sure that you know what you need to improve before hiring a third-party company.
Here are a few things that you should practice when performing an SEO audit or analysis on your website:
- Do a full SEO audit. Information is key to finding out what you need to improve on your site in terms of SEO. Consider using tools such as SEMrush and Google Search Console when doing a full audit.
- Delegate the tasks properly. To make the process faster and easier for the team, make sure to delegate the tasks evenly.
- Learn to prioritize. Create a list of the things that you need to accomplish and arrange them by hierarchy. Put the most crucial tasks at the top of your list and stick to it.
- Know your SERP rankings. Find out where you stand on search engines and work from there. Additionally, you can also take a peek at your competitors’ SERP rankings so you’d know how to overrun them.
- Check if your site is optimized for mobile devices. A lot of people browse on their mobile devices, and your website must be completely mobile-friendly.
- Don’t forget your On-Page SEO. Optimize your meta descriptions, title tags, image alt tags, content, and internal linking.
For a full guide on how to do an SEO audit, read this article.
It is crucial for your company and everyone involved to develop a transparent expectation from the search optimization process and the provider. You should be aware of the process length and the SEO company should know all about you and your business goals.
So, in order to ensure that the process’s time frame and efficiency, you’ll need to schedule an initial meeting or a phone call where you can ask the company the following questions:
It is important that your questions are answered truthfully by the SEO company even if they tell you something that you didn’t want or expect to hear. In business, you’ll often have a few disagreements with your partners or people you work with.
However, a good SEO agency will answer your questions and solve any problems in a constructive manner and with a long-term mentality.
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Traits of the Right SEO Company
Speaking of good SEO agencies, let’s talk about some of the traits of the best in the business so that you can make the right choice for your brand in the future.
Walk the Talk
When they say something, they mean it. What is said is backed by data, case studies, recommendations, and previous success stories. A good SEO team will provide you with enough information about the experience that they have on their website and even personally on a meeting with your team.
A proper company has a person that is in charge of communication. They don’t make someone wait for an answer or provide any sort of miscommunication. A respectable SEO firm will contact you promptly with the details – a detailed call, email, or face-to-face meeting that will help you understand easily. They will make sure that you understand their terms and plans clearly so the project/s will go smoothly.
The SOE company will also ask you when you’re available to schedule a call or an (online) meeting. The right SEO company should be easy to communicate with.
Using White Hat Tactics
This is vital when you choose a company to work with your search engine optimization. You’ll want someone that uses ethical SEO strategies as well as other accepted methods to help your business do well in your search engine page results or SERP.
A company that uses black hat techniques could damage your website’s performance online so much that you may never recover from it. Worst of all, your website could be removed from search results and none of your target clients will be able to see it.
Using Proper Analytic Tools
A real SEO provider should at least be an expert when it comes to Google Analytics. The company should know how to analyze your web data and how to use that to improve your website.
Analytics are key when it comes to measuring performance and tracking the results of an SEO campaign.
Oriented Towards Conversion Rate
Yes, more web traffic is really important, but if your website can’t convert that traffic into customers and your conversion rate is not improved at all, you’re basically spending money on nothing.
An SEO expert knows that each visitor needs to be guided towards the wanted conversion on your website. If the SEO strategies that the company talks about are only for bringing in traffic, it means that the strategies are not goal oriented at all.
Measuring the Right KPIs
You need to hire a company that sets logical and reasonable KPIs for every stage of their strategies. Good KPIs are an excellent way to show the success of SEO tactics.
Good Social Media Presence
The right SEO company knows the importance of a social media presence and its engagement. If the company you have chosen has an excellent social media presence and engagement with fans and followers, it reaffirms their credibility.
Companies that don’t have any social media presence can be hesitant to present themselves because they’re not ethical enough, which is a big warning sign when it comes to firms that guarantee a successful online presence.
Strong Content Marketing Strategy
The best companies continuously educate and entice their customers and audiences with content. They use content to drive traffic to their pages and to convert regular page visitors.
An outstanding SEO provider regularly updates the content of a website along with social media accounts.
You should expect the SEO team to display a big level of professionalism when doing the required tasks. If the company shows signs that they’re not entirely professional it’s obvious that you’re not their priority, and that’s not good at all.
You need to work with a team that is transparent, thorough, and keeps you informed.
You can’t expect the SEO company to run their business just like yours. But, they need to be flexible enough to ensure that the process will be aligned with your business operations.
You can always sense a company’s approach if you look at the case studies offered on their webpage from previous clients.
When you’re done with evaluating and meeting with each company that you think could run your SEO campaign, you need to make a decision on who to choose for search optimization outsourcing.
As stated, there are lots of SEO companies, but it all comes down to choosing the one that understands your business goals and needs the best. If you combine the tips above with your company’s SEO goals, only then, you’ll have a systematic approach that will guide you to the right SEO company for your business.