A 10 Point Checklist For Choosing the Best SEO Company
Before you decide to go with the first SEO Company that sounds decent, stop and think. Signing up for an SEO service that is outdated or unprofessional can do more damage than good. Search engines are smarter today than we can imagine and any attempt to fool them can backfire. A cookie-cutter or black-hat approach is not only likely to fail, but can also have a negative impact on your SEO ranking.
Why Should You Hire the Best SEO Company?
We get many emails offering guest blogging or forum posting as a link building technique. While this used to work in the pre-Penguin days, today Google will mark any low quality or improperly cultivated links as spam. The same goes for content that is artificially stuffed with keywords, is plagiarized, or uninteresting for the users.
Google is continuously rolling out new search signals and algorithms and your competitors are also working on their SEO. In this scenario, the SEO company that you hire better be the best. Here’s a checklist that you can quickly go through before you decide to sign up with an SEO agency.
1. Are you clear about your goals?
Before you can demand from your SEO partner to take you to your goals, you must know what they are. Are you sure that you actually need SEO? Are you looking to increase traffic or merely want a website audit to determine if you’re following the best practices?
2. Are you aware of SEO best practices?
Implementing SEO is a tedious task, but knowing about SEO best practices doesn’t take much time. You must make yourself conversant with the latest SEO trends before you start evaluating agencies. Visit some of the SEO blogs and learn how search engines rank websites.
3. How have you found them?
Have the agency/agencies that you are interviewing been referred by a friend, colleague or someone else you trust? Referrals are one of the best ways to evaluate an agency and avoid wasting time and money. Do not trust too much what the agency has to say about itself.
4. Have heard their success stories?
Before you part with your money, do ask your prospective SEO company to tell you their achievements in terms of client success stories. Go a step beyond the testimonials that they have on their website. Contact their previous clients and verify their claims.
5. Have you met them personally?
The Internet has made it easy to meet people face-to-face even if they are in another country. It is strongly recommended that you meet your SEO people face-to-face or at least talk to them on Skype or phone. Try to evaluate their expertise in the way they speak about it and answer your questions.
6. Are they right for your company?
There’s no guarantee that a top-notch SEO agency will do a fantastic job for your company too. It is a good idea to present to them a few of the issues that you are facing, and see what they have to say. Their response will give you insights into their knowledge and interest in resolving your problems.
7. What is their communication plan?
Communication is the key to the success of your SEO campaign. Does the company you’re going to offer customer support, and what type? What are the SEO reports that they will present and how frequently? There must be a system of regular SEO reporting, troubleshooting, and feedback in place.
8. Who is responsible for your project?
From an SEO audit to on-page optimization, and from internal linking to off-page optimization, SEO is a lengthy exercise. You must know from day-1 the individual or team responsible for your account. Someone must be held accountable if things are not going as planned. Ask for your SEO Manager.
9. How many vendors are you interviewing?
It’s a zoo out there when you’re looking for people to do your SEO. Different companies may bid a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars for deliverables that essentially look the same. While it always helps to consider and ask for proposals from more than one vendor, you should never make price the biggest part of your decision.
10. Are you thinking long term?
SEO is not a one-time exercise. As the search spiders perpetually grow smarter, there will always be a need for improvements. You should go with an SEO company that can become your long-term partner for maintaining your site at the top of search rankings.