10 Tips for Choosing the Right SEO Expert
Choosing a reliable consultant or agency to do your SEO is an important decision that can have a big impact on the success of your company. A bad selection can not only waste your time and money, but they can damage your reputation with customers and the major search engines. How can you avoid this situation? Here are ten things you should look for when hiring a consultant or agency to handle your SEO:
1. Being at the top of the search results doesn’t mean they are the best SEO agency
It seems logical that if an SEO company ranks well on Google, that they must know what they’re doing. However, this isn’t always the case. Many of the best companies often don’t need to put in the extra work needed to get top rankings for competitive keywords, because they already get enough business from referrals and other sources and are more focused on improving the rankings of their clients than their own. There are better ways to find a reliable SEO company than searching for “Best SEO Company Near Me” on Google – such as a referral from a friend or colleague.
2. There is no magic bullet
A lot of agencies say they can get you huge results fast because they’ve found the “magic bullet” or “secret sauce” to search marketing. The truth is that while experience can help marketers find solutions more quickly, there is not one magic solution that will work for every client. Every clients situation is different, and it takes time to figure out what will work best for each client. Instead of going with an agency that promises a miracle solution, look for an agency that can give you a clear strategy and that has a good track record of success that is willing to put in the hours and effort it takes to achieve positive long term results.
3. No one can guarantee a top search engine spot
It may sound counter-intuitive, but if an SEO company guarantees that they can get you to the top of the search results, it’s almost always a bad sign. The truth is that SEO companies can only try to influence rankings, but only the search engine itself has direct control over how a link ranks. If they say they can guarantee top rankings, it either means that they don’t know what they are doing and think that they fulfill that promise, or they are using some type of black hat SEO techniques that may rig the system in the short term but can cause lasting harm to your site’s ability to rank well long term. Search rankings are determined by an extremely complex process that some sources say considers around 200 different factors when determining its rankings. A reliable SEO company will be upfront about this. They’ll walk you through the strategies that have shown the best results for them in the past and let you know based on their experience what they think is the best path towards success is for you. Only time will tell what the real result of their work will be.
4.How do they build links?
Link building is one of the most important aspects of a good SEO strategy. There are many different link building strategies, and some are more effective than others. For instance, if the agency’s strategy is to post links to as many sites as possible regardless of quality or relevance, this should be a red flag. Like search rankings, you should also beware of anyone that can promise a set number of backlinks in a particular time frame. Instead, look for a company that offers you a comprehensive and targeted plan for reaching out to prominent sites within your niche, as this is how good link building is done.
5. Communication and Accountability are key
Communication is essential with any SEO company you hire. It’s important that you find a company that help you understand everything they are doing and why they are doing it. You don’t want to give them blind control over your business online and hope they will do a good job that will faithfully represent the best interests of your company. That doesn’t mean you need to micro- manage everything your agency does, but you need to know what they are working on and be able to check the results independently. At the end of the day it’s your business, and you want to make sure everything they do meets your approval.
6. How do they measure success?
Next, you’ll want to learn how this SEO company measures success. A good company will focus on more than just the volume of traffic or links you are getting to your site. Quality is more important than quantity in most situations, and a skilled marketer will help you get high-value traffic that converts to leads or sales. At the end of the day, all that really matters is getting a healthy return on your marketing spending. If an SEO company only focusing on a lot of technical metrics and not addressing the value you will get back from your marketing, this is typically a sign that you should consider another company.
7. What Happens If You Stop Their Service?
Let’s say your plans change in the future and you want to end your relationship with a marketing agency- what happens next? Will everything they have done remain in place? Can you end your contract in a timely manner, or will you get stuck paying for extra months of service that you don’t want? Even when working with agencies that have otherwise done a good job, circumstances may change in the future and require that the business relationship ends. need to end things. By knowing the answers to what would happen in this situation, you can not only make a better decision when it comes to choosing an SEO service, but you can prevent problems later on when you need to terminate the partnership.
8. Who Will Be Doing the Work on Your Account?
When you start interviewing potential SEO services, you may meet some people who seem quite knowledgeable and capable in their field. The problem is they might not be the ones actually doing the work on your account? Some marketers are great at selling services to clients, but once they get the contract will pass off the work to either under-trained junior employees or even outsource the work to a third party vendor. While some delegation is necessary for larger agencies, it’s important that as a client you make sure you know who is actually working for you and how qualified they are to get the job done.
9.Can They Show Examples of Their Work?
This should be one of the first questions you ask. Most reputable companies will have a strong track record of success with previous customers. Ask them to give you the name of some sites they have done SEO work on for previous customers. You can then either contact the previous client and get their feedback, or you can run some basic SEO tests on the site itself to see if their are any obvious problems. If an SEO company is unwilling to show you examples of their work, they either don’t have any examples, or the ones they did have were done poorly.
10. Are They a Google Certified Partner?
As the dominant search engine in most markets, Google sets many of the standards when working in search advertising. This is why they offer the Google Ads certification program to help train individuals to use their platform. While they do provide some basic documentation for those that pass this certification, the only way you can verify it is if they work for a Google Certified Partner. Agencies can become Google Certified Partners if enough employees pass their Ad certification and if they meet certain ad spending and performance requirements for their clients. When talking to SEO companies, see who at this company has this certification and see if they will be the ones monitoring your ad campaigns on a daily basis.
So the next time you’re in the market for a SEO consultant, keep the above points in mind. They should help you to get thoughtful answers from your candidates that you can use to find the best agency for your needs.