How to Evaluate SEO Companies
Hopefully you’ve been able to employ our advice from past blog posts on getting what you pay for from a SEO company and finding the right SEO company(s) to evaluate, but now that you’ve found potential services providers, how do you choose which one is right for you? Choosing the right SEO company involves more than just finding one with powerful promises of success. There are certain things we recommend looking for when hiring a SEO company that can make or break your experience with an internet marketing vendor.
What do you need to be aware of before hiring a SEO company?
- Ask for recommendations. When you have a first talk with a SEO specialist it’s a good idea to ask them to do an analysis of your website. If the SEO professional you’re speaking with can’t give you at least one solid recommendation for every page on your website then they’re most likely not experienced enough to help you rank well.
- View their SEO testimonials and case studies. Companies who are proud of their services, and whose clients are happy with the results should have a decent archive of strong case studies and testimonials.
- Ask about hidden SEO costs. Sometimes when it comes to SEO and website marketing there can be hidden costs that impact the overall price of your website optimization. For example:
- On-page optimization will affect your website’s copy. Is copywriting included?
- Some companies charge separately for XML Sitemap development.
- Will the SEO company set up a Google Webmaster Tools account for you? This is necessary to measure the success of your SEO investment.
- Will the company set up Google Analytics for you? If you’re not using another reporting tool, this is important to determine your return on investment (ROI).
What to be Wary of when Hiring a SEO Company
There are some things you need to make sure you look out for when hiring a vendor, some of them good (like the ones we’ve listed above) and some of them bad. With so many vendors to choose from (and a lot of SEO scams circling the internet) it’s important that you understand the signs that a SEO company isn’t on the up and up with their SEO service offerings.
- Guarantees that seem too good to be true. Is a guarantee necessary for SEO services? No. Does it help? Well yes it can, assuming that the guarantee is legitimate and that the company isn’t offering things that they really can’t guarantee. The truth is that when it comes to SEO it’s an art as much as a science and because of that there is a lot that cannot be guaranteed.
- Black Hat SEO.Maybe some of you have heard of this type of “unethical” search engine optimization which is frowned upon by search engines because it: breaks search engine rules and regulations, creates a poor user experience and attempts to “trick” search engines into ranking website’s higher in search results. These techniques can result in serious penalties by search engines and, while they may have a quick effect on your rankings, in the long run they may end up being extremely detrimental to your website’s marketing. Most of the black hat techniques that are used today were at one time viewed as acceptable forms of SEO, and that’s why sometimes it can be hard to determine what companies should and shouldn’t be doing for your SEO. We recommend watching out for the following back hat SEO techniques:
- Keyword stuffing. Over-filling a page’s content with keywords to raise the keyword count.
- Hidden Text. Making links or text on a page the same color as your background, so there is extra content which is unseen by users.
- Doorway pages. A doorway page is one which is only visible to search engines and is stuffed with incoherent, content full of keywords.
- Content scraping. Taking content created by others with your keywords it in and adding it to your website with an automated computer program.
- Link spam. Increasing your number of inbound links by using link scams like link farms or automated link generating software.
If a company tells you that they can rank you in position #1 for a keyword you choose, they’re not being 100% honest with you. That is simply not something a company can guarantee since there are many factors which account for where a page ranks in results outside of what a search engine optimizer can control. For instance, if you’re targeted the same keywords or phrases with your 10 page website as a company with a 200 page website, then the chances that you will rank higher than the larger website with a similar SEO strategy is slim to none. That doesn’t mean that they can’t get you to rank well ( Which really means on the first 3 pages) it just means that they can’t realistically guarantee you’ll rank on page 1. Hopefully you’ve found this information helpful. There are many internet marketing companies out there who can help you and get your website ranked well, but there are also many who can’t. If you are looking for a guaranteed SEO service provider you can trust, you can always contact us! We have an SEO guarantee and the customer success stories to back us up!