As a website owner, our desire is to see that our website reaches the top spot in the search engines and receive a lot of traffic that converts. You can have the best content in the world but without search engine optimization you will not reach that goal. It is a rather depressing scenario as SEO seems so simple.
However, if you have ever tried to play around with your own site, you realize it is anything but a simple task. There are so many nuances and algorithms to take into account. Learning how to do SEO and then implanting those techniques on a site would be a full-time job for many of us. Thankfully, there are people who do this for a living and many of them do it well. This article is going to shed some light on how to find the best SEO services.
One of the most important aspects in finding an SEO firm is going to be the quality of their work, They should be able to offer up a full portfolio of sites that they were able to rank for several keywords and phrases over the years.
It is essential to take note of the competitive nature of the keywords they ranked for. Are they easy words like “best fried chicken dinner in Louisville KY?” Or is something that would take skill to rank for like, “best credit cards?” Anyone can rank for that first phrase, but there would be skill and expertise needed for such a competitive word as the second.
Not too long ago the internet could have been compared to the wild west. And some SEO professionals were the proverbial train robbers. They would charge companies large amounts of money for really no work at all. This was due to many companies not really understanding search engine optimization like they do today.
Now most SEO companies will offer a guarantee on the work they do and will not expect a blank cheque in advance. This is advantageous for smaller companies with a limited budget. If the ranking is not completed within a specified time you can either get your money back or allow more time for the individual to rank the keyword.
The Secret Sauce
One final ingredient to keep in mind when looking for the best SEO company is to find out how they plan to rank their site. You will not get any specifics, you just want to make sure that only ethical and white-hat methods are being used. If an SEO agency were to use underhanded methods to rank your site, it may be penalized down the road. When this happens you will either have to pay a good deal of money to get the site back in the rankings or simply begin a new one.
It can be a very time-consuming process, so make sure they are doing things that will not harm your site.
If it was easy to rank a site, everyone would be doing it! However, it is a difficult task that is best left to the professionals to handle. Let them rank your site, while you reap the long-term rewards.
Like any worthwhile business investment, selecting a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) agency requires time for careful consideration, and this is doubly true if your business relies heavily on online search for brand discovery.
The sheer number and variety of SEO firms to choose from is enough to give anyone pause.
During this process of intensive research and analysis for service procurement, a number of facets may not be as upfront as looking up an About Us page or researching an agency on LinkedIn.
Yet these same facets are crucial to return on investment, you don’t want to kick yourself for now knowing about them before committing to a potentially long-term relationship.
Culture of Transparency and Communication
You’ll want to ensure that the SEO vendor you partner with embraces the same values of transparency and effective communication you expect between in-house teams and/or employees, and for the same reasons, really.
Transparency affords businesses better relationships, synergy, engagement and solutions. Your SEO agency needs to meet the same standards your internal people do on a regular basis.
Some things to consider:
- Which key performance indicator (KPIs) will be available to you on-demand? Are they the right ones for performance tracking?
- Can you request any data relevant to your relationship at any given time with good reason?
- What about communication times? Some changes in long-term strategies like link building obviously require some time to take root, so you need to be able to immediately shift tactics, can your SEO agency turn on a dime in these cases?
- How can you ensure you’re getting the truth and not a dressed up version of events to make things look good?
Secondary and Tertiary Competencies
While most SEO agencies might list secondary and tertiary competencies in their packages, always make sure to ask.
SEO on its own is strictly limited to traffic, not conversion. It’s a means to the bottom-line, which means it functions in concert with relevant channels within search (e.g. pay-per-click ads) as well as efforts indirectly related to it.
Your SEO agency needs to be at least competent enough in coordinating and communicating to the other moving parts of your digital marketing machine to guarantee that their efforts won’t exist in a bubble, and your campaigns are not in disparate silos not working together toward a single goal.
You’d be surprised how many people brush off the importance of tech stack compatibility when looking for partners across the many channels of digital marketing. There are a few simple questions that can help you determine if your SEO agency of choice has the right tech stack for your operation:
- Are they experts in your current tech? If you’re running on WordPress, as is more than 70 million sites on the web, can your SEO agency work with that, or are they better with more technical CMS like Drupal or Joomla? Also, it’s one thing to be an expert at a certain tech stack or build, and another to just be “handy” in it.
- Can they help you migrate to a new one, if necessary? Might seem contradictory to the above, but technology is constantly shifting. E-commerce portal Bluefly, for instance, recently found itself on the wrong end of tech adoption when the E-commerce platform they originally signed up for, among the most popular ones in the past decade, couldn’t support what they wanted to do on mobile. They ultimately had to switch providers.
- APIs, APIs, APIs: The tech world is badly fragmented, and your SEO agency needs to ensure it either has the right application programming interfaces (APIs) or the capacity to support them from third parties.
Your partner’s tech stack is relevant to this factor: scale potential refers to how big your partner can help you get before becoming too small for your operation.
It’s a simple truth that different SEO firms have various clientele targets. Some cater to small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs), others focus on enterprise. While the ones that focus on SMBs can offer unique insight to enterprise level clients, they neither have the manpower or tech infrastructure to support enterprise-level SEO.