Search Engine Optimisation enhances the rankings of a website in Google (and other search engines) for a range of relevant search terms that are likely to bring in sales or business
Many businesses want improved rankings so they can get more leads and sell more. This has led to a whole business developing around getting these rankings. Unfortunately, not all SEO companies go about this the right way; this can mean big trouble.
How to tell good SEO companies from bad ones?
How can you decide whether the SEO company that’s offered to help you is really any good? And how can you know if they’re properly equipped for the quest for better traffic? Thirdly, how can you make sure the work they do will help you and not hinder any progress? It’s very difficult for non-SEO professionals, as the subject is very complex and changes constantly.
You need someone you can trust
Trust has to be earned and takes time to gauge. However, there are ways of identifying a trustworthy SEO agency before giving them your business.
Referral by an already trusted source.
This is probably the best way of being introduced to an SEO company. That’s because the referrer isn’t likely to pass on the details of anyone who isn’t very good at their job. It simply wouldn’t be worth the risk of losing their good reputation.
That’s actually how Serendipity Online Marketing gets most of its business. We have a network of agencies, copywriters, marketers and web design agencies who pass our name to their clients. It’s a system that’s worked for most of the 15 years that we’ve been in search marketing.
See how the SEO agency does business
One of the best ways to decide which SEO firm to work with is to check out how they work and what reports they’ll give you. For instance, if the firm only supplies automated data, with no real human interaction, there’s a distinct probability that you’re just a ‘number’ to them and that very little real thought is being given to your SEO work.
Conversely, imagine if data is compiled every month by a human who checks the results and achievements while they write the report. In this case, it’s highly likely that their SEO work was also thought through with the same care and attention.
And then there’s the data itself. How useful is it? Does it cover the areas that you want and expect? And does it give detailed descriptions of the work carried out that month?
What should a detailed SEO report look like?
The first thing to look for is data on the rankings for your target key phrases (those identified in the project’s keyword-research phase).
You have been through this process haven’t you? You’re not using words that were just ‘plucked from the ether’ by the SEO firm are you?
The other data to expect is from your Google (or other) analytics and from Google Webmaster Tools (now known as Google Search Console). By using both of these it’s possible to tell (with a little help) what search terms are bringing site visits (and which are not). These analytic tools can also show you which other sites are forwarding traffic and whether or not people like what they see. This is vital when considering website conversions
If Google AdWords is being used, data should also be included on which words produced conversions as well as those with a high bounce rate. The latter is particularly bad news if you are using AdWords because you will have paid for the visit!
The report should also provide details of the work the SEO company had done that month, as any report from a trustworthy, truly transparent SEO company will include information about the articles, blogs and other online content that they’ve created. You should also expect them to be open to discussing what they’ve done – and why.
Read their SEO blog
Does your prospective SEO partner have an SEO blog and is it up to date? If they’re constantly updating their blog it shows that they practice what they preach. As well as this, by checking the content, you should get a good idea about how much they really know. For this reason, we take pride in our blog and use it to help as many people as we can by passing on news, views and comment. You can read it here
SEO Case Studies
The presence of SEO case studies, including ones which you can check up on by contacting the company in question, are another way of deciding whether an SEO company is worth dealing with. The best case studies show how they have done the necessary research, applied on-page and off-page (link building) techniques, and used social marketing. Case studies should show the state of the marketing before, during and after the SEO works as well as explaining why they did what they did.
What SEO work should have been done?
This is the crux of the matter and an area that’s simultaneously simple and complex. It’s also an area that’s constantly changing and getting more difficult – and trying to ‘trick’ Google is not recommended. Gaming Google might have worked 15 years ago, but nowadays you must help Google find a website and then make sure the content is laid out in the way Google expects (make that demands). That’s the way to SEO success.
The journey can be challenging and takes time. This gives you another way of working out whether the SEO agency pitching for your business is trustworthy. Quite simply, if they promise the earth and promise it quickly, they simply aren’t worth dealing with. Of course, sometimes you can see rapid improvements, but such results are rare. In practice, it often takes at least three months (and sometimes a lot longer) to make any real headway. It’s simply the nature of the beast.
SEO Works Explained in Detail.
Please see the other pages of this site for details about the kind of things that have to be done to get the right sort of traffic. To help you, here’s a summary of the main things you need to do:-
- Do the research necessary to identify the key phrases being used in a market place. These are the key phrases that, if they are included on your site, and lead to your website being found, could lead to a sale or other conversion.
- Check to see what words Google expects to see on a page that’s targeting a term (or set of terms). This is done by reverse engineering the current results.
- Make sure these words are included in the website’s pages (use natural language and don’t ‘keyword stuff’). Ensure that you follow Google’s rules and protocols. And make sure pages are well written and long enough to demand Google’s ‘attention’(at least 1,000 words of useful, relevant, well-written content is usual today).
- Make sure the site’s pages link internally to each other in a way that will help visitors. This also helps Google understand what a site is about (see our Semantic SEO page). Additionally, make sure that some pages link out to other relevant sites, especially those considered to be authority sites, such as Wikipedia.The above just about covers on-page SEO, but there’s more.
- Off-page SEO is about the links to and from a website. Some of this is covered in Stage 4 (above), where links out to other sites proving to Google that a site is a part of a community and gets its data from trusted sources. You also need to have high-quality, relevant, organic incoming links too. In Google’s eyes, these are treated like votes in a competition. There’s a lot more than just numbers to consider here: things such as link balance, the type of links and where they point to are all vital. On the subject of links, asking an SEO agency how they build links is another great way to sort the good from the bad.
- Finally, you should consider the power of Social Media Marketing. Is it important in your market place or not? If Social Marketing is needed then you must address this. Just be aware that it is a very time consuming specialism and one that has to be dealt with in the same thorough, professional way as SEO.
So, there you have it, some information about what a reputable, transparent SEO company looks like, the services they should offer and why these services are all important.
We’d be pleased to talk to you more about the whole process. For your no-obligation initial SEO consultation please call 0845 170 1800 or email us
Three things differentiating us from other SEO companies
- Intelligent research – many optimisation or PPC companies just take the keywords given to them by their client. At SOM, we always carry out detailed research. It costs a bit more, but you get detailed knowledge about your chosen search market place and a solid foundation for your future online marketing.
- Intelligent construction – whether you’re talking about setting up a PPC campaign, or the way you use the words in your website, we work with you or your website company to ensure that they are set up in the most effective way.
- Intelligent On going analysis – once you have the website traffic you must make sure you know what is working, what is not and why.