What To Consider When Hiring An SEO Company
The hype train that is Search engine optimization (SEO) left the station long ago. If you find yourself waiting on the platform, fret not. We can catch you up with it. With online marketing taking up a larger foothold on traditional advertising portfolios, SEO is a staunch and steady means of establishing a kickass online presence.
With it comes a bevy of outfits that tout the ability to take that challenge on for you and help you grow your brand and stuff. You know, all that good stuff. You might wonder what the true value of an SEO consultant is. Granted, you could do a lot of it on your own through a case that can be made of the need to hire one.
Google Webmasters has a nifty laid out process for selecting an SEO vendor; a general blueprint anyone can use to find out.
How do you make out the apples from the oranges in this case?
Here are our two cents.
- Identify Your Goals
- Decide what you need.
- Have a sit-down with potential vendors
- Check their references
Identify Your Goals
Yeah. Get your ducks in a row. Have a concrete understanding of the way you’d want an SEO campaign to benefit you and your brand. For the most part, these range from increased click-through rate, magnified exposure, higher rankings, and more conversions.
Albeit general, these serve as a broad base from which the SEO vendor will help narrow down to more bite-sized ambitions for your online presence.
Decide what you need
SEO firms offer a variety of services. If you’re not sure what you need, look no further than the immediate need at hand. Perhaps you want to increase sales or grow leads over a specified period.
It could be a want for increased rankings or a concrete content strategy. With that hurdle out of the way, a technical & search audit is done to determine what your online presence needs to get you to the next level along with the suggested improvements that require the implementation to achieve your goal.
Ensure you have a clear understanding of the benchmarks of success to which you will hold the SEO consultant throughout your relationship.
Have a sit-down with potential vendors
With plenty to keep abreast of and many dubious fronts out there, this is a crucially fundamental part of the process. Landmines abound. Make sure to broach these issues when vetting prospective SEO firms.
- Work experience in SEO.
- Adherence to SEO Best Practices.
Trust us; you don’t want to be the kid warming the bench outside the principal’s office when your friends are having fun in recess. Any prospective SEO affiliate should have a history of being ethically sound and straight-shooting. The major search engines have well-documented stipulations to this effect.
Google, Bing, and Yahoo have diagrammed the dos and don’ts for their respective search engine playgrounds. Any consultant who shows a history of dodgy gamesmanship such as spam generation and tagging on sketchy hidden links should be a no go.
Otherwise, you run the risk of ranking low or worse, getting flagged or even banned by the search engines themselves.
- SEO Content strategy. Make sure they break down how they plan to holistically integrate their expertise into your unique brand and business needs, addressing these key pillars;
- User Interface Mechanics — this involves content optimization, webpage navigation, and keyword adaptation, amongst other UI metrics.
- Off-page Optimization — Enhancement of domain authority. Involves the use of top end backlinks, revamping brand awareness methods, improving site popularity, and forging strong site linkages with suitable partners.
- Technical Optimization — Majors on the technical front with issues like webpage speed, HTML scripts, codes, and structures.
Anticipated results, timeframe projections, and success benchmarks.
SEO vendors should have credible means of tracking the comings and goings of web traffic on your site.
Technical experience in mining and analyzing this data is key when vetting potential SEO consultants. Google Analytics is an excellent way to follow your site rankings, referral traffic, and apt keywords. Make sure to inquire their data policies regarding your analytical data.
Any guarantees concerning when you should witness tangible results is largely misleading. A plethora of variables determine the success of any SEO strategies; for instance, keywords, links, domain listing, and brand niche. The dynamics of which may not be within your direct control. Expectations should be realistic and managed.
Frequency and nature of communication
Ironing out the details of how you will be in touch with your consultant is key to an amiable and seamless relationship. Make a point of elaborating on your expectations.
Do you prefer talking over the phone, email, Skype, or text? Would you prefer they keep you in the loop every step of the way with the nitty-gritties of your SEO portfolio?
How often do you want to receive updates? Asking these questions alongside other customer service assessment protocols is essential.
Presence in the SEO community
You do want to prioritize finding a consultant who is plugged into the wire and has connections within the SEO community. The tides move ever so often, and you need that peace of mind that your team has you ahead of the curve. That your strategy is proactive to the times.
Pro Tip: Make sure to retain the right to final approval of any changes to your website.
Check their references
An SEO consultant of good stock should have no qualms about being forthwith regarding their clientele – present and past – as well as their contact info. This is crucial in assessing the effectiveness of a candidate as well as customer experiences whilst working with the consultant.
Keep an eye on any tangible benefits that a previous customer feels are directly attributed to the vendor’s efforts. This personal touch in the process should not be underestimated.
The Big Picture
SEO is an ever-changing landscape. It is imperative to find an SEO partner who is able and is up to the task of understanding the needs of your brand in totality, helping you devise a strategy tailored specifically to you whilst being ethically above board.