SEO can play a crucial part in your business’ online success so it’s important that you choose the right SEO firm for you and your business. Too often, many SEO companies take part in “black hat” tactics, which are unethical techniques to achieve a high Google ranking and often result in harsh consequences.
Because these unethical tactics are all too common within the industry, Google will almost always catch those using black hat tactics and “punish” them by knocking them down in ranking or even eliminating them completely. Therefore, it is important, first and foremost, to find an SEO company that practices only white hat techniques. With that being said, there are also many SEO firms that do practice ethical techniques to help improve your search engine rankings… so how do you decide?
Define Your Goals
It’s important to first define your goals with others in your company. While it’s likely a goal to improve your search engine rankings, what else would you like to see happen with your business? Would you like to increase brand awareness? See your business name in the news more? Start a blog? Before looking into a company, define your goals first.
Get Advice From Others
Consult with friends within your industry and even social networking sites to see what they recommend. Word-of-mouth is often the best way to get a true feel for a company and getting it from someone knowledgeable in your industry who you can trust is key. If a customer is happy with the business they are receiving with their SEO firm, they should have no problem putting in a good word and refer business.
Make a List of Potential Firms
Once you’ve consulted and done some research, make a list of potential SEO firms you’d like to look into. Make a list of pros and cons for each. Ask yourself are they local? Do they practice what they preach? Do they have a good social media presence? Is their website up to par? Whether you’re looking for a local SEO company or a firm that specializes in your unique industry, these are just a few questions to ask yourself.
Talk On the Phone or Meet in Person
Get a feel for their customer service by speaking to a sales representative or meeting them in person if they’re local to your area. Email is often too impersonal and doesn’t give you a good idea of how you’ll work together. Ask to speak directly to those whom you’ll be working with and don’t be afraid to ask questions or even ask for references.
Ask for a Proposal
Whether you’re interested in just one or quite a few SEO firms, ask for an informal proposal to see what’s in store for you if you choose to pursue business with them. This article gives you a good idea on pricing and what you should expect to pay for SEO services. However, don’t choose an SEO firm based on price alone. As with many businesses and even products, the saying “you get what you pay for” typically holds true. The more you pay, the more you can expect to receive.
After putting everything together, go with the team that you feel most confident with. The goal of every SEO campaign is to receive results and improve your search engine ranking, and therefore your bottom line. The firm you choose should be familiar with recent trends, practice white hat tactics, and be clear and concise with their campaign plan for your business.
Tina Weaver is an inbound marketing specialist and SEO professional who enjoys blogging about the SEO industry as well as different SEO tactics that can be used to improve rankings.